It's no bother, really

File this one under Now It Can Be Revealed. Do you remember Michael Newdow? He's the California atheist who last year sued in behalf of his daughter, and won a highly controversial ruling from the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because it contains the words "under God." Well, last week his daughter's school district appealed the ruling ... and revealed in the process that the child unhesitatingly recites the pledge each day, right along with her classmates.


This place is just a howl

Last time we looked in on the correctional system in Thailand, some of the women in its culinary program had cooked and served a luncheon to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Cabinet. Now the system is in the news again - this time for an innovative effort to relieve stress. Last week, it sponsored "A Little Laugh a Day" contest, with a trophy for the inmate whose guffaws were judged the most infectious.


Quote of the day

'This town will be back.'

- Missouri Gov. Robert Holden (D), after touring Pierce City, which was largely reduced to rubble by tornadoes in a storm that killed at least 37 people in the Midwest and South.

'X-2' kicks off a summer of blockbuster sequels

The summer movie season got under way last weekend with "X2: X-Men United" taking theaters by Storm (as well as by Wolverine, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler). The sequel, one of a record 25 that Hollywood plans to offer this year, earned $85.9 million in its first three days of release in North America, the fourth-highest to date. The original "X-Men" took in $54.5 million during its opening weekend. The top 10 in box-office earnings (in millions) for May 2-4, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations Inc.:

1. "X2: X-Men United" $85.9
2. "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" 17.0
3. "Identity" 9.5
4. "Anger Management" 8.5
5. "Holes" 6.5
6. "Malibu's Most Wanted" 4.0
7. "Confidence" 2.5
8. "It Runs in the Family" 1.6
9. "Bend it Like Beckham" 1.5
(tie) "Bulletproof Monk"

- Associated Press
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