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2 new Harry Potter-related books coming this fall

In celebration of the 20th year anniversary of the release of the first book in the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling has announced plans for an exhibit about the fictional wizard at the British Library. 

>> Read more trending news 

In collaboration, two new series-related books will be released.

“Harry Potter: A History of Magic” is the official book of the exhibition, and it promises to “take readers on a fascinating journey through the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry -- from Alchemy and Potions classes through to Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures,” according to Bloomsbury Publishing. According to the publisher, readers can “discover the truth behind making the Philosopher’s Stone, create (a) potion and uncover the secret of invisible ink. (Plus) learn all about the history of mandrake roots and dragons, discover what witches really used their brooms for, pore over incredible images of actual mermaids and read about real-life potions, astronomers and alchemists.”

The second book, “Harry Potter: A Journey Through the History of Magic,” takes readers “on a journey through the Hogwarts curriculum, including Defense Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy, Divination and more,” a description on the British Library’s official website reads. The book features exclusive, unseen sketches and manuscripts from Rowling and magical illustrations.

Both books will be released in October.

The first book in the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” was released in the United Kingdom June 26, 1997.  It was released in the U.S. in 1998 with the title “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

Paddling students approved in Texas school district under new rule 

A South Texas school district has approved a new disciplinary policy that allows paddling as a means of punishing students. 

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The Three Rivers School District will now let a principal or behavior coordinator paddle a misbehaving student with a parent’s permission, KHOU-TV reported.

A student could now receive a paddling for minor incidents, like breaking classroom rules. 

The new paddling policy reverses a previous code that prohibited corporal punishment.

Three Rivers isn’t the only school district in Texas that allows corporal punishment.

There are 26 independent districts that also allow it, according to KHOU.

Corporal punishment in schools is still legal in 19 states, the Washington Examiner reported, mostly in the Midwest, South and Southwest.

Ohio senator wants feds to lift prohibition on marijuana

The state senator who helped push through Ohio’s medical marijuana law wants to ask U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Congress to re-classify cannabis.

>> Read more trending news

State Sen. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, introduced a resolution in the Ohio Senate on Wednesday that would make a formal request to the feds to drop marijuana from the list of controlled substances.

The resolution, which would have to pass both the Ohio House and Senate, doesn’t carry much clout. It is a mechanism for sending a message on an issue.

Ohio and 28 other states have embraced medical marijuana programs, even though the drug is still considered illegal under federal Controlled Substances Act. The prohibition makes clinical studies about marijuana’s medical benefits more difficult, the resolution said. Likewise, it makes getting health insurance to cover medical marijuana and getting banks to handle financial transactions more difficult, the resolution said.

Ohio’s medical marijuana law, signed by Gov. John Kasich in June 2016, took effect in September.

While the Obama administration took a hands-off approach on medical marijuana in states with well-regulated programs, the Trump administration seems to be taking a different stance.

“Drug traffickers already cultivate and distribute marijuana inside the United States under the guise of state medical marijuana laws,” Sessions wrote in a May 1 letter to congressional leaders.

Under Ohio’s new program, three state agencies -- Department of Commerce, Board of Pharmacy and State Medical Board -- will oversee regulations for growers, doctors, patients and dispensaries.

State authorities are currently writing rules for processors, testing labs and dispensaries and are considering applications from companies vying for 24 cultivator licenses.

Bindi Irwin shares never-before-seen family photos to celebrate Terri Irwin's birthday

On July 20, Terri Irwin celebrates her 53rd birthday, and her daughter Bindi Irwin has been posting sweet tributes to her mom all day.

Bindi started the birthday celebrations on Wednesday with a throwback photo of Terri feeding camels.

>> Read more trending news

“I love this photo. My mum is breathtakingly beautiful. Tomorrow is her birthday I’ll be sharing some of my favourite photos of her tomorrow, so be on the lookout as we celebrate,” Bindi wrote alongside the pic.

To kick off Terri’s “special day,” Bindi shared a beautiful celebration tribute alongside a photo of Terri hanging out with an elephant.

Happy Birthday to my mum❤ Today I will be sharing some of my favourite photos of Mum so that you can celebrate her birthday with us. She really is the most adventurous woman I know. Her life has been filled with extraordinary moments, just like the one captured in this photo. Moving to Australia after marrying the love of her life and embarking on a whirlwind journey. Travelling all over the world filming and spreading the message of wildlife conservation. Building the largest and busiest wildlife hospital on Earth, treating over 70,000 patients. Funding conservation projects across the globe helping rhinos, tigers, cheetahs, elephants and crocodiles. Ensuring everything that she and Dad created together continues on and being there for me and Robert. Mum does so much and always has endless amounts of time for us. We are truly blessed to have such a kind and patient mum. We love her with all of our hearts and can’t wait to celebrate this special day.

