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May 8, 2014
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The City Council in Carson, California unanimously voted in favor of a measure making bullying a misdemeanor this week. The anti-bullying ordinance still has to pass a final vote later in May, NPR reported.

Groups are already questioning how effective the measure would be, though. The ordinance would make it a misdemeanor to cause any person between kindergarten age through 25 years old to "feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested," notes the Los Angeles Times. Meant to include cyberbullying, City Council members say the ordinance would better protect groups especially vulnerable to bullying; they say that includes gay, overweight, disabled, and gifted children.

What is not spelled out is what does and does not constitute a provocation under those terms: What if a "joking" text message is not taken as such by the recipient? What should happen to classmates of a young girl left out of a game at recess, does that warrant calling the police? And as for the age cutoff at 25, that feels entirely arbitrary.

Carson Mayor Jim Dear told Reuters he and fellow Council members are aware of the challenges, but that they support the measure: "We're not talking about putting a five-year-old in jail, we're talking about intervening in both the bully's life, who is a person who is hurting too, and the victim's life."

While the goal of a bully-free community is commendable, Carson's ordinance appears to have an awful lot of tweaks to iron out before it can adequately enforce such an ideal. Sarah Eberspacher

8:06 a.m. ET
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As the Syrian government works to cut off Aleppo's rebel supply route from Turkey, foreign intervention is not welcome, Foreign Minister Walid-al-Moallem warned Saturday, The Associated Press reports.

"Any ground intervention in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government will be considered an aggression that should be resisted by every Syrian citizen," he said. "I regret to say that they will return home in wooden coffins."

Saudi Arabia recently said it would sent troops as part of a U.S.-led coalition to fight Islamic State extremists, which controls parts of Syria. The United Nations suspended peace talks Wednesday as conflict near Aleppo ramped up. Julie Kliegman

7:42 a.m. ET
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At least 13 people died and hundreds more were injured in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Taiwan on Saturday, The Associated Press reports.

Rescuers saved hundreds of people from buildings and were still trying to reach others. Dozens of people are reportedly unaccounted for, CNN reports.

The high-rise residential building that collapsed in the 4 a.m. quake included a care center for newborn babies. One 10-day-old baby was reportedly among the dead. Julie Kliegman

February 5, 2016

On Sunday, the Carolina Panthers will meet the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. But aside from the snacks and the commercials that star puppies, I'm pretty lukewarm about the spectacle.

And then I go and find a photo like this, from the very first Super Bowl in 1967, when the Green Bay Packers trounced the Kansas City Chiefs, and I lament my indifference to the sport.

(AP Photo)

Just look at their utter jubilation! The man in the middle, who's wearing what looks to be an ascot (imagine a time when football fans wore ties and ascots to the game!), waving his arms around like he just don't care, is having a near-religious experience. It's inspiring and I'm jealous. Lauren Hansen

February 5, 2016
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An Indiana lawmaker is refusing to back civil rights protections for gays and lesbians because there are no similar laws protecting "fat white people." State Rep. Woody Burton called homosexuality "a behavioral thing," like overeating, and argued, "If I pass a law that says transgenders and homosexuals are covered under the civil rights laws, does it say anywhere that fat white people are covered?" The Week Staff

February 5, 2016
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Twitter revealed Friday that it has deleted 125,000 accounts threatening or promoting terrorism since mid-2015, CNBC reports. The Brookings Institution estimated last year that there were at least 46,000 such accounts in existence; Twitter's numbers indicate that ISIS and other terrorist groups have either upped their presence on social media, or Twitter has become better at targeting terrorist accounts.

Spam-fighting technology flags posts by potential terrorists, which are then reviewed by humans, The Associated Press reports. Prior to Friday, Twitter had not revealed the scale to which terrorists were active on Twitter. Jeva Lange

February 5, 2016
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At the price it sells for, this little chocolate ball "better cure PMS, heartbreak, and file our income taxes," said Dominique Haikel at E! Online. For years now, La Madeline au Truffle ($250) from Connecticut-based chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt has reigned as the most extravagant confection in the world. Each one is made to order to get the most of its seven-day shelf life. Dark chocolate dusted in cocoa powder encases a rare mushroom — a Périgord truffle — that's been smothered in a chocolate ganache infused with truffle oil. The whole thing weighs just 1.9 oz, but comes resting on a bed of sugar pearls in a pretty silver box. The Week Staff

February 5, 2016
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The Vatican announced Friday that Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, will meet in Cuba next Friday, marking the first such meeting between a pope and a Russian patriarch in history. The Eastern Orthodox and Western factions of Christianity split nearly 1,000 years ago in 1054's Great Schism over issues such as papal authority and have remained "formally estranged" ever since, The Washington Post reports.

The private, two-hour meeting will take place at José Martí International Airport in Havana. It's seen as the most significant effort ever made to repair relations. Becca Stanek

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