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Kentucky pair earns title of world's oldest married couple
The Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. A couple who said "I do" 83 years ago have been officially recognized as the world's oldest living married couple.

William and Claudia Lillian Ritchie, who got married on April 12, 1919 in Jeffersonville, Ind., received a certificate from Guinness World Records on Tuesday.

"I wanted to take care of her, that was the biggest part of it," Bill Ritchie said.

The Ritchies raised four children, two of whom have died. They have nine grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and 18 great-great-grandchildren.

While Lil Ritchie's memory is faltering and Bill Ritchie has difficulty hearing, both were made aware of the record, said daughter Jewell Wagoner, 75.

Wagoner and her sister Helen Pennington, 77, said it has become difficult to care for their parents and decided last week to place them in a nursing home.

Lil Ritchie, 98, moved in Thursday. Bill Ritchie, 104, had refused to go but asked to join his wife a few days later.

"They had never been separated before in 83 years of marriage," Wagoner said.

Wagoner began trying to obtain the record recognition from Guinness after an article about her parent's anniversary appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

"Someone said they might even be the oldest couple," she said.

The Ritchies received 579 cards congratulating them on their anniversary this year.


Judge rejects inmate's bid for state-paid sex-change operation
The Associated Press

BOSTON A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a bid by a male inmate to force the state to pay for a sex change operation and hormone therapy that would allow him to live as a woman.

However, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf did order the state to get a medical evaluation and recommendation for appropriate treatment for Michelle Kosilek, who legally changed his name from Robert Kosilek.

Kosilek, who was convicted in 1993 of strangling his wife, claimed he was being denied adequate medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. His lawsuit against the Department of Correction was heard in a non-jury trial in February.

Wolf ruled that although Kosilek had proven he has a serious medical condition gender identity disorder which has not been adequately treated, he had not proven that correction Commissioner Michael Maloney had been "deliberately indifferent."

The judge ordered Maloney to allow medical professionals to recommend treatment for Kosilek, including, at a minimum, psychotherapy. If therapy does not appear to alleviate Kosilek's depression, Maloney should also consider allowing Kosilek to receive female hormones, he said.

Kosilek said he began asking the correction department for treatment in 1990, after his arrest for the killing of his 36-year-old wife, Cheryl, whose body was left in a car parked at a mall in North Attleboro. He was convicted in 1993.

Kosilek was not in court Wednesday. His lawyer, Fran Cohen, had no immediate comment.

A spokesman for the correction department, Justin Latini, said officials had not yet had a chance to thoroughly review the ruling.

"We're pleased that the judgment is we did not violate the Eight Amendment," Latini said.


Annual tomato fight attracts record crowd to Spanish town
The Associated Press

BUNOL, Spain Tens of thousands of people stripped off their shirts and hurled tons of ripe, juicy tomatoes at each other in the annual Tomatina food fight, creating knee-deep rivers of tomato sauce on the streets of this Spanish town.

The festival, which has its roots in a food fight between childhood friends, is gaining in popularity. Wednesday's crowd numbered around 38,000 more than four times the population of Bunol and 8,000 more than last year, Spanish news agency Efe reported.

At noon, municipal trucks hauled in 132 tons of plum tomatoes and dropped them at the feet of the crowds in the main square of Bunol, a town 190 miles southeast of Madrid.

Within seconds, the square was covered in a sheen of red slime and clouds of tomato-colored mist as people threw, tossed, pitched and aimed the vegetables at everyone and everything.

The participants, including many women, had ripped off their shirts and many wore goggles to keep the tomatoes from stinging their eyes.

At 1 p.m., a rocket fired from the balcony signaled the end and Bunol residents uncoiled garden hoses to spray down the tomato tossers and the rest of the town.

The event has become something of a calling card for Bunol. The Tomatina, held the last Wednesday in August, is said to be the world's largest tomato fight.

Councilwoman Maria Isabel Ferrer told Efe that the Tomatina is building a following because "it unleashes a savage burst of adrenaline that allows all of us to feel a bit like kids."

Local legend claims the event began in the 1940s after a group of youngsters waged a food fight on the town square. They met again the next year and pelted each other and passers-by, starting the tradition.

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