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Church women not allowed to speak

In mid-April, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi issued a warning that recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and elsewhere were caused by women's loose sex and immodest dress.

In mid-April, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi issued a warning that recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and elsewhere were caused by women's loose sex and immodest dress. Immediately, Jennifer McCreight responded on Facebook by urging women worldwide to dress provocatively on April 26 to create "boobquake" and test the cleric's theory, and at least 90,000 women promised they would reveal serious cleavage on that date. On April 26, following a several-day drought of earthquakes, a Richter-scale-measuring 6.5 quake hit just south of Taiwan. (Slight advantage to the ayatollah, since a Purdue University seismologist observed that a 6.5 quake was not uncommon for that region.)

One of the world's longest-running TV comedy shows (according to an April Reuters dispatch from South Korea) is the weekly North Korean production "It's So Funny," with its undynamic format of a man and a woman in military uniforms talking to each other (though they sometimes sing and dance). The latest episode "extolled the virtue of beans," wrote the Reuters stringer, "while avoiding any flatulence humor." "If we soldiers see beans, we become happy," said the man, leading both hosts to laugh. According to Reuters, "The two talk about how bean-fed North Korean soldiers were able to fight off U.S. imperialist troops during the Korean war."

John Ridgeway, 45, filed a federal false-imprisonment lawsuit in March based on his 2005 trial over a traffic charge. According to a report in Michigan's Bay City Times, just before the jury returned with a verdict, Ridgeway opened a vial of oil, rubbed some on his fingers and then around the defense table, and he later shook hands with court personnel. Ridgeway was arrested when the prosecutor, a bailiff and the ticketing police officer became ill. Ridgeway explained that the virgin olive oil had been blessed by a Colorado pastor, specifically to "cast evil" from government facilities.

In March, leaders of the St. John's Lutheran Church in Baraboo, Wis., voted to fire the principal of its elementary and middle school because of his "questioning the church's teachings." The church had held a contentious meeting of members on March 21, but few spoke out for the principal, largely because female members were banned from speaking at all.

Under Britain's Department of Health guidelines, prisoners about to be released, and who had previously taken drugs but cured their addiction while incarcerated, are being purposely re-addicted by wardens, using methadone. According to researchers, the former addicts will then be less likely to overdose when they get back on the street. Reportedly, more than 460 prisoners have thus been "retoxified" in the last five years.

Judge Robert Benjamin of the Hobart branch of Australia's Family Courts ruled in a March custody case that sisters, aged 10 and 8, must spend weekends with their father, even though he is a convicted sex offender with a child-porn habit. The judge attached some restrictions that Dad must install a lock on the girls' bedroom door that he cannot control and, if the girls stay overnight, the father must have "an adult friend" spend the night, too, so that Dad will be less likely to offend.

In March, an employment tribunal in Sydney, Australia, awarded pilot Bryan Griffin damages of $160,000 because Qantas, for which he worked from 1966 to 1982, had allowed him to continue flying from 1979 to 1982 with depression and anxiety attacks that caused him nearly to deliberately crash his aircraft. As a result of continuing to work, he had several more episodes which exacerbated his condition (and, obviously, placed his passengers in jeopardy).