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November 2, 2002

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Virginia: Sex offenders kept off streets for holiday

Thanks to their parole officers, more than 200 sex offenders were kept away from children during Halloween trick-or-treating hours.

Under Operation Trick No Treat, sex offenders in Norfolk and Virginia Beach were ordered to spend 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday in parole and probation offices.

"It's better to prevent a possible crime than to apprehend someone afterward," said Christopher F. Pate, chief probation officer in Norfolk.

Norfolk probation officers started the program last year, and Virginia Beach joined in this year, Pate said. Participants watched educational videos related to their offenses, were tested for substance abuse and talked to counselors.

Kansas: Monument for unborn must be removed

A monument for unborn babies must be removed from a public cemetery because it violates land use laws that set aside the space for burying human remains, the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled.

The stone monument near Sublette includes pictures of children, an angel and a heart with a small handprint and reads, "In loving memory of all unborn babies." It also includes a Bible verse from the Book of Isaiah.

Vaughn and Sharon Lower bought the cemetery lot in 1994, adding the monument four years later over the objections of the Haskell County Cemetery Board.

The state Supreme Court upheld the ruling of District Judge Kim Schroeder, who ordered the stone removed because it violates state law.

"The law says cemetery lots can be sold by the cemetery districts, and can be used by the purchaser only for the interment of human remains," said Arthur McKinley, the attorney representing the cemetery board.

Washington, D.C.: Judge blocks sonar, cites danger to whales

A federal judge has blocked the U.S. Navy from deploying its long-planned and powerful new sonar system, concluding that the deafening underwater sounds could injure and kill whales protected by law.

Responding to a lawsuit filed by environmental groups against the Navy and other federal agencies, U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth LaPorte in San Francisco issued a temporary injunction stopping the Navy from deploying sonar.

But LaPorte also agreed with the Navy that a ban on the new sonar could hamper military preparedness and ordered the two sides to work out a compromise creating zones where the equipment could be tested and sailors could be trained in its use.

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