Spain: Priest who dressed up as Hugh Hefner and simulated sex with male playboy bunnies seeks forgiveness

Priest who dressed up as Hugh Hefner and simulated sex with male playboy bunnies seeks forgiveness
The priest of Cuntis, Spain raised eyebrows with his carnival costume choice.
The parish priest from the Galician town of Cuntis has apologized for his “misguided” carnival costume which saw him posing on a float as the Playboy founder along with men dressed as Playboy bunnies.

Juan Carlos Martínez, 40, provoked more than raised eyebrows when he joined the town’s carnival festivities last week and posed on a float dressed as the legendary Lothario, complete with dressing gown, captain’s cap and cigar.

At his sides were two rather delectable companions: Two men decked in black leotards over stockings and a barely-there netting skirt and topped off with bunny ears over colorful wigs. Presumably they also had white cottontails pinned to their backsides.

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The trio lounged on red satin sheets on a trailer made out to look like a bed in the Playboy mansion as they were towed through the streets of the town behind a 4X4 in the small town near Pontevedra in northwestern Spain.

At one point, “a bunny” leapt astride “Hugh” and simulated sex.

But while such costumes and high jinks are typical at carnival time, Catholic Church authorities were quick to express their dismay at such ill-advised antics.

Father Martínez was asked to attend a “spiritual retreat” to reflect on “behavior clearly inappropriate for a priest”, according to La Voz de Galicia,

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Although residents in the town of 5,000 people, appear not to be offended by the priest’s carnival display, and have spoken out to support him, the priest himself can’t stop apologizing.

“I am so sorry to those who feel offended,” said the repentant curate from the pulpit adding that he had requested an appointment with the Archbishop of Santiago to make a formal apology.

“Such things happen at carnival, it’s just a bit of fun,” one resident said in a TV report broadcast on Antena 3. “He’s a great priest and everyone loves him.”

When a senior priest came to the parish to admonish Father Martínez, he found dozens of residents had gathered outside his home to show their support.

“It’s great that he is well loved by the people he served,”  the senior priest Calixto Covo told La Voz de Galicia, adding that despite the displeasure of the Archbishop there would be no lasting consequences for Father Martínez.


India: How Twitter helped a 5-Month old get her food on time

Maharashtra Times

In a pleasant turn of events, a couple, with their five month old baby – Kartiki was travelling from Gujarat India to Tirunelveli, when the milk they bought for the infant curdled due to the heat.

Unfortunately, the trains next halt was at Ratnagiri station which was a few hours away. And to make matters more complicated, the train pantry was out of milk.

While the toddler continued to wail in hunger, a co-passenger Neha Bapat tweeted about the situation to her friends. Soon help started pouring in from Neha’s friends across Mumbai, Pune, Ratnagiri and Nashik.

One of Neha’s friends, Anagha Nikam-Makdum sprung into action and tweeted the matter to Konkan Railways. The railway officials immediately responded to the Tweet on social media and the couple was handed over a bag of milk at Kolad station.

Last month, railway had announced a new policy for its catering services which shall separate the functioning of its cooking and food distribution onboard.


Death threats and angry chefs – when restaurant reviews go wrong

Eating nice food for a living sounds great, but there are downsides: from being unmasked to finding out, after you’ve published a glowing review, that there were rodents in the kitchen. The UK’s top critics spill the beans

‘The rat droppings were exquisitely cooked’ ... CheeMc restaurant, which didn’t quite live up to Jay Rayner’s billing.

‘The rat droppings were exquisitely cooked’ … CheeMc restaurant, which didn’t quite live up to Jay Rayner’s billing. Photograph: Richard Saker for the Observer

By: Alexi Duggins/UK Guardian

Being paid to eat is a pretty good gig, but it isn’t without problems. There are restaurants that try to hoodwink you, angry chefs to contend with and, as the Observer’s Jay Rayner found out recently, always the possibility that a place you have raved about may have kitchens that are not entirely rodent-free. (A south London Korean restaurant he loved was temporarily closed after rat droppings were found among the ingredients.) We spoke to some of Britain’s top restaurant critics to find out about the trickier parts of the trade.

Restaurateurs can get very angry

Fay Maschler, Evening Standard

In the 40-odd years I have been reviewing, I’ve had a few angry reactions from restaurants – more so when I started. Back then, it was unusual to be critical, as a lot of restaurant reviews were linked to the advertisements – someone eating for free and then saying things such as: “My companion plumped for the pâté, washing it down with the eminently quaffable house wine …” So when I didn’t have to satisfy advertisers, my reviews could upset people used to the old system. There was this guy who was running a pretentious, bogus French restaurant who just couldn’t believe I would come to his restaurant and criticise anything. I had to go back with the features editor, where in an empty dining room we ate another deeply mediocre meal, this time accompanied by a string trio. I had a death threat once, a note scribbled in pencil that said: “I am going to come round and stab you.” Now so many people review restaurants that I tend to get fewer hostile responses. Tom Sellers recently wrote a public letter criticising me and my review of his restaurant Ours. I didn’t pay it much attention. I got some nice messages of solidarity from others in the business – and I wasn’t alone in not liking it. For the most part it is a lovely job being a restaurant critic. To complain would be churlish.”

