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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

News Quirks

Roland Sweet
Published Thursday August 7, 05:08 pm
Die all you want; you’re still not boarding planes, terrorists

Photo Credit: Illustration by Myron Campbell

The United States government is authorized to list people on its no-fly list of “known or suspected terrorists” even after they’re known to be dead, according to a leaked document from the National Counterterrorism Center. There only has to be a “reasonable suspicion” that someone else is using their identity. (Washington, D.C.’s The Hill)


Lucky Winners

The four World Cup teams that banned their players from having sex during the tournament — Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile and Mexico — all made early exits from the competition, according to the news outlet Quartz. Players on champion Germany’s team were allowed to have sex. Restrictions varied from team to team. Brazil allowed players to have sex but no “acrobatics,” for example, while Costa Rica said players could have sex but “not all night.” (The Moscow Times)


Blowing Smoke

U.S. conservatives are customizing their pickup trucks to spew black smoke into the air to protest environmentalists and Obama-administration emissions regulations. The diesel trucks, called “coal rollers,” are modified with chimney exhaust stacks and equipment that can force extra fuel into the engine, causing black smoke to pour out. Popular targets of the choking exhaust are drivers of hybrids and Japanese-made cars. “The feeling around here is that everyone who drives a small car is a liberal,” a coal roller named Ryan told the online news website Vocativ, which reported that Facebook pages dedicated to rolling coal had 16,000 followers as of July 1. (Business Insider)


Dead Or Alive

When the wife and son of one of India’s wealthiest Hindu spiritual leaders reported that he died from a heart attack, his followers refused to let the family take his body for cremation because they insist that he’s still alive. According to the disciples of His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj, the founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan religious order is “in deep meditative state.” They are storing his body in a deep freezer in a guarded room to preserve it until he decides to awaken. His son, Dilip Jha, 40, claims that his father’s followers are keeping the body to retain control of his fortune, estimated at 100 million pounds. Local government officials in Punjab state called the dispute a spiritual matter and said that the guru’s followers cannot be forced to believe he is dead. (Britain’s Daily Telegraph)


Saving Typeface

After a middle-school student’s science fair project showed that his Pittsburgh-area school district could save $21,000 a year by switching to Garamond typeface for its printed documents, Suvir Mirchandani, 14, took his experiment a step further and concluded that the U.S. government could save $136 million a year by using the thinner font. “Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume,” said Mirchandani. Gary Somerset of the Government Printing Office called Mirchandani’s research “remarkable” but wouldn’t say whether the GPO might consider changing fonts. (CNN)


God, Guns And Gambling

The Ignite Church in Joplin, Missouri, encouraged attendance at its Father’s Day service by raffling off two AR-15 rifles. To attract males age 18 to 35 — “the biggest black hole in our society,” pastor Heath Mooneyham said — Sunday services start later than many other churches and feature loud rock music. “We’re just dudes,” said Mooneyham, who sports tattoos and a short Mohawk, noting that churchgoers got excited about the firearms raffle “because that speaks our language.” (The Joplin Globe)


No Avengers, Please

Officials want to limit the number of costumed characters in New York’s Times Square. “In the last 10 days alone, we’ve seen two Statues of Liberty arrested, a Spider-Man convicted of harassing a tourist, and now a third character arrested for groping a woman in Times Square,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, a coalition of government officials and local business owners. Tompkins doesn’t seek a complete ban, just a licensing system involving background checks. “Quirky in Times Square is okay,” he explained. “Creepy is not.” (New York’s WCBS-TV)


Lactation Follies

Hoping to encourage more mothers to breast-feed, health officials in Mexico City launched a campaign that featured posters showing topless actresses and the slogan, “Don’t turn your back on them … Give them your breast.” Women’s groups and health advocates promptly objected. “It’s not only a very terrible campaign in terms of how it looks, but it’s also the message that if you don’t breastfeed, you are a bad mother,” said Regina Tames of the reproductive rights group GIRE. After removing the pictures of the topless actresses from the city’s website, Mexico City’s health director said the campaign would focus on opening 92 lactation rooms and two milk banks. (NPR)


String ‘Em Up

Lawmakers in Mississauga, Ontario, voted to limit the height of clotheslines to three metres. The new bylaw stems from a complaint by Steve and Joanne DeVoe, who offered “hundreds” of photos of more than 15 clotheslines on a neighbouring property, some “at heights exceeding 20 ft.” The couple’s objections began five years ago, after they knocked down their existing house and built a bigger one with a view into their neighbours’ yards. (The Toronto Star)


The Wheels On The Bus Go “Shhh”

Riders in Winnipeg, Manitoba, who play a musical instrument, sing or offer a live musical performance on a city bus risk a $100 fine, according to a new transit bylaw approved by the city’s executive policy committee. (CBC)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet

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