Odd News Roundup
September 25, 2013 09:00 AM | 598 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Austria: Catholic church fined for phone texting

VIENNA (AP) — Austria's Roman Catholic church has learned its lesson. Mass is OK. Mass texting is not.

A diocese in the southern city of Graz says it has been found guilty of contravening Austria's telecommunications law by sending mass texts to the cellphones of followers asking them to pay overdue membership fees.

Members of recognized religions in Austria must pay so-called "church taxes" or opt out of membership. For a Catholic, non-payment would mean no right to church sacraments.

Diocese official Hertha Ferk was quoted by the Der Standard newspaper on Tuesday as saying the diocese has agreed to pay a fine that is under 10,000 euros ($13,475).

A court took up the case after complaints from some of the 17,000 church members in arrears who received the text last year.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Welsh village's proposed name change raises stink 

LONDON (AP) — A proposed name change is raising a stink in one British village.

Welsh-language campaigners say Varteg, in south Wales, should be rebranded with a more authentic Welsh spelling — Y Farteg.

The Welsh language has no letter v, though the sound is made by the letter f. Varteg is an anglicization of the original Welsh name.

Some residents fear the change will make their town the target of ridicule.

Villager Sioned Jones told Wales Online, "Just imagine how embarrassing it will be to have the word 'fart' in your village's name, never mind being followed by egg."

Another resident, Ray Leyshon, called the proposal "a bad joke."

The local government said Tuesday that the Welsh Language Commissioner had proposed the name change but that residents would be consulted first.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Bear obeys bartender's command, leaves Juneau bar 

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — If only all unwelcome bar guests were this obliging.

A black bear walked into the bar at the Alaskan Hotel in downtown Juneau on Monday night.

Bartender Ariel Svetlik-McCarthy says she freaked out and yelled, "No bear! Get out! No! You can't be in here!"

The bear complied, leaving the bar within seconds.

State biologist Ryan Scott says it's rare for black bears to go inside Juneau businesses, but they have wandered inside homes before.

He tells KTOO the staff did a great job, and it was good news the bear left.

State wildlife officials have killed two nuisance bears in Juneau this summer.

Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Pittsburgh-area kindergarten has 10 sets of twins 

ALLISON PARK, Pa. (AP) — A Pittsburgh-area elementary school has a novel way to acclimate its kindergartners to the school experience — but it's not a technique that can be easily shared with other schools.

It's the fact that Burchfield Elementary School's brand-new kindergarten class has 10 sets of twins. That means 20 out of 100 pupils in the Allison Park school's kindergarten program started the year with at least one close friend.

Principal Jeff Rojik tells KDKA-TV that kindergartners are often nervous about starting school but says, so far, with so many twins "it's a nice transition."

Sally Engel says it's nice to have her brother, Cy, in the same class, saying, "Whenever you want someone to play with and you don't have anybody else, you've got somebody in your family — you have a twin."

Information from: KDKA-TV, http://www.kdka.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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