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June 16, 1999




National Notes
___bluebull School out on Muslim holidays. In response to its rapidly growing Islamic population, a New Jersey school district will cancel classes for all students on the two holiest Muslim days beginning next year. The Paterson school board voted last month to close its 37 schools and administrative offices in observance of the end of Ramadan, the month-long fast in the Muslim faith, and Eid al-Adha, which marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
___bluebull Judge may have broken laws. In the high-profile battle to keep the Ten Commandments displayed in his Gadsden, Ala., courtroom, Judge Roy Moore may have violated ethics laws by soliciting donations to support the campaign, a state panel has ruled. On June 2, the Alabama Ethics Commission voted 5-0 for a ruling saying Moore likely violated a state law prohibiting public officials from using their offices for private financial gain.___
___bluebull Gore: "Faith is center of life." Vice President Al Gore, who recently voiced support for a plan that gives governmental aid to faith-based groups, says faith is the basis of his life. "I don't wear it on my sleeve," he told a group of reporters May 28. "I think the purpose of life is to glorify God. I turn to my faith as the bedrock of my approach to any important question in my life."
___bluebull Veto of moratorium on executions stands. The Nebraska Legislature chose not to challenge Gov. Mike Johanns' veto of a bill that would have made the state the first in the nation to legislate a moratorium on executions. The legislature voted instead to override Johanns' veto of a separate bill that authorized a study of the fairness with which the death penalty is applied. This bill did not include a moratorium on carrying out death sentences.
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___bluebull Mistrial declared for Bible-preaching policeman. A wrongful-dismissal lawsuit filed by a former North Carolina police officer who preached the Bible and distributed religious pamphlets during traffic stops ended in a mistrial May 27. U.S. District Judge Richard Vorhees declared a mistrial despite an earlier jury ruling in favor of former officer Brad Hicks.
___bluebull TV offenses grow worse. The television ratings system adopted in 1997 has done nothing to reverse the tide of sex, violence and offensive language in prime time, according to a new study. A comparison of the two-week November sweeps periods from 1996, just before the ratings system was instituted, to 1998 found the combined content of sex, violence and foul language increased by more than 30 percent, the Parents Television Council reported. Sexual content rose by more than 42 percent. Offensive language increased by more than 30 percent. Only violence, after peaking in 1997, had a slight increase from 1996 to '98.
___bluebull Drunk fetus ruled not a human. Attempted homicide charges against an intoxicated mother who told emergency room personnel she wanted to drink her unborn baby to death were thrown out on appeal May 26 by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. The appellate court relied upon other court rulings that declare only a third person can be held accountable for injuries to an unborn baby who dies after birth. No such charges can be filed against the baby's mother for doing the same thing, the court ruled.
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