church vs. state
ACLU takes A leap of faith on piercing
The American Civil Liberties Union claims in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that a North Carolina school violated the constitutional rights of a 14-year-old student by suspending her for wearing a nose piercing. The lawsuit from the state chapter of the ACLU seeks a court order allowing Ariana Iacono to return immediately to Clayton High School in Johnston County, which has kept her on suspension for four weeks since classes started. The complaint hinges on Iacono's claim that her nose piercing isn't just a matter of fashion, but an article of faith. She and her mother, Nikki, 32, belong to a small religious group called the Church of Body Modification, which sees tattoos, piercings and the like as channels to the divine.
Bin Laden hunter jailed in Colorado
A Colorado man arrested this summer in Pakistan while trying to track down Osama Bin Laden is behind bars in his home state on suspicion of domestic violence. Colorado State Patrol spokeswoman Heather Cobler says a trooper arrested Gary Faulkner on Tuesday after a single-vehicle accident on a mountain road. The female driver had injuries that were inconsistent with a traffic accident. She was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. Faulkner faces a charge of third-degree assault.
Smoking chimp takes his last puff
Charlie the smoking chimpanzee has died. Qondile Khedama, a spokesman for the central South African city of Bloemfontein where Charlie had been a fixture at the small zoo, says the chimp died on Tuesday, apparently of old age. Charlie was believed to be 52. Khedama says zoo officials noticed about five years ago that visitors were tossing Charlie cigarettes, and he was mimicking smokers. Newspapers picked up the story. Charlie was featured in a U.S. TV news report and became the first animal visitors would ask to see. Khedama says Charlie's body will be mounted and displayed in an area featuring other preserved, popular zoo residents.
Michigan students are the victors
University of Michigan students hacked a prototype D.C. elections voting site and programmed it to play their fight song, prompting election officials to temporarily take it down. For the past week, the D.C. Board of Elections & Ethics has encouraged outsiders to try to find faults in the system, which was designed to allow some 950 military and overseas voters to cast ballots online. The students rigged the site to play the Michigan fight song The Victors — which begins with the words "Now for a cheer they are here, triumphant!" — after a ballot was submitted on a "Thank You" page.
Compiled from Times wires and other sources.