Roundup: Self magazine Photoshops fitness

Plus: Women, they're good for business, according to a new study.

Published October 5, 2007 11:35PM (EDT)

Stay-at-home mom by day, firefighter by night. A dangerous bush-fire season approaches in Australia, so fire chiefs are desperately looking for additional volunteer firefighters. It just so happens that women are convenient fill-ins since they "are often available at times when other people are at work," says Barbara Lewis, recruitment director of Victoria's Country Fire Authority.

Swazi widows seek permission to leave mourning hut after five years. In Swazi culture, widows are supposed to remain in a mourning hut until their husband's body is buried. The BBC reports that a "chieftaincy dispute" has prevented relatives from burying Mzikayise Ntshangase -- so his two wives have spent the past five years in culturally commanded mourning. A local court hasn't been able to settle the burial dispute, so it's going to the Supreme Court of Appeal. (Thanks for the reader tip!)

Court says: Pump away! Harvard student Sophie Currier, 33, has won her fight to have extra time during her upcoming nine-hour medical licensing exam to pump breast milk for her 5-month-old daughter. She sued the National Board of Medical Examiners for refusing her request for extra break time and last week a Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled in her favor, granting her 60 minutes of pumping time. The board appealed the decision, but today the court ruled against overturning the decision. In solidarity, I'm pumping ... my fist.

Self magazine Photoshops meat on those bones. "We retouch to make the models look bigger, healthier," says Self's art director Petra Kobayashi. As Jennifer at Jezebel suggests: "Um, how about instead you just hire models who actually live the Self lifestyle? Athletic girls who eat?"

Gender equality, it's good for business. A reader just tipped us off to something we missed earlier in the week: A new study, conducted by the nonprofit research group Catalyst, suggests that firms with more female board members perform better. Over a four-year period, Fortune 500 companies with the highest percentages of female boards members "saw a return on sales that was 42 percent higher than those companies with the least number of women. Similarly, they saw a return on invested capital that was at least 66 percent higher."

Kansas' law-breaking liberals? An antiabortion coalition is petitioning for a grand jury investigation of Kansas' Planned Parenthood of Overland Park. Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, has a hunch the clinic is violating the law -- though he's failed to provide any proof. "There's too much controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood at this point," said Newman. "I think an independent grand jury can get to the bottom of it." Yeah, good luck with that!

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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