• The role of the "queen" of the Rio de Janeiro carnival is usually played by a model or soap star, but this year 7-year-old Julia Lira will be the drum corps queen. Children's services groups are none too happy.
As "queen," Lira will wear a revealing, sparkly outfit (but nothing worse that what we see on Toddlers and Tiaras). Some argue that allowing her to play the traditionally sexualized role would "increase the treatment of children as sexual objects in Brazilian society." Lira's father disagrees. • A soldier based in Tacoma has been accused of "waterboarding" his 4-year-old daughter because he was angry she didn't know the alphabet (although it sounds like he was not actually waterboarding his daughter but submerging her head underwater). Joshua Tabor was arrested after neighbors reported seeing him walking around in a military helmet and threatening to break windows. Tabor's girlfriend told police about the incident, and his daughter has since been taken into care. • A new Department of Defense policy will require all military health facilities around the world to stock Plan B. The morning-after pill will now be considered one of the "core formularies" even in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. • A pastor from a California church claims that Jaycee Dugard is having financial problems. Dugard has not made much money in the wake of her ordeal, and members of the church have generously paid for her last four months of rent. • Boys born through IVF may have trouble conceiving children later in life, according to a new study. IVF-boys are more likely to have short index fingers (equal length with their ring fingers), a trait that has already been linked to male infertility. However, since IVF has only been widely used since the 1990s, this is the first such study performed on the children. • The UN has called for renewed efforts to help end the genital mutilation of women and girls. On Saturday the UN released a statement which read: "The practice persists because it is sustained by social perceptions, including that girls and their families will face shame, social exclusion and diminished marriage prospects if they forego cutting. These perceptions can, and must, change." • A 26-year-old man from Buffalo has been accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl and keeping her in his apartment for six months, where he raped her more than 100 times and forced her to babysit his 1-month-old son. Michael Abdallah has been charged with second-degree rape, unlawful imprisonment and custodial interference. • Statistics show that white women over the age of 55 are having the best luck finding jobs, partially because of job growth in "positions traditionally held by women," including temporary retail work. Unfortunately, black women are not experiencing the same boost in hiring, and had unemployment rate of 13.3 percent in January. • On Sunday, Laura Chinchilla became the first female president in Costa Rica's history. She garnered 46.8% of the vote, with second-place candidate Otton Solis coming in with 25.1%. Her victory was met with celebration and excitement throughout the nation. • A new study has found that kids raised by lesbian parents are just as happy and well-adjusted as those raised by straight parents. The children of gay couples did just as well in school and were no more likely to participate in delinquent behavior than their peers. • A group of 50 clergy members have written a letter to the Church of England warning that allowing women to be bishops would be "a mistake." They argue that the church would see a drop in the number of men working toward priesthood, and the issue is a matter of "simple integrity." • Four members of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen were detained and charged with violating laws on public protests after they charged into a polling station and held a topless protest. The women held signs that read "Help! Rape!" and asked voters to stop "raping our democracy." • This Saturday Danica Patrick will drive for the first time in NASCAR's second-tier circuit, the Nationwide Series. "I'm not ready for my first Daytona Speedweeks to end just yet," she said in a statement. • According to a recent poll, 75% of Americans are either very or somewhat angry with the "current policies of the federal government." 60% said they thought that neither Republican nor Democratic leaders had a good idea of what is needed. • "There is very, very little information about what the war has meant for women. The whole idea that we liberated Iraq and now Iraqi women are free is very popular, but there is very little understanding of how much freedom - not political freedom, but social freedom - they had under Saddam and how much they had to sacrifice as result of the war," explains Anna Badkhen as part of a series on the plight of women in Iraq. The full video is available here. • There is not a lot known about the troubles faced by female veterans, but the growing number of women coming home from war makes it all the more important that the traditionally male-oriented VA start including more services designed for women. Preliminary statistics show that women are experiencing higher rates of physical and emotional problems than their male counterparts, not to mention female vets have a much higher divorce rate. •