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In the Nation


School canceled over Islam lesson

A Staunton school district canceled classes and a holiday concert after being flooded with angry messages over a school calligraphy lesson that involved copying a Muslim statement of faith in Arabic.

Some of the tens of thousands of emails and Facebook posts "posed a risk of harm to school officials" and threatened protests at Riverheads High School, Superintendent Eric Bond said Friday.

The students were to practice calligraphy by writing a statement that translated to: "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah." One parent said the assignment promoted a false religious doctrine.

School officials said the aim of the lesson was to illustrate the complexity of the written Arabic language, not to promote any religious system. - AP

FDA proposes

tan bed limits

Anyone under the age of 18 would be barred from using indoor tanning equipment, under a federal proposal to help reduce skin cancer linked to the devices.

The Food and Drug Administration also wants to require tanning bed users to sign consent forms acknowledging the risks of the radiation-emitting devices. Tanning salons would have to collect the forms from customers every six months. - AP

Cosby fighting wife's deposition

Lawyers for Bill Cosby said Friday they will fight an attempt to require his wife to give a sworn deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who accuse the comedian of sexually assaulting them decades ago.

A lawyer for the women has subpoenaed Camille Cosby to be deposed on Jan. 6.

Cosby's lawyers filed a motion Friday to quash the subpoena, saying she has no firsthand knowledge of issues in the lawsuit. They also argue that any confidential communications between Cosby and his wife are protected by the Massachusetts spousal disqualification rule.

The women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata, had argued that he should be able to question Camille Cosby because she was her husband's business manager. - AP

Ash Carter's emails released

The Pentagon on Friday released 34 pages of Defense Secretary Ash Carter emails that he sent or received using his personal account, a practice that he acknowledged on Thursday had been a mistake, given the well-known and growing threat of cyber intrusions. Carter said he never used his personal account to handle classified information.

None of the Carter emails released by the Pentagon included classified material, although they covered only the period from April 1 to 30. - AP