Pretoria, South Africa (AP) – Preparations for Nelson Mandela’s funeral next week have reached a fever pitch, with myriad world leaders and public figures scheduled to attend. But several prominent heads of state will be noticeably absent, and their expected lack of attendance has raised eyebrows.
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom accepted her physician’s recommendation not to travel. The 87-year-old monarch has taken an increasingly private role in British public affairs as she ages. It was unclear Sunday whether her son Charles, the Prince of Wales and first in line for the throne, would attend in her stead.
The exiled leader of Tibet , the Dalai Lama, also announced that he would not travel to South Africa for the occasion, refraining from participating in the funeral as a show of protest at having been denied a visa to visit the country on two occasions. The Dalai Read the rest of this entry »
Jerusalem (AP) – The Almighty convened a press conference this afternoon to admit that He created celery in a fit of silliness, but found that the way humans treated it as food was so entertaining that only when the joke got old could He bring Himself to reveal it.
Initially the family of celery plants were relegated to the countryside with myriad other rejects from the Lord’s experimental phase; many such species died out eons before humans developed. But as early as the second millennium BCE, humans were already treating celery – at least celery seeds – as either medicine or as food, and God was so tickled He decided to see how long people would keep falling for it. Read the rest of this entry »
'Hanukkah is over,' they say.
North Miami Beach, FL (AP) - With the eight-day festival of Hanukkah concluded this past Sunday evening, Jews are puzzled by other people's continued anticipation of a holiday, apparently some time next week.
"I like a never-ending celebration as much as the next guy, but it's over, you know?" says Coral Gables resident Michelle Borofsky, 45.
Los Angeles (AP) – Scientists who study avian physiology and behavior have criticized Prince’s 1984 single When Doves Cry, accusing the singer/songwriter of sowing ignorance – or, more likely, betraying it.
Noting that pigeons do not even have tear ducts, ornithologist Dror Adler of the University of California at Los Angeles and several other UCLA researchers castigated Prince, whose number-one single, the lead track from the album Purple Rain, for spreading inaccurate information about birds in general and doves in particular. “Even if doves could cry, which any fool knows they can’t, they certainly wouldn’t sound like the garbage-pail-worthy lyrics Prince seems to think they would express,” wrote Adler in an article for the journal Ornithology Today. Nor would it resemble the instrumental portions of the song, which Adler likened to the results of a Read the rest of this entry »
Topeka, Kansas (AP) – In keeping with its tradition of seeing the influence of homosexuality everywhere, the Westboro Baptist Church began picketing its own establishment today, holding a protest to call attention to what it calls the “pernicious fags who run this institution.”
WBC founder and pastor Fred Phelps led a group of approximately 30 church members in the protest, most of whom held aloft placards in the familiar Westboro style: “GOD HATES WBC” “GOD LOVES YOUR ENEMIES” and “WBC FAGS OUT”. It was a rare appearance of the 84-year-old Phelps, whose age has increasingly sidelined him in church activities and administration, and a sign of the seriousness with which the WBC Read the rest of this entry »
Paris, France (Reuters) – A government-commissioned analysis of the late Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat’s remains has concluded that he did not die of poisoning, as some Palestinians had charged, but by natural causes. Arafat died in 2004 and no autopsy was conducted at the time. The report also noted that Francisco Franco, who took power in Spain in the 1930′s and held office for four decades, is still deceased, and that the Earth continues to make its way around the sun each year.
A resurgence of the poisoning allegations led to Arafat’s exhumation and testing of his remains and personal effects. A Swiss team found evidence consistent with poisoning by polonium-210, a radioactive substance, while a Russian report, soon retracted, found no such evidence. Arafat died in a French military hospital after suffering bouts of intestinal distress. Franco has not come back to life in the meantime, and, perhaps more surprisingly, the sun continues to function as the star around which the Earth moves. Read the rest of this entry »
New York (AP) – Retailers are warning that a serious backlog of orders for lords-a-leaping and other high-demand Christmas goods is threatening the robustness of a crucial shopping season and caused a series of near-stampedes as dozens of would-be consumers rushed to retail outlets to obtain the coveted gift items. Several online merchants also reported server volume trouble that caused at least three major sites to crash.
Major brick-and-mortar retailers and online merchants began noticing early Friday that they were having trouble fulfilling orders for the perennial gift item, with some stores, such as Macy’s and Wal-Mart, placing placards at their entrances to inform customers of Read the rest of this entry »