New Sun Newsbriefs

Not Even Kissing?
"...the House of Representatives has censured the French by changing the name of french fries on the house dining room menu to freedom fries. Does this mean our almost sacred Statue of Liberty -- a gift from France -- will now have to be demolished? And will we have to give up the French kiss? What a cruel blow to romance.
--George McGovern, The Nation

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Hope for Haiti
Abner Louima, a symbol of police brutality in New York, received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city after surviving a brutal attack in 1997. He's now using some of that money to pay for the education of 14 poor children in his old neighborhood in Haiti.

"Maybe God saved my life for a reason," said Louima. He also has established a nonprofit group to aid poverty-stricken citizens and wants to build community centers and a hospital.

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Peace Though Sports
John McEnroe has become a new member of the Laureus Sports Academy. He joins Boris Becker and other athletes who journey around the world to foster peace, not war, through sports. Mr. MacEnroe will not be going to Iraq, however. "I've got six kids," he said.

Laureus has gone to the Middle East, to Africa and India; it has brought together Palestinian and Israeli coaches, and has encouraged the acceptance of Moroccan women athletes.

Mac on Iraq: "I don't support it or not support it. I don't have the education to be familiar with it. The appearance is we're isolating ourselves, backing ourselves into a corner. That isn't where we want to be. My thing is, 'Where's Bin Laden?' This other person (Saddam Hussein) has been around for years. It's a tough sell to me to say, 'Now, we have to do it.'"

Source: The New York Daily News.

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Women Gaining Power
V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls -- inspired by the play "The Vagina Monologues."

The organization has created a three-day event called the Afghan Women's Leadership Program for over 30 women from different grassroots and community based organizations within Afghanistan. (March 8 - 11th.)

The agenda in Kabul will focus on building skills in political advocacy and identifying the key challenges for women

Founder and playwright Eve Ensler is scheduled to appear on "NOW with Bill Moyers" on April 4 to report on her visit and the program.

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Minnesota Handyman Loves New York
A handyman from Minneapolis, Minnesota donated his entire $1.4 million estate to the city of New York, after 9/11. About a week after the attack, Joseph Temeczko instructed his attorney give his life earnings to improve the lives of New Yorkers, and to honor those who perished in the disaster.

A month after amending his will, he died. An immigrant from Poland and an avid gardener, Mr. Temeczko came to America from Ellis Island and worked briefly at the Statue of Liberty before heading to Minnesota.

The money will go to:

1) "The Daffodil Project" to help continue planting daffodils all over the city; in parks, along highways, in community gardens, and in front of fire houses, police stations and libraries. Over 1.5 million flowers have been planted so far. Mr. Temeczko's generous money ($250,000) will increase the abundant display of daffys for many years to come.

2) The Renovation of Columbus Park. Located in lower Manhattan, this 2.76-acre park is one of the places New Yorkers came together after the attack for candlelight vigils and community events. The funds will pay for the transformation of the asphalt field to a synthetic turf field, as part of the Mayor's promise to replace asphalt play areas throughout the city.

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The Right to Bear Vibrators
Citizens of Alabama can now legally buy and sell vibrators, and other similar items.

Previously, they were prohibited, whereas the sale of handguns was legal. Recently though, a Federal Court ruled that Alabama's ban on sex toys violates a well-established right to privacy. Now the citizens of Alabama can vibrate in good conscience, as well as continue to buy handguns.

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Electric Cars Are Hip
An increasing number of artists and entertainers are buying electric or electric-gas hybrid cars to cut down oil dependence and pollution. Meryl Streep, for example, used to drive a $60,000 Audi and has now switched to an $18,000 Toyota Prius. This half electric, half gas car goes up to 104 miles an hour, and gets 51 miles to the gallon.

Other smart consumers hopping on the battery-powered bandwagon include Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Billy Joel, Rob Reiner, Anthony Hopkins, Larry David, David Duchovny, Blythe Danner and Bill Maher.

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