Brazilian jail inmates offered smart choices
Inmates in Brazil's prisons have to get smarter before they can get out. A law published Thursday in the official gazette says prison terms will be cut for inmates who hit the books behind bars, with one day knocked off sentences for every 12 hours in the classroom. The law benefits convicted inmates taking elementary school to college level courses, as well as those taking professional trade and requalification courses. It applies to all inmates regardless of the crime they have committed. The law also cuts prison sentences by one day for every three that inmates work behind bars or in work-release programs. A Justice Ministry survey in 2010 showed that of the country's nearly 500,000 inmates, just 40,000 were taking classes, most of them at the elementary school level.
Gay pride exchange
Preacher turns cheek, gets kiss
A preacher protesting at a gay pride event in North Carolina turned the other cheek — and got kissed on it by a female gay rights supporter who is now charged with simple assault. Joan Parker, 74, admits she kissed the preacher on the cheek at the event, proclaimed by the Salisbury mayor as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Day. "He was just waving his arms . . . screaming at the top of his lungs, 'sodomites' and 'you're going to hell,' " Parker said in a phone interview. "I thought he needed a hug. So I gave him a hug." Preacher James Edward Belcher, 49 and a minister at New Light Baptist Church, said, "If I hadn't turned my head, I'd have gotten it right on my mouth."
Turning off the heat
Wallaby science for gassy cows
Could wallabies help battle global warming blamed in part on gassy cows? Methane produced in cow flatulence has been listed as one of the causes of climate change. A report in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science says the mini-kangaroos known as wallabies produce only about one-fifth as much methane as cows, even though they too eat grass. It turns out that wallabies have different bacteria in their gut than cows. Lead author Mark Morrison of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization says the goal is stimulate the same bacteria in cows.
Cheese prices are down after protest
A Facebook protest by more than 105,000 people has scored a victory for consumers in Israel: a drop in the price of cottage cheese. Spooked by the outrage, three large Israeli dairy companies agreed to lower the price of a half-pound container to $1.75 after it had risen to $2.30.
Compiled from Times wires