Britain's Qualifications and Curriculum Authority decreed that secondary students must not be penalized for misspellings when taking an important hour-long test -- on English proficiency.

The spelling standard was loosened when only 71 percent of 14-year-old students managed to "reach the level expected in English" against a target of 75 percent.

Knee Surgery

A New York City jury awarded $450,000 in damages to a professional dancer whose career was ended in 2001 after surgery.

In a pre-op meeting, the dancer described the discomfort in his right knee, and the surgeon wrote a large "X" on the spot of the pain, but 20 minutes later, he mistakenly cut into the man's until-then-healthy left knee.

Jesus' Scent

Reading Psalm 45, Karen Tosterud of Vermillion, S.D., noted that the Messiah's "robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia" and decided "that gives the formula for Jesus' scent when he returns."

So she and her husband are now selling "His Essence" candles that "smell like Jesus."

Mouth-to-Beak Resuscitation

Euegene Safken says he let his chickens out of their coop outside of Collbran, Colo., and went into his house for a cup of coffee.

When he came back, he found one of his birds drowned in a tub of water in the yard. He fished the young chicken out of the water and thought, "what the heck, I'll give it a shot," and gave it mouth-to-beak resuscitation.

His girlfriend told him to give it up. "Leave the chicken alone; it's dead," Denise Safford says she told him. But, he said, "I wouldn't let that damn thing die." It worked: the chicken, he says, came back to life and is now fine. It wasn't so bad, he says. "I've kissed worse."

Naming Beetles

Three new species of slime-mold-eating beetles were named after G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld.

Researchers Quentin Wheeler and Kelly B. Miller swore they did it out of admiration for the leaders' advocacy of freedom and democracy.

Loving Enema

Tammy Jean Warner was charged with negligent homicide in the 2004 death of her husband, Michael, who suffered acute alcohol poisoning caused by having ingested three liters of sherry wine, allegedly provided by Tammy, via enema.

The Lake Jackson, Tex., widow told reporters that she was only trying to help Michael (who she said had been addicted to enemas since childhood) and that he also did enemas with coffee, "Castile soap, Ivory soap. He had enema recipes." "I'm sure that's the way he wanted to go out [die] because he loved his enemas."

African Spell

Ali Joho, who lost a close election for the Parliament of Kenya, filed a petition asking the country's High Court to nullify the contest because the winner, Anania Mwaboza, was allegedly spotted with some supporters under a bridge on election eve, sewing up the eyes of three cows and then drowning them, in order to cast a spell on Joho's partisans.

African Market

Sanitation workers in Nairobi, Kenya, finally, after 10 years of complaints, cleaned up the Wakulima Market (the country's largest fruit and vegetable facility), dislodging an estimated 750 tons of garbage, 38 tons of human waste, and about 6,000 rats.

Tour of Houston

Trying to counter its reputation as "America's Fattest City", Houston, Texas, put on the "Tour de Houston" bicycle event.

The response was staggering: at least 2,300 people showed up. Another reason for the great turnout: participants were given free beer and tacos.

Computer Refund

Vincent Festa, 44, was arrested at a Radio Shack in Oyster Bay, N.Y., when he attempted to return for refund a computer and about $1,500 in other "Christmas gifts" but which, according to police, he had loaded in his car a week earlier at the same store and driven off without paying for.

Oklahoma Cockfighting

Oklahoma state Sen. Frank Shurden proposed legislation to bring back the "sport" of cockfighting, which the state outlawed in 2002.

To appease critics, Shurden, apparently serious, suggested that the roosters wear tiny boxing gloves instead of the razor cleats on their legs and also wear electronic-sensitive vests in order to record hits so as to non-lethally determine the winner of a match.

Compulsive Reader

Jack W. Pacheco, 35, of Chowchilla, Calif., was upset when his small-town newspaper reported he had been arrested on drug charges.

He insisted the drugs weren't his, but when the newspaper wouldn't pull the story he tried to buy every one of the 700 copies of The Chowchilla News that were printed, and he got as many as 600 of them. "I have a whole garage full of newspapers," he said.

There were only three things wrong with his plan: first, the paper also printed 550 copies for subscribers, which weren't intercepted; second, after Pacheco bought up the remaining newsstand copies the newspaper had 500 more printed, and third, Pacheco's tactic was reported on by other area papers -- and the report was picked up and spread internationally by newswire services.

More on Education

In 1989, after his release from prison on petty crimes, John L. Stanley undertook the serious study of criminology, lecturing and even hosting a Dallas radio program on crime, but in December of the same year, he confessed to robbing a Commerce Bank in Kansas City, Mo., because he needed to return to prison to further his study

Australian Education

School officials in Victoria, Australia, decided it was too hard for students to calculate equations using the constant 9.8 meters/second/second - the acceleration of gravity at Earth's surface - so they proposed changing the Year 12 physics exam for the Victorian Certificate of Education to use a rounded-off figure of 10 m/s/s.