Brickbats

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The Astrological Institute, a Phoenix school offering diplomas in astrology and psychology, has won accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology. This opens the way for students to pay for their education in star-reading with federal money.

A Pakistani court has convicted college teacher Younus Shaikh of blasphemy and sentenced him to death. Shaikh says a student asked him whether Mohammed was circumcised before receiving God's revelation at age 40; he answered that Mohammed's tribe did not practice the ritual. His students then accused him of teaching that Mohammed did not follow several Muslim practices. Shaikh is one of hundreds jailed in Pakistan for blasphemy.

In Nigeria, rampaging crowds burned down scores of hotels and bars after a lunar eclipse. "The immoral acts committed in these places are responsible for this eclipse," explained one of the riot leaders.

When a couple challenged a school board policy banning boys from wearing earrings to school, Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman weighed in with this theological opinion: "If God had wanted boys to wear earrings, he would have made them girls."

Namibian President Sam Nujoma has ordered police to deport or imprison all homosexuals, blaming "foreign influences" for homosexuality in Namibia.

When Ron Kronk was mailed a citation for running a red light at Wilson and North Lynn in Arlington, Virginia, the evidence was enclosed: a photo taken by a traffic light camera. The same day, he received a second citation, this time for running a red light at the corner of Jefferson Davis Highway and 27th. Attached was more evidence: the same photo that appeared in the first citation.

The city of Washington, D.C., keeps sending Virginia Edens collection notices for parking tickets on other cars. The tickets show her name and address, but someone else's license plate numbers. When she complained to the Department of Motor Vehicles, she was told she should just pay the tickets. Then the DMV discovered that hundreds of people have gotten erroneous tickets. It blames a computer glitch.

Fevzi Shianlioglu, a member of the Turkish Parliament, died of a heart attack on the legislature's floor after suffering head injuries in a vicious fistfight with other lawmakers.

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