The photo tributes continued with a stunning photo of Terri with her late husband and “soulmate” Steve Irwin. Steve Irwin passed away in 2006 while filming a wildlife documentary.

RELATED: Ryan Seacrest joined a perfect stranger on the New York City subway for a rendition of “Stand By Me”

“Soulmates forever. Celebrating my gorgeous mum’s birthday today. I was blessed with the greatest parents in the world,” Bindi shared with the photo of her parents smiling together.

Another throwback with baby Bindi was posted with a little joke about their close mother-daughter relationship.

“My mum travelling with a baby Bindi. In almost every photo taken during our travels, I’m asleep. Not much has changed in 18 years. I love you, Mum. Happy Birthday. Thank you for always being there for a sleepy me,” Bindi wrote.

Finally, Bindi ended the day of Instagram celebrations with a sweet family photo of the whole family, Terri, Steve, Bindi and Robert, all together.

“Our little family forever. Thinking back to the many years of adventure and love. Happy Birthday, Mum,” Bindi wrote.

Robert also shared birthday wishes for his mother with a more recent photo of the family together.

“Happy birthday to the best mum in the entire world! Love you so much,” he wrote.

Boy, 3, drowns in Florida Keys canal

A 3-year-old boy vacationing with his family in the Florida Keys died after he wandered off and ended up in a canal, according to news reports.

>> Read more trending news

The family had arrived at Key Colony Beach near Marathon on Saturday evening after traveling from their home in Gainesville, Georgia, the Miami Herald reported. While they were unpacking, Andrew Williams got out of the home they were renting and headed toward a canal, the paper said.

A neighbor started screaming when she found him in the water around 6:45 p.m.

The neighbor’s husband pulled Andrew out, and by then his parents, Erica and Jeffrey Williams, arrived, according to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office report obtained by the Miami Herald

The boy’s father started to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation on his son until Marathon Fire-Rescue paramedics arrived and took over, the report said. 

Andrew was taken to a hospital where he died just before 10 p.m., according to officials.

Read more at the Miami Herald

Michael Vick on Colin Kaepernick comments: ‘I'm truly sorry for what I said’

Michael Vick apologized for his comments that suggested a clean look and haircut could help change quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s image after last season’s National anthem protests.

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The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback appeared on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Thursday and expressed regret for his comments from earlier in the week.

"At the end of the day, what I said, I should have never said,” Vick said. “I think it was taken out of context in regards to what I was trying to convey, but I only want to help Kaepernick. I'm not a general manager. I'm not the guy who makes the decisions on getting him signed, and I'm truly sorry for what I said. I think I should have used a better choice of words.

"Obviously, his afro has nothing to do with him being signed and I wasn't trying to relay that message. It was more so about helping him at the end of the day. In all my interviews all I have ever tried to do is help him and talk positive.”

On Tuesday, Vick tweeted a statement clarifying his comments from Monday’s appearance on FS1's "Speak For Yourself.”

Beauty queen’s assault charge dropped under ’Stand Your Ground’ law

A Florida judge dismissed charges Wednesday against a former beauty queen, who was arrested for clubbing a guest with an aluminum bat at her holiday party last December 

>> Read more trending news

Former Miss Miami Lakes Vanessa Barcelo’s lawyer argued that Barcelo acted in self-defense under the state’s “Stand Your Grand” law, the Miami Herald reported. 

The incident happened during a Dec. 21 party Barcelo held at her Hialeah home to promote her cake business.

She testified that during the party, local disc jockey David Duperon tried to take advantage of her inebriated cousin, according to the Miami Herald

This eventually led to Barcelo and her friends trying to get Duperon to leave the party. Barcelo said she swung a bat near the crowd and slapped Duperon’s face. During the scuffle, Duperon got possession of the bat. 

>> Related: Pageant winner arrested after attacking man with baseball bat

“I was scared for myself and everyone who was there,” Barcelo said. 

“I was afraid that I would get hit with the bat. I didn't know what else could have happened.”

Barcelo was facing charges of aggravated battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Read more here

O.J. Simpson granted parole in Las Vegas robbery case

The Nevada Parole Board voted unanimously Thursday to grant former football star O.J. Simpson parole in his 2008 conviction on charges including kidnapping and armed robbery. 

>> Read more trending news

Simpson is expected to leave the Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada this fall after nine years behind bars, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The decision came down Thursday after Simpson, 70, spoke before the Nevada Parole Board, telling the four-person panel he was remorseful for his actions in 2007.

“I haven’t made any excuses in the nine years I’ve been here, and I’m not trying to make an excuse now,” he said.

Simpson was sentenced to 33 years behind bars for his part in a 2007 armed robbery at a Las Vegas hotel room. He was found guilty on a dozen charges, including kidnapping.

