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In July, the Houston School District, citing student privacy laws, declined to release last season's Bellaire High School baseball statistics (such as batting averages), even though requested by a player's parent.

The Perth, Australia, construction materials company GMA Garnet recently closed a deal to sell sand to Saudi Arabia, and shipments began in June. (Actually, it's a hard-grade sand better suited for sandblasting than that found in the Saudi desert.)

Army officer Bryan Hilferty, a volunteer Little League umpire in Alexandria, Va., complained to The Washington Post in July that when he requested a copy of the League rulebook (to help him be a better umpire), he was turned down. Hilferty, who has access to classified information in his job at the Pentagon, was told that the Little League restricts its rulebooks, on a "need to know" basis, so as not to invite litigation, and that Hilferty did not qualify.

Norwegian Correctional Services revealed in August that 20 percent of convicted criminals who are given reporting dates to begin their sentences (a total of 1,799 last year) simply do not show up. The problem is compounded by the fact that Norway has no separate law requiring them to report. Said a regional prison director, "It's difficult to make plans for the prison terms when we have no idea who will show up and who won't."

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