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Foreign student sent home for Arabic phrase

NICEVILLE -- An Arab-Israeli student has been dismissed from a foreign exchange program and sent home after allegedly writing “Death to America” on a Florida classroom board.

The Northwest Florida Daily News reports that the 15-year-old returned to Israel on Friday. He apparently wrote the phrase in Arabic during a discussion with classmates about a month ago, and erased it seconds later. Another student translated. The school suspended him for two days. The decision to send him home was made by AYUSA Global Youth Exchange, which could not be reached for comment Saturday.

The student’s father, Khaled Kasab Mahameed, said the phrase was not written threateningly or maliciously. Mahameed made headlines himself a few years ago for opening a Holocaust museum to educate Arabs.

Brown asks for probe into barber shop raids

ORLANDO -- U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown is asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate raids of barber shops in Orlando by the Florida agency that regulates businesses and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

The Florida Democrat asked for the federal probe into the raids by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the sheriff’s office in a letter on Friday.

One owner says the raids were conducted under the pretext of finding unlicensed barbers, a misdemeanor, but deputies made customers leave the building, blocked the building’s entrances and handcuffed him.

FHP gives Thanksgiving driving data

TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Highway Patrol says it issued more than 12,000 traffic citations and assisted almost 4,000 motorists during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

FHP said on Friday that according to preliminary data, troopers made 121 DUI arrests and cited almost 5,000 drivers for speeding. They also cited more than 1,400 for not buckling up during that period.

From Nov. 24-28, FHP suspended administrative duties and got additional support from reservists and auxiliary troopers to help secure the roads.

Preliminary data, including reports from other law enforcement agencies, show there were 23 motorist fatalities. Authorities say that’s a 36 percent reduction from last year, when there were 36 deaths.

Man charged with shining laser in helicopter

SILVER SPRINGS SHORES -- Authorities in north Florida arrested a man who they say was shining a blue laser light from the ground into a sheriff’s helicopter.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office was trying to locate a shooting suspect in Silver Springs Shores on Thursday night when a pilot saw the light.

According an arrest report, Michael Anthony Fowler told deputies he targeted the helicopter with the light “because he was bored and because he’s an idiot.”

Push to restore Fla. felons’ rights renewed

TALLAHASSEE -- Several groups are renewing a push to automatically restore the voting and other civil rights of former Florida felons who have completed their sentences for nonviolent crimes.

The American Civil Liberties Union, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are among the organizations that Friday sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist and state Cabinet members.

It urges them to order the restoration of the civil rights for nonviolent felons who have completed all non-monetary penalties when they hold their final Executive Clemency Board meeting on Thursday before all four leave office.

Florida teen charged in shooting death of friend

PLANTATION PARK -- Authorities say a South Florida teenager has turned himself to face charges in the accidental shooting death of his best friend.

The 17-year-oldwas arrested Friday and charged with manslaughter. Plantation police detective Philip Toman says the teen brought a firearm into a home where a group of friends gathered. The teens were playing around with the gun and it went off, killing 18-year-old Dakota Alan Donovan.

The boy’s attorney Lawrence Wolk says his client “has been very remorseful, crying all day and night.”

-- Herald wire reports

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