Medical sterilization ordered for abusive Louisiana mother

MONROE, La. (AP) -- A woman convicted of abusing three of her eight children has been ordered to undergo medical sterilization or face 10 years in jail.Kathy Looney, 29, of Monroe, has proved she cannot raise or care for children, District Judge Carl V. Sharp said Friday as he issued a 10-year suspended sentence and placed Looney on five years of probation.

"I don't want to have to lock you up to keep you from having any more children, so some kind of medical procedure is needed to make sure you don't," Sharp said.

Looney was convicted of three counts of cruelty to juveniles for beating the children -- ages 6, 7 and 10 -- with an extension cord. She missed three sentencing dates, once so she could give birth to her eighth child. She no longer has custody of any of her children.

Defense attorney Charles Kincade said he will ask the judge to reconsider the sentence or appeal.

Similar sterilization sentences have been issued in other states.

Round-the-world balloonist drops altitude, stays on track

CHICAGO (AP) -- Balloonist Kevin Uliassi descended nearly 10,000 feet over the mid-Atlantic on Saturday to get on course in his effort to make the first solo hot air balloon trip around the world.

Uliassi dropped his balloon from 24,000 feet to 14,800 feet to avoid an air current that would take him too far south, said his spokesman, Peter Fay.

"If he stayed at his original altitude, he would be swung toward South America, rather than remaining on course for Africa," Fay said.

Scott Lorenz, another spokesman, said Uliassi will probably reach Mauritania on the African coast by Monday.

Lorenz said Uliassi was south of the Tropic of Cancer and moving toward Africa at 34 mph Saturday.

Colorado students won't be charged in 'stupid' ski jumps

SILVERPLUME, Colo. (AP) -- Deputies say as long as stupidity is not a crime they won't charge college students who use skis and snowboards to jump over traffic on mountain passes.

Jonathon Soquet, 20, of Boulder, this week suffered minor injuries when he crashed into a snow embankment while jumping Colorado 6. He and other students had built a jump along a slope about 40 feet above the highway. The have to fly 60 feet to clear the road.

"I don't know exactly what we'd charge them with -- other than stupidity -- but I'm sure there's a chargeable offense in there," said sheriff's Capt. Derek Woodman. "The sheriff says we could charge them for not having a pilot's license."

The Colorado State Patrol, which has jurisdiction over traffic issues, doesn't plan to file charges.

American Cancer Society ads detail what it does with $$

ATLANTA (AP) -- The American Cancer Society has launched an aggressive $12 million ad campaign in an effort to convince the public it does more than drum up donations for research.

But some critics, while they support the nonprofit agency's efforts, say the money would be better spent helping patients.

The ACS is using about 2 percent of the donations it takes in annually to pay for the campaign, which began Feb. 15 and runs through March. That's a considerable amount, especially for a nonprofit organization, said Dean Krugman, a University of Georgia advertising professor.

ACS already enjoys widespread name recognition. A May 1998 Gallup poll showed 96 percent of Americans recognize the organization's name.

Boston tavern is accused of racism in monkey display

BOSTON (AP) -- After hearing dozens of complaints, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination has opened an investigation into whether a tavern's display of toy monkeys was meant to mock Black History Month.

The Boston Licensing Board received 41 formal complaints about the bar's display on Friday alone.

The owner of Tom English's Cottage, Tom English Jr., denied that the monkeys, hanging from vines, were set up as a racist joke. He said the display was no different than the clowns, fish and cartoon characters he puts up during the year.

"My only intent was to make my bar a better place," he said.

But a bartender told the Boston Herald that the display was for Black History Month, and that it included a toy gorilla wearing a crown for Martin Luther King.

Journalist to serve jail time for protecting news sources

RED BLUFF, Calif. (AP) -- A federal appeals court has refused to halt the jailing of a journalist charged with contempt for not wanting to reveal his sources.

Tim Crews, editor, publisher and lead reporter of the Sacramento Valley Mirror in Glenn County, is scheduled to report to jail to serve a five-day sentence ordered by Superior Court Judge Noel Watkins.

Crews had refused to divulge his sources for a story about a former Highway Patrol officer accused of stealing a handgun.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Crews' appeal without comment Friday. During the past week, a state appellate court, the state Supreme Court and a lower federal court refused to block the sentence.

In a telephone interview from his two-room newspaper office in Artois, a community of 260 about 100 miles north of Sacramento, Crews said that while he believes the contempt ruling is wrong, he won't appeal it any further. And he said he will continue withholding his sources.

2 on Arkansas court panel shun Clinton ethics cases

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Two members of an Arkansas Supreme Court committee who could hear ethics complaints against President Clinton have stepped aside from the cases.

Carlton Bailey and Richard Reid have notified the Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct that they won't participate in matters relating to Clinton.

The committee's executive director, James Neal, released a letter Friday making public the recusals, which usually are kept secret.

At least three complaints have been filed seeking a review of Clinton's law license, citing his conduct during former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr's investigation of Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.