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Parents Have to Pay Again for School Performance Pics
Three schools in the U.K. have banned parents from taking pictures or making videos during student performances. The schools say that they are trying to protect the privacy of the students. What they are, in reality, doing is hiring professional photographers and filmographers to take pictures and make video recordings and then selling those pictures and videos for a hefty price.

Disney Turns Away Santa Look-alike
J.D. Worley, a Florida man who looks a whole lot like the common image of Santa Claus, was thrown out of the Orlando themepark recently because of his looks. Specifically, a bunch of children confused him with the "real" Santa Claus. According to Walt Disney World officials, Worley told the children that he was Santa Claus. Worley says he said no such thing.

Fountain Pen Makes Big Comeback at School
A school in Scotland is giving its students some old-school instruction in how to write—using a fountain pen. The Mary Erskine and Stewart's Melville Junior School, a private elementary school in Edinburgh, is the one where this old-fangled writing device is being featured. The idea is to improve penmanship and to put a renewed focus on the importance of writing a letter by hand.

Cookie Ads Withdrawn from Bus Stops
Billboards that featured the smell of cookies have been removed in San Francisco because of what the city says is a lack of paperwork. The five billboards were installed at bus stops by the California Milk Processor Board, as part of its Got Milk? campaign. The billboards contained special scents that smelled like baked cookies and were designed to make passersby think of cookies and milk.

Ancient Greeks Had Mechanical Calculator
The ancient Greeks had a calculating machine that was very advanced for its time, scientists have now discovered. In fact, the scientists say, not for another 1,000 years did people have such an advanced machine. The famous Antikythera Mechanism has been decoded.

Muhammad Ali Says Read
Muhammad Ali is lending his name to a new campaign to encourage reading by children. The pioneering boxer and peace and civil rights activist overcame dyslexia as a child in order to learn to read and write. Moreover, he sees a danger in today's electronic culture, which relies too heavily on computers and videogames and not enough on books.

Expert: King Tut's Death Mystery Solved
King Tut, the legendary boy king of ancient Egypt, died of natural causes, according to an Egyptian scientist who recently completed examination of Tut's mummified remains.

New Dollar Coins
The U.S. Mint will print new dollar coins with the faces of U.S. presidents on them. George Washington, the country's first president, will adorn the first set of coins released. On the back of each coin will be the Statue of Liberty.

Bears Miss Hibernation
A report out of Moscow says that bears in Siberia have missed their usual hibernation period and have started harassing people nearby. The normal long-term sleep period for these bears is from October to March. Some bears have been known to wait until early November, but the fact that it's nearing the end of the month and many bears haven't gone to sleep yet has animal experts worried.

TV Remote Foils Thief
A thief in France got caught red-handed after he successfully got away with a TV but just had to go back for the remote control. Alert neighbors called the police, who caught the man on his second theft go-around.

Rare Stamp Mailed on Accident
One of the most famous stamps in U.S. history has turned up on an envelope containing an election ballot. The inverted Jenny stamp, a rare and valuable postage stamp because of its printing error and short run, was used to mail a ballot in Florida.

Study Links Strong Bones to Fruits, Vegetables
Scientists at Cambridge University, in the United Kingdom, found that teenagers who ate healthy amounts of vegetables and fruits and otherwise consumed lots of Vitamin C had neck and spine bones that were stronger and heavier than teens who didn't each such foods.

China Pledges Billions in Aid to Africa
China has pledged $5 billion in aid to Africa over the next several years, according to the country's leader, Hu Jintao. The pledge is part of an effort by the world's most populous country to increase its ties to the African continent ahead of the Beijing Olympics, in 2008.

Sea Trash a Serious Problem
The world's seas and oceans are full of garbage, specifically plastic trash, and the problem is worsening by the day, according to the international agency Greenpeace. The environmental watchdog has issued a special report citing huge amounts of trash on the open seas, dumped by careless people all over the world.

What's in a Name? A World Record
Joneses from around the world are heading to Cardiff, the capital of Wales, to try to set a world record. Organizers want a total of 2,000 people named Jones to show up. Whether they get that many remains to be seen.

British Twins Don't Share Skin Color

A pair of twins in the United Kingdom has different skin color. Two boys born to Kerry Richardson of the U.K. were born on the same day, at roughly the same time, but do not share a skin color. One of the boys is white, and the other is black.

Cow Manure to Power College
Green Mountain College, in Poultney, Vt., has embraced cow manure as an alternative fuel. That pungent source of fuel will fill the small college's power needs.

Disney to Crack Down on Junk Food
Mickey Mouse won't endorse sugary foods anymore. The Walt Disney Company has announced that its characters will no longer lend their images and endorsements to sugary breakfast cereals and other not-so-healthy foods.

'Banker to the Poor' Wins Nobel Peace Prize
A banker and philanthropist from Bangladesh has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Muhammad Yunus, educated in the U.S., won the Prize for his Grameen Bank, which he set up in order to help some of the world's poorest people gain an economic foothold.

Flat Stanley Makes Political Rounds
Flat Stanley really gets around. The paper-thin fictional character has found his way around the world a great many times. Students send him on all sorts of adventures. His latest trips have taken him into the hallowed halls of American government, including into the hands of the President himself.

Balloons Fill the Albuquerque Sky
The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta began during the weekend, in conjunction with the city's tricentennial. Hundreds of hot air balloons ascended into the sky, part of the annual event that brings enthusiasts from all over the world.

Study: TV, Video Games Impair Learning
A recent study has found that students who watch TV and play video games on school nights have worse performance because of that TV watching or video game-playing.

Osama bin Laden Reported Dead
Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, has been reported dead, although intelligence officials in several large countries say they can't confirm the report.

Homeless Lebanese Dogs to Get New Homes in U.S.
About 300 dogs and cats left homeless by the recent Israel-Hezbollah war will be getting new homes in the United States.

Mexico's Two Leaders
Mexico is soon to have two presidents, only one of them official.

First Female Space Tourist
Anousheh Ansari is her name. She is the first female space tourist. She is going into space today aboard a Soyuz space capsule.

Fashion Models Too Thin
Spain has banned fashion models who are too thin, and other countries are looking to follow suit.

Homeless Dog Makes Annie Cast
A homeless cocker spaniel named Whiskey won a role in a new stage production of Annie in New York.

Finger scanner tracks lunch line purchases
Oregon students can now have a finger scanner keep track of their school lunch purchases.

Skyscrapers Added to World Trade Center Site
Architects have revealed designs for three office towers that will join the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower on the site of the World Trade Center buildings that were destroyed by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Turning Up the Heat on Trash
Florida's St. Lucie County, in what is believed to be the first such project, has approved spending $425 million on a 100,000-square-foot plant that, when fully operational, will vaporize up to 3,000 tons of garbage a day.

McDonald's Wins Malaysia Restaurant Fight
The American fast food giant has prevailed in a five-year legal battle against a restaurant in Malaysia that calls itself McCurry.

Graphics courtesy of ClipArt.com

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