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  • If you text and drive, you'll pay a fine. And that's if you're lucky.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a disturbing new 30-second video aimed to inspire drivers to keep their phones in their pockets while behind the wheel.

    The clip features a group of young people driving, checking their cell phones and talking about a crossword puzzle. The driver's phone beeps, she looks down to check it as she drives through a stop sign. A truck plows into their car, rolling it end over end down a deserted street.

    A police officer then steps into frame and says, "Nobody likes to be stopped by the police. But if I'd seen her texting while driving, it just might have saved her life."

    Texting while driving is an ongoing, and deadly, problem, according to distraction.gov, a government site referenced in the video. Approximately 421,000 people were injured in automobile crashes that involved a distracted driver in 2012, a 9 percent increase

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  • Building goes up in flames moments after bride and groom say 'I do'

    At first, justice of the peace thought smoke was from a fog machine

    Kiss the bride, but make it snappy.

    Immediately after a man and woman exchanged their vows at a Boston-area wedding on Saturday, the couple — along with everyone in the building — had to rush for the exits to escape the beginnings of what would turn out to be a three-alarm fire.

    Jerry Cibley, the justice of the peace who was performing the wedding, spoke to CBS Boston about the fire.

    “I just finished pronouncing the young couple husband and wife when we started the recessional, walked out followed by the groom's people and bridesmaids, then we looked up, and I thought it was fog from a fog machine. It was kind of nice and then I took a closer look and there was a smell to it that didn’t smell like a fog machine."

    No one was injured in the blaze, though the popular Lakeview Pavilion in Foxboro, Mass., will have to be demolished, according to reports. Investigators believe the fire started when someone tossed a still lit cigarette onto some mulch that then ignited nearby vinyl siding,

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  • By Andrew Smith

    You would be hard pushed to find a country where human rights mean less than in Saudi Arabia. The country is run by a dictatorial monarch that has even been accused of keeping his four daughters under house arrest. What has happened to the princesses is shocking, but it also raises the obvious question: if this is how they treat royalty, how do they treat their opponents?

    To protest against the regime is to risk your liberty, and even your life. The risk has become even greater, with the government having recently passed a new 'terrorism' law that treats atheists and political dissidents as enemies of the state. This is far from an isolated event; government repression is widespread and systematic all across the 'kingdom'. This is why the most recent Economist Democracy Index said that it is the fifth most authoritarian government in the world.

    Despite the widespread human rights abuses, the regime is not short of international support. In the last few weeks alone it

    Read More »from The Foreign Office prefers Saudi arms deals to human rights
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to fund community college tuition appears headed toward approval. (AP)

    Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has proposed that his state use lottery funds to provide high school graduates with two free years of education at community or technical colleges.

    First announced in February, the proposal now appears to be on track for approval, having won support from several of Haslem’s Republican colleagues in the state's General Assembly.

    Called “Tennessee Promise,” Haslam’s plan would allow high school graduates to attend an in-state technical or community college without having to pay any tuition or associated fees. The funds would come from a newly created endowment using money from the lottery’s reserves.

    It’s estimated that the plan would cost about $34 million each year.

    The state currently has about 80,000 community college students, evenly divided between full-time and part-time students, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.

    “As we encourage more Tennesseans to continue their education, we know we have to remove as many barriers as

    Read More »from Tennessee close to approving free community college for all high school grads
  • Grumpy Cat celebrates 2 years of being in a bad mood

    Frowning feline goes high fashion at Vogue

    Her real name is Tardar Sauce, but most folks know her by her stage name: Grumpy Cat. The frowning feline turned 2 years old Friday and celebrated the occasion with a visit to Vogue magazine in New York.

    While Grumpy isn't known for smiling for the camera, she exhibited a tremendous amount of patience, posing for photo after photo with delighted staffers at the high style magazine.

    The burgeoning mogul (she has an agent) also paid a visit to the Wall Street Journal to help promote her new partnership with Friskies (catnip ain't cheap, folks). There, Grumpy's caretakers explained that the cat's unique look is due to a combination of feline dwarfism and a wicked underbite. Grumpy had no comment.

    Grumpy was "discovered" after one of her caretakers put a photo of her in foul mood on Reddit in 2012. The image was a huge hit and inspired countless memes. Unlike other Web celebs, interest in Grumpy Cat isn't waning. Not that she'd really care if it did.

    Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (

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  • How did Maria Miller keep her job?

    Maria Miller has been forced to repay expenses and apologise to the Commons. Yet somehow she is still in her job.

    The perfunctory apology lasted just 31 seconds and was delivered with an unmistakeable air of resentment, despite other Tory front benchers gathering around her in solidarity.

