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Brickbats

Terry ColonTerry ColonThe Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination says the state's new ban on gender identity discrimination means that churches have to allow people to use the bathroom of their choice when holding a "secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public."

Metric Giles got tired of looking at the trash-strewn vacant lot next to the offices of the Community Stabilization Project where he works in St. Paul, Minnesota. The lot was once the site of a church that was torn down due to code violations. So with permission of that church, which says it still owns the lot, he and some others cleaned it up and planted a garden. The state, which claims the space was forfeited years ago for back taxes, ordered Giles to remove the plants.

Officials at Toronto's Jackman Avenue Junior Public School were extremely unhappy that students were tossing their juice boxes into the garbage or putting them into recycling bins but leaving the straws in. Officials wanted to maintain the district's highest "EchoSchools" rating, so they banned juice boxes.

In the United Kingdom, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has directed restaurants to cut the portion sizes or reduce the sugar in desserts and other sweets. Efforts will be tracked on a government website, and those who don't comply with the demands will be publicly named.

Hazel Juco, a senior at Michigan's John Glenn High School, says she posted a photo of the discolored water coming out of a tap at a school sink on social media because she hoped it might spur some action. It did. She was suspended for using an electronic device in a school restroom.

Lee Miller of Port Orange, Florida, logged onto his bank's website to find his savings account had been emptied. Most of the money in his checking account was gone, too. Thinking he'd been hacked, he called the bank and found the federal government had drained his money, claiming he died back in 2012. Officials with the Social Security Administration say they'll work with him to correct the matter, but only after he signs an affidavit attesting that he's alive.

France is the first country to ban disposable plastic cups and plates. The new law requires "all disposable tableware to be made from 50% biologically-sourced materials that can be composted at home by January of 2020."

Veronica Welsh, who teaches at Smithtown High School West on Long Island, told her Facebook readers that the school has quite a few racists. You can spot them, she explained, by the Donald Trump gear they wear.

In Michigan, the Ottawa-Kent high school athletics conference has sent a letter to school administrators saying that fans at games can chant "U-S-A" only before or after the national anthem. Officials say using the chant at other times may be a way of taunting opposing players or fans, since the letters could stand for "U Suck Ass."

Greg Hughes, former director of the federal Veterans Crisis Line, says that more than one-third of the calls to the suicide prevention number go unanswered because of poor work habits by those manning the lines. Among other issues, many employees leave before their shifts are over.

The owner of a pub in Bavaria faces up to four years in prison after investigators found bottles of Führer Wine, with images of Adolf Hitler on the labels, in his pub. Officers say the man has no links to the far right. He received the wine as a gift and thought it was funny.

Photo Credit: Terry Colon

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