Only in America
February 20, 2013

During Mardi Gras, an Idaho bar gave away a $3,000 voucher for breast augmentation surgery. "It's the best door prize we feel we could give away on this holiday," the bar's owner wrote on Facebook. The lucky winner? Andy Thompson, a 37-year-old man, who wasn't even going to go out that night. Now, the recently divorced Boise man finds himself at a crossroads. "I was thinking about going with a C cup," he joked, "but I think a small A is good for me." Lauren Hansen

Jailbreak
2:52 p.m. ET
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Clashes in Yemen have led to 1,200 prisoners escaping — and members of al Qaeda are thought to be among them, Reuters reports.

"Groups of al Qaeda supporters... today attacked the central prison in the city of Taiz," the state news agency, Saba, reportedly quoted an official as saying. "More than 1,200 of the dangerous prisoners escaped."

In an apparently similar case in April, 270 prisoners were broken out of a prison in Al Mukallah by al Qaeda militants; among those freed were senior al Qaeda officials.

Yemen remains in the throes of an ongoing power struggle between the forces of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and Houthi rebels. Both Hadi and the Houthis are opposed by al Qaeda. Yemen also has its own Islamic State jihadist group, which is another al Qaeda antagonist. (Learn more about the various power players with this helpful BBC explainer.)

A car bomb yesterday killed 10 at a funeral in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. Jeva Lange

Germanwings Crash
2:48 p.m. ET
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Germanwings announced Tuesday that it will be offering "emotional damage payments" to the relatives of the 150 victims of the March 24 plane crash, Reuters reports. The payments of 25,000 euros, the equivalent of $27,958, are intended as compensation for pain and suffering. This offering, which is outside the norms of German law, is an addition to the 50,000 euros that the airline paid to the families for immediate assistance. Emotional damage payments will be made to parents, spouses, partners, and children of the victims.

Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately crashed the Dusseldorf-bound plane in the Alps on March 24, killing all 150 people on board. Becca Stanek

Law And Order
2:04 p.m. ET
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A dozen officials from Clinton Correctional facility, including its superintendent, have been placed on administrative leave in the wake of the investigation into the recent escape of two prisoners from the maximum-security prison. The New York State Department of Corrections said that three of the officials are members of the prison's executive team and nine are security staff.

The FBI is investigating Clinton Correctional, exploring possibilities of drug trafficking and other criminal behavior. A new inquiry is also being fueled by evidence uncovered by authorities while investigating Richard Matt and David Sweat's jailbreak. Corrections officer Joyce Mitchell has been accused of smuggling in the tools Matt and Sweat used to break out of prison, while another prison worker, Gene Palmer, is charged with delivering those tools.

Matt was killed before capture; Sweat was shot in the torso and remains in stable condition. Sweat has told authorities that he and Matt began preparing for their jailbreak six months before actually making their escape, The New York Times reports. The pair practiced the escape the night before they enacted it for real on the morning of June 6. Jeva Lange

Thou shalt not
1:50 p.m. ET
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Oklahoma's high court ruled Tuesday that the Ten Commandments monument in place at the state's Capitol indirectly benefits the Jewish and Christian faiths, and thus must be taken down, the The Associated Press reports.

Though it was funded with private money, the 6-foot monument violates the state's Constitution, which prohibits the use of public property for religious benefit.

In defense of the display, Attorney General Scott Pruitt cited a nearly identical monument in Texas, which the U.S. Supreme Court found to be constitutional. Other lawmakers have argued it serves a historical, as opposed to religious, purpose. That argument, however, led other groups — including Satanists and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster — to advocate for permission to erect displays at the Capitol marking their own historical events. Stephanie Talmadge

This just in
1:29 p.m. ET
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After California legislators voted Monday to eliminate the state's personal belief exemption for school vaccinations, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed the bill into law Tuesday. The legislation will require virtually all school-attending children in California to be fully vaccinated, the San Jose Mercury News reports, whether the school is public or private and regardless of their parents' religious or personal beliefs.

California's law does allow medical exemptions for children with serious health concerns and permits children with existing personal belief exemptions to go unvaccinated until their next checkpoint. Otherwise, the new law effectively requires all of California's school-age children to either be vaccinated or homeschooled. Only Mississippi and West Virginia have similarly strict laws.

"The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases," Brown wrote in an official statement. "While it's true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community." Kimberly Alters

champs
1:20 p.m. ET
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The World Health Organization has confirmed that Cuba is the first country in the world to eradicate mother-to-child transmitted HIV and syphilis. WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chen called the progress a "major victory."

"It shows that ending the AIDS epidemic is possible and we expect Cuba to be the first of many countries coming forward to seek validation that they have ended their epidemics among children," Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé added in the WHO report.

The Pan American Health Organization and WHO have worked jointly in Cuba since 2010. Globally, the organization estimates that 1.4 million women with HIV become pregnant every year and have a 15 to 45 percent chance of transmitting the virus to their children during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding. Likewise, nearly one million pregnant women become infected with syphilis. Jeva Lange

en pointe
12:56 p.m. ET
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The American Ballet Theater named Misty Copeland, 32, principal ballerina on Tuesday, making her the first African-American woman to hold the position in the company's 75-year history. Stella Abrera was also promoted to principal.

Copeland has been with the American Ballet Theater for 14 years and spent eight of those years as a soloist. Last week, she performed as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake at the Met; she has also performed in Alexei Ratmansky's Firebird and debuted in Romeo and Juliet.

"When she's on, the audience is totally diverse," Artistic Director Emerita of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Judith Jamison told The Wall Street Journal. "This is what happens when you give people opportunity to do things they are capable of doing." Jeva Lange

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