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Associated Press
Covering their mouths to symbolize gay and transgender disenfranchisement, protesters are arrested Monday at the Idaho Statehouse in Boise.

Gay rights rally blocks Idaho Senate door

– Police arrested dozens of gay rights activists Monday after a protest blocked entrances to the Idaho Senate chambers for more than two hours.

Idaho State Police said they took 43 people into custody on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing after demonstrators stood shoulder to shoulder and prevented lawmakers from getting past.

Former state Sen. Nicole LeFavour, the Idaho Legislature’s first openly gay lawmaker and an organizer of the protest, was among those arrested. Ahead of the demonstration, she had said the group would block the entrances until lawmakers agreed to take up a bill adding anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people or until protesters were removed by authorities.


I was waterboarded for spilled milk: Girl

A girl who claims she was waterboarded by her mother’s companion, a former pediatrician, told a Delaware jury on Monday the man held her face under a running faucet several times as punishment.

Swiveling back and forth in the witness chair and smiling at times, the 12-year-old recounted how Melvin Morse, who she learned only recently was not her father, punished her in a variety of ways, including waterboarding and putting his hands over her nose and mouth. Morse, 60, is facing endangerment and assault charges.

The girl said Morse used the term “waterboarding,” and she was punished for spilling milk, shaking a ketchup bottle and vomiting into a cat’s litter box after being made to eat too much.

Waterboarding simulates drowning and has been used in the past by U.S. interrogators on terror suspects. Many critics call it torture.

YouTube video leads to assault charge

A California educator who was confronted by a former student on a YouTube video has been charged with 16 counts of sexual abuse.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s office said Monday that a warrant had been issued for 40-year-old Andrea Cardosa.

The case came to light after a now 28-year-old woman posted a video showing her making a call to confront Cardosa about the abuse that she said began when she was 12. The video went viral, and a second alleged victim later came forward.

Cold snap damages California citrus

A week of freezing temperatures in early December wiped out about a quarter of California’s $2 billion citrus industry, an industry group estimated on Monday.

The group, California Citrus Mutual, said the damage was confined to the state’s Central Valley, where mandarin and navel oranges and lemons were lost.

Consumers are likely to see at least a slight increase in the price of oranges at the grocery store and can expect a shorter season for California citrus, the group said.

Bernanke heads to think tank from Fed

Ben Bernanke, who stepped down last week after eight momentous years as chairman of the Federal Reserve, is joining the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

Bernanke will be a distinguished fellow in residence affiliated with Brookings’ Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy.

Janet Yellen was sworn in Monday to succeed Bernanke at the Fed.

Outlook good after skydiving accident

A 16-year-old North Texas girl who plummeted more than 3,000 feet to the ground in an Oklahoma skydiving accident walked with assistance Monday and is expected to fully recover, her doctor said Monday.

Makenzie Wethington’s parents agreed to allow her to skydive Jan. 25 as a 16th birthday present, and her father jumped ahead of her. When the teen jumped, her canopy opened but with a malfunction she was unable to correct, and she did not deploy a reserve parachute as she had been taught to do.

Senate advances farm legislation

The U.S. Senate voted 72-22 Monday to limit debate and proceed to a final vote on a five-year farm bill.

Sens. Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., cast votes in favor of the motion, which required 60 votes to advance the bill.

Earlier Monday, Coats said he plans to vote for the legislation, which would spend $100 billion a year, cut spending on food stamps by $800 million a year and replace direct-payment farm subsidies with subsidized crop insurance programs. A vote is expected today.

Donnelly said last week he will support the measure, which was approved Wednesday by the House in a bipartisan 251-166 vote.

Girl’s iPhone catches fire in her pocket

The “stop, drop and roll” mantra came in handy for a Maine eighth-grader when her cellphone caught fire in her pocket at school.

Kennebunk middle school Principal Jeff Rodman tells The Portland Press Herald that the girl heard a popping sound Friday morning and smoke started billowing around her.

She also did the “stop, drop and roll” move, and boys were herded from the room so the 14-year-old girl could shed her flaming pants. She was treated at a hospital.

Her mother had given her the Apple iPhone 5C two months earlier.


Student kills 2 in Moscow school

A 10th-grade student with two rifles burst into his Moscow school Monday, killing his geography teacher and a policeman in front of about 20 students, investigators said.

His father played a key role in freeing those students before police stormed the classroom and took his son into custody, the city police chief said.

The student gunman also seriously wounded a second police officer who had responded to an alarm from the school, investigators said.