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NATIONWIDE: Rowdy protests over education cuts

Students staged raucous rallies on college campuses Thursday that turned violent as demonstrators against deep education cuts threw ice chunks in Wisconsin and blocked university gates and smashed car windows in California. At least 15 protesters were arrested by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee police after students gathered to deliver petitions to the school chancellor. In Olympia, Wash., protesters arrived at the Capitol bearing a faux coffin with the slogan "R.I.P. Education." A car's windows were smashed at the University of California, Santa Cruz. At UC Berkeley, a human chain of protesters blocked a main gate to the campus. At a rally in Montgomery, Ala., Broderick Thomas, 23, an Auburn senior, said he feels "it's the moral duty of the state to give back what they promised." The I-880 freeway in the San Francisco Bay area was shut down by student protesters.


WASHINGTON: New criticism of Blackwater

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Thursday the Pentagon should consider barring Blackwater (now Xe Services), from a new $1-billion deal to train Afghan police because of "serious questions" about the contractor's conduct. The comments suggest thinning patience in Congress for the Pentagon's reliance on contractors.


PENNSYLVANIA: Suicide pact by girls suspected

As the Acela came thundering down the rails, a girl screamed at her friends to get off the tracks. But Gina Gentile and Vanessa Dorwart hugged as the train bore down on them at up to 110 mph, carrying out a suicide pact that the witness herself had backed out of. The loss has shaken Norwood and its neighboring towns just outside Philadelphia. There were hints of depression among the popular high school sophomores but experts say such suicide pacts are extremely uncommon - especially among teens.

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