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British teacher gets jail in teddy bear case

By Times Wires
Published November 30, 2007



The British teacher in Sudan who let her 7-year-old pupils name a class teddy bear Mohammed was found guilty Thursday of insulting Islam and sentenced to 15 days in jail and deportation. Under Sudanese law, the teacher, Gillian Gibbons, could have spent six months in jail and been lashed 40 times. "She got a very light punishment," said Rabie A. Atti, a government spokesman. "Actually, it's not much of a punishment at all. It should be considered a warning that such acts should not be repeated." British officials were furious. "We are extremely disappointed," said Omar Daair, spokesman for the British Embassy in Khartoum. Daair said Gibbons' sentence would include time served, which means she will spend 10 more days behind bars before being sent to Britain. The case started in September when Gibbons, 54, began a project on animals and asked her class to suggest a name for a teddy bear. The class voted resoundingly for Mohammed, one of the most common names in the Muslim world and the name of Islam's holy prophet.



Funding: President Bush called on Democrats to approve money to fund the war "without strings and without delay" before leaving for the Christmas holidays, something congressional leaders have already indicated they will not do.

Courts: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has appealed to Bush to hand over Saddam Hussein's cousin, known as "Chemical Ali," and two other former regime officials sentenced to hang for a 1980s crackdown against Kurds, officials said. U.S. officials have refused to surrender the men.

Troops: Australia's new leader said today he would pull his country's combat troops out of Iraq by the middle of next year, making good on election promises.

U.S. death: The military reported one soldier was killed in Baghdad, the 35th fatality of the month.


Strong earthquake shakes Caribbean

A powerful earthquake rocked the eastern Caribbean Thursday afternoon, damaging buildings and panicking residents, some of whom were hurt when they jumped from windows. The magnitude-7.4 earthquake was centered 14 miles northwest of Martinique's coastline and lasted longer than 20 seconds. It and was felt as far away as Puerto Rico to the west, and Venezuela and Suriname to the south.


Turkey: An Atlasjet plane carrying 56 people crashed just before landing in central Turkey early today and a police helicopter detected the wreckage, officials said.

Japan: More than 16,000 Japanese workers at U.S. military bases staged a strike today, the second in two weeks, after negotiations over the government's plan to cut their benefits failed.

Venezuela: Tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of Caracas on Thursday to oppose a referendum set for Sunday that would eliminate term limits for President Hugo Chavez and help him establish a socialist state in Venezuela.

Ecuador: The country opened an assembly Thursday that will rewrite its constitution, with President Rafael Correa warning that the country could erupt into violence if delegates fail to revolutionize its political system. Correa is an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

[Last modified November 30, 2007, 01:30:46]

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