Britain's National Health Service has told Olive Beal it will take 18 months to get her the hearing aid she needs. Beal is 108.
Fifty years ago, a San Francisco Municipal Court judge ruled that Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl" was not obscene. To celebrate that anniversary a Pacifica radio station in New York posted a reading of the poem online. Why not broadcast the reading? Because the station fears the Federal Communications Commission would fine it $325,000 for each curse word in the poem, which could cost millions.
The Chinese media praised Jiang Yanyong when he broke government secrecy to reveal the true extent of Beijing's 2003 outbreak of SARS. But in 2004, when the military surgeon wrote to Chinese leaders asking them to reassess the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, he was placed under house arrest for several months. Now the government has barred him from visiting the U.S. to receive a human rights award.
Michael Martin is only 7, but he's old enough to have been mistaken for a terrorist three times when he tried to board a plane. Apparently, his name is on the Transportation Security Administration's no-fly list. Martin's mother says she has been able to sort things out each time, after airline officials see how young her son is. This will probably get harder as he gets older.
Percy Julian Middle School in Oak Park, Illinois, has banned students from hugging inside the building. Officials say children were creating bottlenecks in the hallways. While they haven't banned it yet, school authorities say they frown on students' high-fiving each other too.
Firefighters in Braintree, Massachusetts, needed practice, so they drove to a vacant house, cut holes in the roof and the walls, and busted out the windows. They had planned to practice on a home slated for demolition. Instead, they accidentally hit a house a few blocks away that was being renovated by the owner.
Florida's Oswego High School suspended two students and forced about 50 others to turn their shirts inside out after they all wore anti–drunk driving T-shirts to school. The shirts, inspired by an alcohol-related crash that killed five local teenagers, read "Seniors .08" on the front and "Don't Blow It" on the back. "I think it could be interpreted as promoting drinking," explained Principal Mike Wayne.
Police in Tampa, Florida, arrested Donnie James White for violating the state's flag desecration law after several witnesses saw him dragging and stomping an American flag. White spent four days in jail before the state attorney's office dropped the charges against him, saying the state law is unconstitutional.
In Sampson County, North Carolina, officials at Hobbton High School refused to let students wear clothing with images of the American flag to mark the anniversary of 9/11. It violated their ban on wearing the flags of any country on school property.