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Special Report

A Popular American Icon Is Identified as a Threat to Iranian Children

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Word Play

The District of Columbia has gotten rid of its "gang" problem — by now referring to groups of young males committing acts of wanton violence on innocent people and each other as "crews."

The Washington Times reports D.C. police and lawmakers say the groups thought to be responsible for 10 homicides in the past two weeks are not gangs, because the members band together for personal protection, not criminal enterprise.

But police officials in other large cities say such distinctions are part of the problem.

Captain Charles Bloom of the Philadelphia Police Department, for example, says cops in Philly stopped making such distinctions two years ago.

"The very first step in dealing with gangs is denial. Then you get to the point that you can't deny it any more," Bloom said.

Chill Out

There are strong indications that much the world may soon experience a decrease in surface temperatures. A report by German scientists in Thursday's issue of the journal 'Nature' says shifting Atlantic Ocean currents will cool parts of North America and Europe over the next decade. The results are similar to those of a NASA study of Pacific Ocean currents released last month, and they mean that predicted increase in overall global temperature over the next decade may not happen.

So does this cool any of the current alarm over concerning man-made global warming? Apparently not. Study co-author Noel Kennlyside says it's a temporary reprieve adding, "We thought a lot about the way to present this because we don't want it to be turned around in the wrong way. I hope it doesn't become a message of Exxon Mobil and other skeptics.''

Past Due

Comedian turned politician Al Franken has admitted not paying taxes in 17 states dating back to the year 2003. Franken is currently vying for the Democratic nomination to face incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman this fall.

Franken says his accountant of 18 years told him to pay his entire tax bill to the city and state where he lived — not to other states where he occasionally worked making personal appearances. Franken has also been fined $25,000 for not carrying workers compensation insurance for employees of his corporation in New York.

Republicans are pouncing on the revelations, saying they are only the beginning of the story. Some Minnesota Democratic Party leaders admit to being nervous about Franken. One state senator tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he has been approached by numerous people to enter the Senate race as an alternative candidate.

Public Enemy

A top Iranian prosecutor is warning against the destructive cultural and social consequences of — Barbie dolls. The prosecutor says Barbies and other western toys are a danger that needs to be stopped because they pose a threat to the personality and identity of Iranian children.

Meanwhile, the governor of one Saudi Arabia region wants to stamp out a danger to his society — flirting. He says men who get caught will have to pay for it — with their hair. The governor has ordered police to cut the hair of flirters — even if they are the sons of senior military and civilian officials.

FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.