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NOTEWORTHY

Strawberry Fields not forever, after all

The Liverpool children's home that inspired the Beatles' hit song will close, officials said Wednesday. The single Strawberry Fields Forever was released in February 1967 and quickly made it to No. 2 in the British charts. John Lennon wrote the song's dreamy lyrics about a time in his childhood when he lived near the Strawberry Fields orphanage. The Salvation Army, which now runs Strawberry Fields, said the preference for foster families has reduced the need for orphanages. It's down to three residents.

THE UNUSUAL

Did you hear the one about Two founders of a group called Americans for Legal Reform, who were teling lawyer jokes while in line to get into a Long Island courthouse, were charged with disorderly conduct. "How do you tell when a lawyer is lying?" Harvey Kash reportedly asked Carl Lanzisera. "His lips are moving," they said in unison. A lawyer told them to quiet down. When they did not, the lawyer reported them to court personnel, who charged them with the misdemeanor.

UPDATE

Pinochet bail

A Chilean appeals court approved bail of $3,500 Wednesday for former dictator Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet, 89, had been put under house arrest by Judge Juan Guzman, who charged him with nine kidnappings and one homicide during his 1973-1990 dictatorship. Pinochet's chief defense lawyer, Pablo Rodriguez, said he will have to ask "admirers of Gen. Pinochet" to pay the bail because his bank accounts have been frozen by another judge, Sergio Munoz, who is investigating him after a U.S. Senate committee disclosed that he kept secret accounts in Washington.

Ukraine fraud claim

Representatives of the loser of Ukraine's election rerun said Wednesday they would delay filing complaints challenging Viktor Yushchenko's victory. The deadline is Tuesday. Taras Chornovyl, Viktor Yanukovych's campaign manager, said the appeal of the Dec. 26 election would consist of 621 volumes of documents and 240 videotapes that would prove election fraud. On Wednesday, hundreds of Yanukovych backers rallied in his hometown of Donetsk, chanting anti-Yushchenko slogans.

EU constitution

The European Parliament gave its overwhelming endorsement to the European Union's first-ever constitution Wednesday. The EU assembly voted 500 to 137, with 40 abstentions, to ratify the new treaty, which is to take effect in 2007 if ratified across the 25-nation bloc. The constitution gives more powers to the European Parliament and creates a single foreign minister.

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