Pro-nationalism English Defence League activists seemed to be itching for a street brawl to break up a scheduled anti-nationalist demonstration in downtown Birmingham, England, on July 18, causing the city to mobilize more than 1,000 police — when officials arrived at a solution. Police shepherded “hundreds” of rowdy EDL operatives into the popular Bar Risa pub at 11 a.m., confining them for three hours, until the anti-EDL rally had dissipated. (Given British habits, many EDLers decided to enjoy their confinement with a brew.) As a result, police reported only sporadic street scuffling. (Bar Risa, perturbed by police pressure to host alleged “fascists,” donated its profits to the Midlands Air Ambulance service.)
For “beach season” in Qingdao, China, recently, middle-aged ladies returned to the shore of the Yellow Sea sporting their relatively revealing (though age-appropriate) bathing suits — but wearing distinctive cloth hoods with tiny holes only for the eyes, nose and mouth. To many in China, dark skin still signals laborers and fair skin the indoor “leisure” class, according to a July report on the business website Quartz.
Because Zimbabwe is reputedly among the world’s most corrupt countries, bribery is normal and makes the news only when innovators go above and beyond. The anti-poverty organization Transparency International reported in July that one hospital in Harare had recently been imposing a $5 charge on mothers each time they screamed during childbirth (in addition to the $50 delivery fee). Furthermore, it has long been rumored that hospitals in Zimbabwe (and other countries) may detain mothers and their children at the hospital if they cannot pay the fees. (Transparency International reported several days later, after finally obtaining a meeting with a government official, that the per-scream charge will be lifted.)
Satan was thrust into the recent Texas legislature debate with pro-choicers shouting, “Hail, Satan!” at the right-to-life faction. However, whom Satan had endorsed was not clear. A British organization called UK Church of Satan appeared to criticize the pro-choicers (according to Twitter comments) while the New York-based Church of Satan insists on a woman’s right to choose, said its High Priest Peter Gilmore — although he acknowledged that shouting “Hail, Satan” to anti-abortion activists was “ludicrous and meaningless.”
Megachurch bishop Ira V. Hilliard told his Sugarland, Texas, congregation (New Light Christian Center) in June that one of his two private aircraft — a helicopter valued at about $1 million — needs new blades, but rather than pay it himself, he asked parishioners to each find it in their hearts to send him $52 “favor seeds” for the blades. (His ministry also owns a $2 million Hawker jet and a $3 million hangar.) To sweeten the deal, he virtually promised that a donor’s gift would be met by a “breakthrough favor” from God.
A 24-year-old man accidentally shot a teenage boy in the leg at a home in Santa Fe, Texas, in front of the boy’s mother, whose first reaction was to look up “gunshot” on WebMD — and then not to take her son to Mainland Medical Center until seven hours later. Deborah Tagle was charged, along with the shooter. for injury to a child. (2) Carole Longhorn, 66, struck a metal object in her garden in Norfolk, England, in June, and, though it looked like a projectile-bomb, she said she decided to take it inside and wash it off in the sink before calling police (who later detonated the World War II-era munition in a controlled explosion). (Said her husband later: “You can imagine what I said to her.”)