    The papers this morning have their knives out. The Mail branded it an insult to parliament. The Telegraph suggested MPs had conspired to save her. The media response is given extra urgency by her leading role in the negotiations over press regulation.

    When the allegations about Miller were put to her special adviser, she responded by observing that her boss had been having high-level meetings with editors recently, and perhaps the journalist wanted to think carefully about his story. This barely-concealed threat raised eyebrows in Fleet Street and confirmed many journalists' suspicions about what regulation of the press would look like.

    Miller is not even considered particularly talented. Even

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  • Hit squads, harsh fines and poo patrols: It's time to get tough on the war against litter

    Our top columnist Janet Street Porter decries a generation who don’t appear to know what bins are for...

    Gross Britain: Discarded plastic washed up on the beach - an all too common sight as far as Janet Street Porter is concerned

    Last weekend summer arrived and I decided to walk around the coast of Kent from Broadstairs to Margate - under beautiful cliffs, past perfect sandy beaches, from one popular seaside resort to another town which is desperately trying to re-invent itself.

    Margate has a fantastic new art gallery, packed with visitors, slap bang on the seafront. Walking through the old town is a delight - every time I visit more quirky shops seem to have opened, selling vintage clothes and amusing bric and brac.

    Delightful: Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate

    Sadly, what should have been a wonderful day in fine weather was blighted by our shameful British habit of depositing litter in the most attractive spots.

    Starting off in Broadstairs, I ignored the graffiti by the beach huts underneath the cliffs, the tins that littered the parking lot.

    For the next two hours, I skirted a high tide mark on the shore strewn with polystyrene food containers, plastic water bottles, carriers bags and brightly coloured synthetic string. Not to mention bleach bottles,

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  • Who is this man and why did he take 445 photos of himself over 30 years?

    The mysterious collection of images is being shown at Rutgers' Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick, N.J.

    Who is he? What did he do? What was he thinking about as he sat down in the photo booth 445 times and waited for the camera to take his picture? And why did he keep the photos?

    Visitors to the Rutgers' Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick, N.J., can ask themselves those questions and more as they examine three decades of photographs of an unidentified man of many emotions.

    Collection of Donald Lokuta, Courtesy Rutgers Zimmerli Art Museum

    Just don't expect any answers. Sometimes he looks happy. Other times he appears less than pleased. Like all of us, his face changed quite a bit over the course of 30 years. The hair grays and then thins. The cheeks fall a little lower on the face. The wrinkles become more defined.

    All of that is universal (outside of Hollywood), which is part of what makes the exhibit such a draw. The images, owned by photography historian Donald Lokuta and lent to the Zimmerli Art Museum, were taken during the time between the Great Depression and the 1960s, according to a blog from Rutgers.

    Collection of Donald Lokuta, Courtesy Rutgers Zimmerli Art Museum

    Lokuta came across a few of the images

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  • Woman saves father from burning home after father went in to help neighbor

    'It’s not every day that a dad is saved by his baby girl,' man says

    When Roger Huff of Virginia Beach, Va., heard his neighbor scream for help with a fire, he rushed into action.

    Little did Huff know that he would need to be rescued himself and that his daughter, 22-year-old Ashleigh Williams, would save his life.

    WAVY reports that after Huff rushed into Larquan Shoulders' home with his fire extinguisher on Tuesday evening, he became overwhelmed by the thick smoke. Williams, who followed him to the fire, spoke to WTKR about how she and Shoulders saw her father choke and fall to the ground. 

    Williams and Shoulders, 18, dragged Huff out of the smoke-filled apartment. She performed chest compressions, and Huff soon came back around and gasped for fresh air.

    She told WTKR, "I know he would do it for me or any of our neighbors had that he would do the same thing. He proved that yesterday also."

    The father, clearly proud of his daughter, said, "It’s not every day that a dad is saved by his baby girl or any of his kids."

    Shoulders' mother, Tiniki Riddick,

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  • By Caroline Lucas

    Last week, the secretary of state for justice wrote an article on the Conservative Home website to try and defend the decision to put a blanket ban on parcels being sent to prisoners, thereby preventing inmates receiving books in the post.

    His article starts with a rather shouty headline: "We have not, repeat not, banned books from prison".  It ends with a strident declaration that he's doing something "right-wing" to tackle reoffending. In the middle there are a set of contradictory positions.  It all sounds a bit like Mr Mackay from Porridge.

    The extraordinary array of different people who oppose this restriction, including Gareth Davies, former governor of Pentonville prison, Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, Salman Rushdie, Mary Beard, Alan Bennett, Jeffrey Archer, Carol Ann Duffy, Ian McEwan (the list goes on and on), fully understand the policy.  We are asking the secretary of state and lord chancellor to reconsider the prison service instruction

    Read More »from Grayling’s book ban excuses just don’t wash

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