April 23, 2015
Egypt Court Sentences Belly Dancer For ‘Insulting’ Flag
Cairo (AP) An Egyptian court has sentenced a popular Armenian belly dancer to six months in prison for “insulting the Egyptian flag” after she allegedly wore a tight dress in its red, white and black color scheme.
The court in Agouza, west of Cairo, said on Monday that Sofinar Gourian, known popularly as “Safinaz,” was fined 15,000 pounds (almost $2,000) and paid another 10,000 pounds bail pending appeal. The case had been initiated by a private complaint.
Insulting the flag was made illegal by decree under Egyptian President Adly Mansour who ruled for a year after the army overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013.
Gourian, who lives in Egypt, had argued that she did not insult the flag intentionally and as a foreigner was less aware of Egyptian laws.
Handcuffed Suspect Steals Police Car; Doesn’t Get Far
Birmingham, AL (AP) A handcuffed man who stole a police car in Alabama has been arrested again.
WIAT-TV reports Birmingham officers got a call of a burglary in progress. Officers arrested the suspect Sunday and put him in handcuffs with his hands behind his back and placed him in the back of a police car. Officer Scott Thurmond says the suspect managed to get his handcuffs in front of him and drive away.
Police say the unidentified suspect drove less than a mile before ditching the vehicle. Officers were able to take him back into custody later in the day. He was still in the handcuffs.
Music Legend Nelson To Roll Out Own Brand Of Marijuana
Dallas (AP) Music legend Willie Nelson is jumping into the movement to commercialize marijuana and plans to roll out his own brand of cannabis that he intends to make ``the best on the market.’’
The singer-songwriter announced in a statement Monday that Willie’s Reserve will be grown and sold in Colorado and Washington, two states where recreational use of the drug is legal.
A release explaining Willie’s Reserve says it reflects Nelson’s appreciation for ``the many varieties and range of the plant’s qualities.’’
The release says the 81-year-old Nelson will collaborate with master growers to define standards for the strain.
Nelson is a longtime supporter of marijuana for personal use and has spoken of its benefits for hemp production.
He’s also pushed for the end of laws criminalizing use of the drug.
New England Aquarium Offering Penguins ‘Honeymoon Suites’
Boston (AP) The New England Aquarium wants its endangered African penguins to get a little steamy.
Aquarium experts are playing matchmaker behind the scenes to encourage eight pairs of African penguins to breed more chicks. Biologists say that will help a population that’s expected to be extinct in the wild by 2025 to continue to thrive in captivity. The Boston facility is giving its penguins “honeymoon suites” cozy plastic igloo-style homes and other private nooks off the main exhibit designed to get them in the mood.
Over the past 15 years, the aquarium has sent 28 birds to seven different zoos and aquariums around North America.
World Penguin Day is April 25.
Fire Crews Say Parrots In Burning House Called Out ‘Help!’
Boise, ID (AP) When firefighters arrived Friday night at a house fire just outside Middleton, Idaho, they say they heard what sounded like calls for help from inside the building.
KBOI-TV reports that once fire crews got the flames contained, they found the source of the calls: two parrots.
Firefighters say the birds were actually saying ``Help!’’ and ``Fire!’’
Fire crews got the birds out of the house and gave them oxygen. They’re expected to be OK.
No people were inside. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Middleton is west of Boise.
Missing Wedding Ring Dug Out Of Dog Doo
Sitka, AK (AP) An Alaska woman suspected her family’s dog snatched her wedding ring, but she couldn’t find proof‚ until the diamond-encrusted platinum band turned up months later at a local ball field.
Nikki Balovich lost her ring in January, when she was pregnant and often took it off her swollen finger, the Daily Sitka Sentinel newspaper reported.
The Sitka woman suspected Halli was the culprit because the 90-pound mastiff puppy often carries household items in its mouth. She spent time searching for the band, including checking Halli’s poop outside.
“I gave up, I thought it was long gone,” she said. “We take the dog everywhere with us, on hikes, on the boat what were the chances we’re going to find it?”
Balovich had no evidence of the dog’s involvement until last week, when she saw a post on a Facebook sales site about a ring being found in an “unusual place.”
Balovich had a gut feeling and contacted the poster, Bob Potrzuski.
Turns out, his wife found the ring while picking up dog poop at a local ball field. Balovich also recently volunteered at the field, and brought along Halli.
Potrzuski and his wife previously tried unsuccessfully to find the owner by putting an ad in the Sentinel. They also called police. Balovich was reunited with her ring on Thursday, her husband’s birthday.
“It’s been on my hands ever since,” she said. “My hand was feeling naked without it.”
NY Woman Tackles Pothole Problem On Her Own
Schenectady, NY (AP) An upstate New York woman has taken on the post-winter pothole problem in her hometown by filling in the eyesores with pansies. After months of severe weather left the streets of Schenectady pocked with pavement craters and city public works crews scrambling to fix them, some residents began filling in the holes themselves.
Elaine Santore decided to take it a step further by dumping dirt and pansies into potholes on two streets. She told The Daily Gazette of Schenectady that she decided to plant the flowers to make a statement about the problem and to make people smile after what she called “a horrible winter.”
Of the 10 holes she filled with flowers over three days starting Monday, Santore told The Associated Press on Friday that she believed all have now been fixed by city crews. When she drove past on her way to work, most of the holes had been patched over with blacktop, she said. “I knew something would happen to them,” she said. “Either people would take the flowers or they would be filled in.”
Santore, the director of a local not-for-profit organization that helps retirees remain in their homes, said she wanted to do something different to address her city’s annual pothole problem, one that has been particularly widespread thanks to a harsh winter. The winter was so hard on everybody and so depressing,” she said. “I wanted to do something creative to solve a problem we have every year and bring a smile to people’s faces.”