Currency redesign for blind appealed

The Bush administration on Tuesday asked an appeals court to overturn a ruling that could require a redesign of the nation’s currency to help the blind.

Justice Department lawyers filed the appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on behalf of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

The appeal seeks to overturn a ruling last month by U.S. District Judge James Robertson, who ordered the Treasury to come up with ways for the blind to recognize the different denominations of paper currency.

Robertson had ruled in a lawsuit brought by the American Council of the Blind. The council proposed several options for changes, including printing different size bills or changing the texture by adding embossed dots or foil.

Erdenheim, Pa.

Teen commits suicide at school

An 11th-grader despondent that his parents might curtail his after-school activities because of poor grades took a rifle to school Tuesday and killed himself between classes in a hallway, authorities said.

The gunman, who was 16, had no intention of hurting anyone else in the 9 a.m. shooting at Springfield Township High School, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. said.

The teen was an Eagle Scout and a volunteer firefighter whose poor grades had led his parents on Monday to threaten to cut back on his after-school activities, Castor said.

“The picture that’s emerging is he was despondent over (the fact) his grades are down, his parents are taking appropriate steps to limit extracurricular activities to get the grades up, and he saw the things that he felt were important in his life being taken from him,” Castor said.


Kerry to visit Iraq in wake of quip

Sen. John Kerry, whose botched joke about U.S. troops in Iraq may have dealt a blow to his presidential ambitions, will travel to Iraq this weekend to meet with soldiers, political leaders and military officials.

The Iraq stop will be part of a nine-day Mideast trip that includes stops in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Israel.

A week before the midterm elections, Kerry told a group of California students that individuals who don’t study hard and do their homework would likely “get stuck in Iraq.” He said he meant to say “get us stuck in Iraq,” but the botched joke intended to criticize President Bush forced the senator to apologize and then lay low for the remaining days of the campaign.

The Massachusetts senator, who was widely criticized for the quip, said he’d be happy to apologize to any soldiers he encounters in Iraq who don’t understand what happened.

“I’ve talked to plenty of guys who’ve come back from Iraq, who are there now, who understand exactly what happened,” Kerry said of his joke in a telephone interview Tuesday with the Associated Press. “They laugh at it.”

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