Parents

Crib notes: Cartoons to lure young jihadists? Say it isn't so...

July 25, 2011 at 7:24 PM ET

While many parents in the U.S. find seemingly tame animated movies like The Lion King, to be too scary for young kids, Al Qaeda is developing a cartoon to recruit kids to the jihadist movement, which parents themselves are finding terrifying. The movie shows shrouded men carrying out armed raids, committing assassinations and spouting extremist propaganda. In an online posting, the group stated, "This movie is a religious effort to educate our sons and youth about how to live a noble life under the shade of the Sharia." If recruiting young children through cartoons to commit murder isn't noble, then we don't know what is... An analyst at an anti-extremist think tank in London said that the move could backfire on the group, as Muslim parents will view it as an attempt to break up their families.  It makes Lots O Huggin' Bear in "Toy Story 3", look downright cuddly by comparison.

Thanks to international funds for foreskins, one South African township has seen a dramatic increase in the number of males, ages 15 to 24, who have gone under the knife. In a three-year time period, the percentage of circumcised males in the community jumped more than 30 percent. The result has been a 76 percent decrease in new HIV infections. The infection rate for uncircumcised men remained much higher than that of their pared-down peers. It is said there isn't any evidence to show that the be-snipped guys were any more likely to use condoms or otherwise alter their behavior than their fully-hooded counterparts. While it's unclear why circumcision seems to be lowering transmission rates, many other African countries are stepping up their circumcision campaigns.

Some Chinese seem to be taking the old joke, "earning her Mrs. degree," literally. Parents are spending $3,000 to enroll their daughters in a course designed to help them meet a rich husband. The program instructs young ladies in a variety of useful skills, such as proper make-up application, how to detect a lying man, and, of course, improving one's conversational skills and tea-pouring techniques. Eligible bachelors are reportedly forking over $4,500 to meet these refined, upwardly-mobile gals and the school boasts that it has made more than 30 matches resulting in marriage. Looks like matchmaking's gone mercenary in the land of Communism.

Mothers who take public transportation are advised not to brawl, ripping out other passengers' weaves, while their babies, sleeping in strollers, roll off subway cars. While this might seem common-sense to some, it must be explained to others, as has been evidenced by one New York City mom who was caught on video doing just that. While onlookers called out to her that her baby was rolling away, onto the station platform, the mom continued with her fight. Today's lesson learned -- if you're going to fight on the L train, at least remember to set the brake on your kid's stroller first.

Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. She is currently developing an alarm clock that will start an IV coffee drip 10 minutes prior to wake-up time. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at www.18years2life.com.

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