Sunday, February 25, 2007

Breastfeeding Mothers Stage 'Nurse-In' At Mall

WYOMISSING, Pa. -- Hundreds turned out Saturday at a Pennsylvania mall. They were not there to shop, but to support a mother ordered by security to stop breastfeeding in public at the Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing.

The crowd gathered to support Leigh Bellini, who was asked by mall security last Saturday to go to a bathroom or her car while she breastfed her 6-month-old son, Enzo.

On Saturday, dozens of mothers staged a "nurse-in." Nearly 50 women breast-fed their children in the mall's center court. The women said they should be able to feed their children wherever they want.

Bellini said in the past she's received stares and some rude looks, but never before had she gotten into a confrontation over breastfeeding.

"I thought it was the most natural thing in the world. I can't imagine that somebody would complain," said Bellini.

But someone did complain when Bellini fed her baby at the mall. Bellini said she stopped to feed her son after a day of shopping with her family. She said that she found a bench under a tree and put her stroller in front of her when security approached, and asked her to cover her son with a blanket.

"Nobody could see anything. There wasn't one (part) of my breast showing," said Bellini.

Her husband, Tony, said the situation got ugly when police suggested that she feed their son in a public restroom or the car, which they refused to do.

"They threatened to call the police on us, or have us physically removed by the police department," he said.

Tony Bellini said they even threatened to have the couple banned from the mall permanently.

The mall's manager said there is no policy banning breastfeeding at the Berkshire Mall, and that security should not have threatened to call police. She said the matter is being investigated.

Protestors said they fear that having no policy could cause more problems for nursing mothers.

Almost every state in the country has a law allowing women to breastfeed in public, but not Pennsylvania. Currently, there is legislation being introduced in Harrisburg, Pa., to protect the rights of women who want to publicly breastfeed.

Distributed by Internet Broadcasting.

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This Is What Happens When You Try To Buy Weed With A Text Message

MURRAY, Ky. (AP) - A middle school teacher trying to buy pot was arrested after she sent text messages to state trooper instead of a dealer, police said.

Trooper Trevor Pervine was at dinner with his wife and parents celebrating a birthday when his phone started buzzing with messages about a marijuana purchase.

At first, Pervine thought the messages were from friends playing a joke, Kentucky State Police spokesman Barry Meadows said. But a couple of phone calls put that idea to rest, and Pervine responded to set up a meeting, Meadows said.

Authorities say Ann Greenfield, 34, arrived at the meeting point and found Pervine and other law enforcement officers waiting for her.

"She learned her lesson. Program your dealers into your phone," Meadows said.

Greenfield, a teacher at Murray Middle School, was charged with conspiracy to traffic in controlled substances within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, Meadows said.

She was suspended with pay pending results of an investigation, the Murray Independent School District said in a statement posted Friday on the district's Web site. A message seeking comment left at a listing for an Ann Greenfield in Murray, Ky. was not returned.

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Girl wins $100,000 jackpot, despite being too young to gamble

A casino in Macau has been ordered to pay out nearly $100,000 (£51,000) in prize money won by a 16-year-old girl who was too young to enter the casino.

The Sands Casino had said the win was invalid because the girl was underage.

But gambling authorities in the Chinese territory said the rules only specified a minimum age for entering the casino, not for gambling once inside.

The prize is to go to the girl's mother and the laws are to be rewritten to close the age loophole.

The 16-year-old girl from Hong Kong, whose name has not been released, was given the equivalent of about $12 by her grandmother as a Lunar New Year present to play on the slot machines in nearby Macau.

Legal puzzle

She went to the Sands Casino with her mother and grandmother and put all her money into one slot machine.

The winning combination came up, but the casino refused to pay out when staff discovered the girl was under 18.

Macau's gambling watchdog, the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau, overruled the casino's decision after meeting the girl and her mother.

"We have decided that the money must be paid, not to the child, but to her mother," the bureau's director Manuel Joaquim das Neves, was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.

The gaming bureau has, however, barred the mother from Macau's casinos as punishment for bringing a minor inside.

The BBC's Vaudine England in Hong Kong says a legal puzzle arose because the contract between any gambler and the casino requires payment of winnings.

But the law does not say what to do if a minor illegally enters a casino, gambles, and wins.

Macau has been working on a major overhaul of its gambling laws since the monopoly on gambling licences was ended in 2002.

The casino industry has been booming since then, and the legal loophole barring under-18s from entering casinos but allowing them to play is likely to be closed, says our correspondent.

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