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Issue: "Beating the school rules," Sept. 23, 2000
  • A Jacksonville, Fla., public library stopped giving young readers mock certificates from fictional character Harry Potter's wizardry school after objections that the practice exposed children to witchcraft. Library director Kenneth Sivulich called the certificates a "harmless gimmick" meant to encourage reading but said he stopped the practice after several parents complained.
  • Years ago, John Osorio spent time behind bars for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from an insurance company's pension fund. Now he's a multimillionaire, thanks to the Texas lottery. The $60 million jackpot was the third largest in state history.
  • U.S. Sen. James Inhofe is back on the warpath. The Oklahoma Republican last week renewed his campaign to stop Senate votes on judicial nominations. He says President Clinton violated an agreement on recess appointments, making 17 such appointments while the Senate was not in session last August. Under Senate tradition, a senator can put a "hold" on a nomination, making it more difficult to get a vote on the appointment.
  • Tara Tallman, Lynette Bodenhofer, and Amanda O'Meara were best friends-until two of the Maquoketa, Iowa, adolescents allegedly set the third on fire. Why? Jealousy over Miss O'Meara's flirtations with Miss Tallman's boyfriend. Miss Tallman, 15, and Miss Bodenhofer, 12, allegedly approached Miss O'Meara, 12, with a soft drink bottle, but the bottle contained gasoline. They drenched her with the gasoline, and as her clothes and skin burned, authorities say, her best friends fled. By nightfall, the girls had turned themselves in and Miss O'Meara was flown to Iowa City with second- and third-degree burns over 25 percent of her body. The suspects face a felony charge of willful injury that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison for adults.
  • A French judge last week sentenced militant sheep farmer Jose Bove to three months in prison for vandalizing a McDonald's restaurant. Mr. Bove, who helped dismantle the fast-food establishment with farm equipment as a protest against globalization, had become a hero to French protectionists. His two-day trial this summer drew 15,000 people. Presiding Judge Francois Mallet also gave eight other defendants sentences ranging from fines to suspended prison terms.

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