Australian Politician Stumps for 'Bling-Bling'

The man who could be Australia's next prime minister is recasting himself as a youthful advocate of hip-hop culture.

"Youth of Australia, Labor's policy is bling-bling," Mark Latham (search), Labor Party leader, said in a radio station interview last week, according to the London Daily Telegraph.

The 42-year-old left-wing politician then declared: "Bling-bling is the best policy I have had so far."

"Bling-bling" is American youth slang for a high-rolling lifestyle and its flashier accoutrements.

Latham, famous for once breaking the arm of a taxi driver he claimed had cheated him, is expected to lead his party against the Liberal-National coalition government of Prime Minister John Howard (search) later this year.

He mocked Howard's staid image, saying the 64-year-old premier, a staunch ally of George W. Bush who sent Australian troops to Iraq, had eyebrows nearly long enough for a comb-over.

After his interview, the radio station gave Latham a baseball cap and T-shirt and played a rap song that called him "Lath Daddy."

That's So High School, Till the Lawyers Get Involved

PHOENIX (AP) — A gossip spat between two teenage girls has become a federal case — literally.

"On one level, I feel silly," said Nicholas Hentoff, the lawyer for Ashley Mosby, whose family filed suit in U.S. District Court on Wednesday. "To go to this extent over what amounts to girl gossip is ridiculous."

But Hentoff says Mosby's rights to free speech were violated when she was twice suspended for talking about Eleanor Powers, a popular soccer player.

The feud between the girls started over a boyfriend nearly four weeks ago.

Hentoff said the principal and two assistant principals at Mountain Pointe High School (search) have unfairly disciplined non-athletes and have been working with Powers' mother to get rid of Mosby.

Mosby's parents filed suit against the Tempe Union High School District, the Mountain Pointe principal, two assistant principals and Teresa Powers, Eleanor Powers' mother.

Teresa Powers has denied any wrongdoing and said her daughter is the real victim. Eleanor was threatened by Ashley so often that she had no choice but to get a restraining order against the teen, Teresa Powers said.

"I am totally disgusted. Disappointed. Amazed," she said, choking back sobs. Ashley "threatened to break my daughter's legs so bad she would never play soccer again. My daughter doesn't want to go to school. She cries every night."

But Alan and Evangeline Mosby said their daughter's reputation has been tarnished while Eleanor has remained free to taunt and demean her.

"Eleanor Powers has bragged to other students that her mother, defendant [Teresa] Powers, is going to make sure that Ashley is expelled," the Mosbys said in their lawsuit.

— Thanks to Out There reader Dawn R.

Interstate Joyride Cut Short by Bad Driving

OELWEIN, Iowa (AP) — Three 13-year-olds who attempted to take a family car for a coast-to-coast joy ride were found in Vandalia, Ill.

An all-points bulletin was issued for Krista Webb, Samantha Wilson and Josh Riggel, all seventh-graders at Oelwein Middle School (search). They were reported missing about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. The trio was stopped at 3:48 p.m. Tuesday about 60 miles east of St. Louis after a motorist saw the 2004 Grand Am weaving and called authorities.

Kathy and Chuck Wilson discovered their daughter was missing shortly after 4 a.m. and called Kenneth and Lori Webb. The Webbs discovered a note from their daughter Krista.

"I plan to travel everywhere from one coast to another," Krista wrote. "I must do this on my own. Just go on with life as normal ... You guys will have fun without me. Don't worry I will be back soon I promise."

The youths were cooperative when they were stopped, police said. They were taken to the county jail where their parents picked them up Tuesday night.

— Thanks to Out There reader Brenda F.

Food Can Be Spotty, but the Beer's First-rate

SEOUL (AP) — In impoverished North Korea, many go without basic necessities.

But for the privileged population of Pyongyang, good beer is always on tap, thanks to the totalitarian regime's decision to buy a brewery from England and transport it home, vat-by-vat.

Taedonggang Beer (search), named after the Taedong River flowing through the communist country's capital, now rivals popular brews from Japan and Europe, which are priced outside the reach of usual consumers.

"Our people like Taedonggang Beer a lot," Ri Hae Nam, assistant chief engineer at Taedonggang Brewery, told an APTN journalist during a recent visit to the North.

"All the managers and workers of this brewery are trying to improve quality to international standards, upholding the instructions of Gen. Kim Jong Il (search) to achieve the highest quality."

Many bars in the capital now provide beer on tap, sometimes from their own microbreweries, but more often from the Taedonggang Brewery, located just east of the city.

North Korea bought the entire brewery from the British Ushers company in 2000 and imported it complete. It was outfitted with the latest German-made, computer-controlled brewing technology and started production in 2002.

The brewery says it uses locally grown barley and produces both lager and bitter beers. It even drew a rare visit by the country's leader, Kim Jong Il, the year it opened.

Airborne Pastry Almost Leads to Prosecution

STOUGHTON, Mass. (AP) — Police won't press charges against an eight-year-old boy for tossing a cupcake at a passing pickup truck.

The driver wanted police to charge the boy with disorderly conduct. The man says he was driving with a baby in the truck on Easter Sunday.

The police chief joked he might have considered charges if the truck was hit by a heavier pastry — such as a bear claw or a day-old Twinkie.

The boy's mother says she doesn't blame the driver for being angry. She grounded her son.

Dog Droppings Leads to Federal Order Against Condo Residents

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Dog owners in the state capital are under federal orders to stay off the grass downtown.

Two federal judges say there's no relief for dogs at the U.S. Courthouse — at least, not on the lawn.

The judges' order was delivered Thursday to managers of the Brown Building condominiums, promising a "citation, fine and/or arrest" for anyone allowing "their pets to relieve themselves on the grass and grounds of the United States Courthouse" across the street.

The order was signed Wednesday.

"Is this about the doggy doo?" a woman who answered the phone at the Brown Building sales office around the corner in the Norwood Tower asked the Austin American-Statesman.

The order by Judges Sam Sparks and Lee Yeakel contained two paragraphs under the letterhead of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. It suggests courthouse officials had discussed the matter with occupants of the 90-unit condo development.

But the order stated that condo residents, and whoever else the document is directed at, "failed to live up to their representations and legal obligation to remove their pets' deposits."

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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