State tightens rules on who screens textbooks
The Texas Board of Education imposed tighter rules Friday on the citizen review panels that scrutinize proposed textbooks, potentially softening fights over evolution, religion's role in U.S. history and other ideological matters that have long seeped into what students learn in school. Tension over the issue has been building for years in the country's second most populous state, where the textbook market is so large that changes can affect the industry nationwide. Critics complain that a few activists with religious or political objections have too much power to shape what the state's more than 5 million public school students are taught. The 15-member education board approves textbooks for school districts to use, but objections raised by reviewers can influence its decisions. Among the changes was a mandate that teachers or professors be given priority for serving on the textbook review panels for subjects in their areas of expertise. The changes enable the board to appoint outside experts to check objections raised by review panels and ensure they are based on fact, not ideology.
Guilty verdict in buttocks injection
A woman was found guilty of culpable negligence manslaughter Friday in connection with the illicit silicone buttocks injections that prosecutors say killed a Georgia woman in 2012. Natasha Stewart of suburban Memphis was found guilty Friday in Jackson, Miss., in the death of 37-year-old Karima Gordon of Atlanta. Jurors also found her guilty of conspiracy to commit culpable negligence manslaughter. She faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge. Stewart testified that Gordon was insecure about her body and wanted help fixing previously botched buttocks enhancements.
Knox says she will not willingly return to Italy
Amanda Knox said Friday she will fight the reinstated guilty verdict against her and an ex-boyfriend in the 2007 slaying of a British roommate in Italy and vowed to "never go willingly" to face her fate in that country's judicial system. "I'm going to fight this to the very end," she said in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America." Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted Thursday for a second time in the murder of Meredith Kercher, who shared an apartment with Knox in the university town of Perugia, Italy, where both women were exchange students. Knox was sentenced to 281/2 years in prison and Sollecito to 25.
Atlanta: Mayor Kasim Reed on Friday outlined steps he said he plans to take to improve the city's emergency preparedness after a winter storm brought the metro area to a halt this week.
Casnovia Township, Mich.: A sport utility vehicle carrying six women lost control on an icy western Michigan roadway and spun into the path of a pickup truck early Friday, causing a crash that killed four and injured five, authorities said.
New Haven, Conn.: A Connecticut prisoner who said he was forced to sleep on a mattress that smelled of mildew and missing much of its stuffing was awarded $12,000 Friday by a jury that concluded he suffered cruel and unusual punishment.
Pakistan: A special court on Friday rejected a request by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to leave Pakistan for medical treatment and instead issued arrest warrants in the treason case against him, lawyers said.