Simpson claimed he confronted a pair of memorabilia collectors, Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley, in 2007 in an attempt to recover items that had been stolen from him, according to The Associated Press. Among the mementos and memorabilia he hoped to recover were family photos and his first wife’s wedding ring.

Fromong spoke Thursday in favor of Simpson’s release and said he and Simpson had long ago made peace.

“We all make mistakes,” Fromong said. “O.J. made his. He’s been here and from what I’ve been told he’s been a model inmate. He’s been an example to others.”

Simpson had no disciplinary issues while behind bars and took numerous classes, according to testimony before the parole board. Simpson said he took a conflict resolution course that made a particular impact on him and said he had been called in to mediate issues between other inmates at the Lovelock Correction Center.

Nevada Board of Parole commissioner Susan Jackson held up thick stacks of letters at Thursday’s hearing, some of the hundreds of letters she said the board had received from Simpson’s supporters and detractors. Many of the letters mentioned Simpson’s 1995 acquittal in the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ron Goldman.

Jackson said the case would not be considered in Thursday’s deliberations.

Parole board commissioner Connie Bisbee said Simpson has plans to resettle in Florida, where he was living before his 2008 conviction.

Officials in Florida said in a statement that “if Nevada’s request meets all criteria, Florida must accept the transfer.”

“As is the case with any offender who transfers under this routine procedure, he will be assigned a Florida probation officer and will be supervised in accordance with the conditions of his parole,” said Michelle Glady, director of communications for the Florida Department of Corrections.

Simpson in 2013 was granted parole on the armed robbery conviction. Thursday’s hearing addressed the other 11 charges from his 2008 conviction, according to USA Today.

Simpson, a former football running back who has appeared in nearly two dozen movies and television shows, was found not guilty of murder in 1995 after Brown and Goldman were found stabbed to death outside Brown’s Los Angeles townhouse. The case, which captivated TV audiences around the globe, was dubbed the “Trial of the Century.”

Usher allegedly paid woman $1 million after giving her herpes: reports

Singer Usher Raymond allegedly paid a woman more than $1 million to settle a lawsuit after she claimed he knowingly gave her herpes years ago, according to multiple reports

>> Read more trending news 

Court documents published online Wednesday by Radar Online showed that the “Yeah!” singer was diagnosed with the sexually transmitted disease in 2009 or 2010. 

Usher, who divorced ex-wife Tameka Foster in 2009, allegedly passed the disease on to the woman who filed the lawsuit, People magazine reported. 

According to Radar Online, which broke the story, court documents showed that Raymond engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse with the woman, a stylist, after telling her that he tested negative for herpes.

The unidentified woman later showed symptoms of the disease and tested positive for it.

Raymond, 38, is accused of “consciously and purposefully” withholding knowledge that he had the disease and continuing to have unprotected sexual relations with the woman.

Court documents, dated 2012, showed that the singer paid $2,754.40 to the woman to cover her medical bills.

According to documents published by Radar Online, the woman “feels that her health and body have been ruined.”

“Getting infected with genital herpes from Raymond has devastated (the victim),” documents said. “She ... has suffered severe emotional distress and has been extremely depressed ... Not a day has gone by where she does not feel desolation and despair about her herpes infection knowing that there is no cure. Her infection has destroyed her sense of self, wholeness, health and beauty and she fears that she will never be able to have the type of relationship she had hoped for.”  

The complaint was filed in at the Superior Court in Los Angeles, California, where it is illegal to knowingly or recklessly transmit a sexually transmitted disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 has genital herpes.

Raymond, who remarried in 2015, has not commented.

Florida mayoral candidate tells group to ‘go back to Africa’ during debate

A mayoral candidate for St. Petersburg, Florida, spurred criticism after making a comment to audience members to “go back to Africa” at a debate on Tuesday. 

>> Read more trending news

Paul Congemi allegedly pointed to activist members of the Uhuru movement and their candidate, Jesse Nevel, and said: "My advice to you, if you don't like it here in America, planes leave every hour from Tampa airport. Go back to Africa. Go back to Africa. Go back!” WTVT reported. 

The Uhuru movement fights to protect the democratic rights of African people worldwide, with multiple groups fighting for specific rights.

The current mayor of St. Petersburg, Mayor Rick Kriseman, released a statement the next day disapproving of Congemi’s remarks: 

"I was reluctant to engage this candidate last night and draw even more attention to his disturbing message. I regret not doing so, though. It is simply unacceptable to spew this kind of bigoted rhetoric. Free speech should not compromise the dignity and respect of any person or community. This candidate spoke hateful words about African-Americans and our LGBT community. He has the right to do so, but nothing about what he said is right. His comments just aren't who we are. -RK"

Congemi responded to the Tampa Bay Times via email, stating, “Yes: I did tell those people to go back to Africa. My remark was meant for the group Mr. Nevel represents. Not all African Americans. Just those that Nevel represents."

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