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this is weird
May 16, 2014
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It's like 21 Jump Street, without the crime fighting: School officials say a 34-year-old woman posed as a high school sophomore for almost the entire school year, tricking her classmates and teachers into thinking she was 15.

Authorities aren't sure why Charity Anne Johnson enrolled at New Life Christian School in Longview, Texas, as Charity Stevens. She told Principal Stuart Newlin that she had been homeschooled, ABC News says, and was living with a friend she made while working at McDonald's. Tamica Lincoln, 30, agreed to let Johnson live with her after being told Johnson's parents had kicked her out. "She acted like a kid," Lincoln says. "She did her homework. She got good report cards."

Newlin agrees, telling ABC News that Johnson acted like a typical teen. She was well-liked with lots of friends, and active on social media, posting photos of Hello Kitty on Instagram and selfies on Twitter. The jig was up once Johnson attempted to enroll in a group for needy children; a woman from the organization ran a background check and discovered the girl everyone thought was a teenager was really born in 1979. Once Lincoln found out she called the police, who arrested Johnson on Monday. She has been charged with failure to show identification, and is at the Gregg County Jail on a $500 bond. Catherine Garcia

strange species
1:06 p.m. ET

For years, scientists thought Africa's golden jackals to be the same as Eurasian golden jackals. Only one problem: the African ones turned out to not be jackals at all, The Huffington Post reports.

In a new DNA study published Thursday in Current Biology, researchers concluded that what they thought were jackals are actually African golden wolves, the first new species of canine found in Africa in 150 years, according to The Guardian.

Consider the two species distant cousins. The Week Staff

Olympics
12:27 p.m. ET

The World Health Organization asked the International Olympic Committee to conduct tests for viruses on the water in Rio de Janeiro, the site of 2016's summer games, The Associated Press reports. The move comes days after an AP investigation found high levels of viruses and bacteria from sewage in the city's water, where open-water swimming and boating events will be held for 1,400 athletes.

The international Sailing Federation will also run independent tests for viruses in the water. One unique feature of Rio playing host to the Olympics is that the boating events are set to be contested unusually close to the rest of the action, offering good publicity to those sports and their athletes. But the venue could change if the waters are deemed unsafe. Julie Kliegman

Science!
11:27 a.m. ET
Johns Hopkins University

Amazon employees aren't the only people aiming to ship things quickly via drone. Doctors are testing out the technology, too.

A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One reports early findings that it might be possible for doctors to send blood samples to laboratories from remote clinics up to 30 miles away. They ran 56 blood samples from healthy patients through common tests doctors order and found that the drone samples were preserved just as well as the ones that hadn't been airborne, Pacific Standard reports.

The Johns Hopkins University researchers say the next step could be testing the practice in remote regions of Africa. They'll also need to ensure drone flights perform equally well with blood from sick patients. Julie Kliegman

Let's talk about sex
10:46 a.m. ET
Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Image

Rite Aid and Food Lion don't want minors in their store learning "25 Ways to Kiss a Naked Man," apparently. That is, you guessed it, a run-of-the-mill Cosmopolitan headline. The pharmacy and grocery chains announced Wednesday they'll shield minors from the horrors of sexual content by putting blinders on the magazine's cover, The New York Times reports.

The blinders will hide the cover's headlines, but not the magazine title or model. So not to worry, your kid can still gaze at barely naked women — he just can't read about them.

The move comes in response to a campaign against Hearst by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, ironically started by William Randolph Hearst's own granddaughter, who does not have an official title at the company.

There's no word yet if other magazine-selling chain stores will follow suit. Meanwhile, the Times points out even racier covers routinely go unguarded. Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, anyone? Julie Kliegman

Free trade
9:31 a.m. ET
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The 12 Pacific Rim countries working in Hawaii to establish the biggest free trade deal in history failed to reach an agreement Friday, the end of their latest round of talks. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would cover 40 percent of the global economy.

Negotiators say significant progress was made, according to CNN, but there's no date set yet for the next round of talks. An agreement would lower trade barriers between the nations and encourage economic growth.

President Obama had all but ensured a deal would cruise through Congress, but with the 2016 presidential election on the horizon, if a deal is reached down the road, its fate would be less clear. Julie Kliegman

Fires
8:24 a.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hundreds of people are fleeing their homes as more than a dozen large wildfires burned across drought-stricken Northern California on Saturday. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Friday.

About 8,000 firefighters are working to contain the fires, many caused by lightning strikes, according to the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Most of the fires are at least 60 percent contained, but they have damaged tens of thousands of acres so far, CNN reports. One firefighter died Thursday battling the blazes.

The four-year drought has "turned much of the state into a tinderbox," Brown said. Julie Kliegman

Around the world
7:53 a.m. ET
Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images

New Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor purportedly promised to continue the group's 14-year insurgency in audio released to journalists Saturday by a Taliban spokesman, The Associated Press reports.

"We should keep our unity, we must be united, our enemy will be happy in our separation," Mansoor purportedly said. "This is a big responsibly on us. This is not the work of one, two or three people. This is all our responsibility to carry on jihad until we establish the Islamic state."

The Afghan government announced Wednesday that the group's previous leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, has been dead since April 2013. Julie Kliegman

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