QUIRKY WORLD ... Egyptians don’t like cleric’s Facebook prayer

EGYPT: Egyptians in a Nile Delta province were left outraged after a cleric allegedly changed a line in the traditional Islamic call to prayer to mention Facebook.

Instead of saying “prayer is better than sleep” twice during the dawn prayer, Sheikh Mahmoud Maghazi of Beheira province allegedly said: “Prayer is better than Facebook.”

The issue drew nationwide attention when he defended himself against shouted accusations on one of Egypt’s most-watched television talk shows, called 10 PM.

Talk-show hosts play a major role in leading public opinion in Egypt, where a quarter of the population is illiterate.

The religious endowments ministry ordered an investigation after locals complained, according to senior ministry official Mohamed Abdelrazik. That prompted Maghazi to go on hunger strike and deny that he made the reference.

“I don’t know what Facebook is and I don’t know how it is spelt,” he swore to the silver-haired host, Wael el-Ibrashy.

Maghazi went on to charge his accusers with being members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. He said they were trying to remove him from the mosque because he would not allow them to hold protests and organize unlicensed Islamic lessons there.

Marina menaces

USA:

Police in Connecticut have charged two people they say broke into a boat at a marina to enjoy a fast food meal and take some selfies while a family of five slept on board.

Police said the family was awoken at about 2am on Sunday by the flash from a camera. One family member confronted the intruders, and they ran away.

Police found a receipt inside a bag of still warm fast food and used the receipt to track down 20-year-old Julia Armijo, of Weston, and 23-year-old Renny Isaac, of Ridgefield.

They face charges including breach of peace and criminal trespass. Armijo told police neither she nor Isaac had ever been on a boat and only wanted to take some pictures.

Maiden vinyl sales

ENGLAND:

Tesco is to tap into the rapidly growing vinyl music market this week when it sells the new album by British rock group Iron Maiden.

Their first studio offering in five years, The Book Of Souls, will be released on Friday, with the triple LP format going on sale in 55 of the chain’s largest Tesco Extra stores.

It is believed it will be the first time Tesco has sold vinyl albums, as CDs were mainstream when supermarkets started selling music in the 1990s. In the last few years the vinyl album revival has been gaining momentum, with sales up by more than 50% in 2014.

Cyclists go free and easy

USA:

Thousands of cyclists in various stages of undress have pedalled their way around Philadelphia to promote fuel conservation and positive body image.

The Philly Naked Bike Ride featured people sporting masks, underwear, body paint, glitter or nothing at all.

Debbie Kaighn, taking part for the third time, wore shoes, socks, and body paint. On her back was the message “Live free, ride nude.”

The 19km ride through the City of Brotherly Love is among many related to the World Naked Bike Ride movement and draws about 3,000 participants. Giddy crowds cheered them on while shooting photos and videos on their smartphones.

Organisers said they hope the event encourages people to cycle more and to embrace nudity as a normal and enjoyable part of life.

Resistance is futile

JAPAN:

The Hotel Okura, a favoured Tokyo lodging for US presidents, film stars, and other celebrities, is closing the doors of its landmark half-century-old main building to make way for a pair of glass towers ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

The revamp raised an outcry from those who love the Okura’s unique melange of modernism and traditional Japanese aesthetics. But social media campaigns, petitions, and other efforts to “Save the Okura” just underlined the futility of resisting Tokyo’s floodtide of pre-Olympics urban renewal.

Other landmarks, such as the decades-old fish market in Tsukiji and the National Stadium are also being replaced despite the protests of many sad to see them go.

Budget lottery

USA:

Big-time Illinois Lottery winners aren’t getting the largesse. They’re getting left out.

Without a state budget agreement two months into the new fiscal year, there’s no authority for the state comptroller to cut cheques over $25,000 (€22,300). That means smaller winnings can be paid out, but not the larger lottery wins.

Susan Rick, who lives in Oglesby, Illinois, planned home fix-ups and a visit to her daughter after her boyfriend won $250,000 last month. But they were told to wait. Rick said if the situation were reversed, the state would “come take it, and they don’t care whether we have a roof over our head”.

Lottery spokesman Steve Rossi says state lottery, like every other state agency , is “affected by the budget situation”.


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