The inscrutability of food hygiene

Jay Rayner, The Observer

“I have form for recommending restaurants that are then shut down for health and safety reasons. CheeMc on Walworth Road, south London, is the latest (although it has now reopened), but it’s the third time it has happened in my memory – the other two being Sichuanese places. I love those scuzzy, down-at-heel restaurants because they tend to get by on trade from a specific ethnic group, which means that their food can be very uncompromising. It’s cooking with hobnailed boots on – this is food that leaves its mark on you. But there really is no way to know what the hygiene is like in the kitchen. It’s not my job to check their health and safety, so I work on the basis that if a restaurant is trading then it’s already passed all those rules. Admittedly, health and safety is a function of price. When you pay for your expensive linguine dish at the Ivy, you’re also paying for the eight kitchen porters whose entire job is to keep the kitchens clean. When you pay buttons for fried chicken at a small establishment, you’re not. But plenty of places are fine and reports of hygiene problems in the odd one don’t make me think that I’m an idiot for ever having gone there. Personally, I think it’s worth taking a risk occasionally.”

Restaurants can be unpredictable

Tania Ballantine, Time Out

Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do as a critic. Occasionally you have restaurants who will get in fantastic chefs for the first six months, because they know that that’s the period during which all the reviews are written. We had this Greek place once that we reviewed well, but then started to get bad reports about – it turned out that they had flown in this superstar chef from Greece for a few months just to get it good reviews. Other times, the restaurant can’t help it. They will hire an ambitious, talented young chef (such as when Pidgin hired Elizabeth Allen, or Pachamama hired Adam Rawson) and, just when the place really starts to get a name for itself, that chef moves on to pursue a brighter future. You can’t blame the chefs, it’s human nature. But it’s bad news for the reader, because most professional reviews will be based on when there was a different person running the kitchen – and, as a critic, it’s frustrating because you just couldn’t have foreseen that happening.

Maintaining your cover can be tricky

Marina O’Loughlin, Guardian Weekend

“I’ve got a radar now as to the rare occasions that I think I’ve been clocked. But not always: I met a famous restaurateur while out on the lash. My way more famous restaurant critic friend introduced me as Maureen from Glasgow then staggered off to the loo, leaving me alone with the restaurateur. At first I sat in horrified silence: of course, I knew who he was. Eventually, drink got the better of me and I confessed: “R, it’s me – Marina.” He looked at me, amused, and said: “I know.” Obviously, I blame the drink. Another time, a well-known chef was in the same restaurant as me and approached my table with a triumphant: “Hello, Marina!” But it was, bizarrely, addressed to my pal. I’ve no idea how or why this happened.

Restaurant staff aren’t always kind to critics

Tim Hayward, Financial Times

Restaurants have pictures of well-known critics on the back of their kitchen doors so that the staff know who to watch out for. When I first started reviewing restaurants, no one knew who I was. I just wasn’t a big enough name to have my photograph up there yet. Then one day I got a phonecall from a friend, who had been scouting for locations for a TV programme, saying: “I’ve just seen seen your face on the back of a kitchen door.” My reaction was: “Yes! That’s fantastic! I”ve arrived!” I was very happy about it. Then she said: “Yes, but underneath it says, ‘He looks like a fat, bald Corbyn.’”

Strange but true: North Korea owes Sweden millions for Volvos from the 1970s

Strange but true: North Korea owes Sweden millions for Volvos from the 1970s
Pyongyang still owes Sweden a lot of money. Photo: Wong Maye-E/AP
By: Lee Rodan/The Local
You’re not going to believe this one…

Odd stories and Sweden are no strangers, but the tale of how North Korea owes the Scandinavian nation millions in unpaid bills for items including a thousand Volvos from the 1970s is definitely one of the weirdest of all.

The story goes that back in the mid-1970s the Swedish government saw the potential to trade with North Korea, and companies like Sandvik, SKF and car giant Volvo were encouraged to court it as a new export market, off the back of the Asian country’s economic strength in the 1960s.

Volvo received an order for 1,000 of its 144 model and promptly started shipping the cars out to North Korea in 1974. But it very quickly became apparent that Pyongyang was not paying for the goods that had been shipped.

In fact, they never did, and the debts have stood ever since. Adjusted for inflation, they now amount to the equivalent of millions of dollars.

The Local thought the story (which was recently flagged up by SVT’s På Spåret show) had to be an urban myth, but Sweden’s National Export Credits Guarantee Board (EKN) has confirmed that it’s 100 percent true.

The authority, which promotes Swedish exports by insuring export credits, are now the ones owed the money.

“It’s true, it’s still the case. The debt now amounts to just over 2.719 billion Swedish kronor ($302 million),” Carina Kampe from EKN told The Local.

“At the time EKN insured the companies’ export credit, and when North Korea didn’t pay, EKN had to pay out to the export companies under the credit insurance. So after that, EKN took over the claim, and with the passing of the years the debt as grown,” she added.

Even though it looks unlikely that Kim Jong-un will cough up the cash any time soon, as a formality EKN still has to ask for the bill to be paid every year, as it does with all debts on its books.

“How it works is we have this claim, and like all claims we have, it’s on EKN’s books, so we continue to ask for it to be paid,” Kampe noted.

“People have even claimed to have seen the cars driving in North Korea nowadays, even though the last ones were sent in the 1970s. That’s why they’re still getting publicity.”

Black Muslims Face Double Jeopardy, Anxiety In The Heartland

In the United States, black Muslims have to balance multiple identities.

Erik McGregor/Getty Images


By : Akinyi Ochieng/NPR

Black parents across America have long instructed their children on navigating discrimination and avoiding its sometimes deadly consequences. But for black immigrant Muslims, this conversation takes on an entirely different dimension.

Growing up, Ahlaam Ibraahim, a Somali-American student at the University of Washington, felt the dual struggles of being a religious and ethnic minority. “As a black woman, I’m scared of the police because I see people that look like me killed simply for being black. As a Muslim woman, I’m scared of being attacked and killed,” Ibraahim says. “Do they notice I’m a Muslim because of my hijab and my blackness because of my melanin?”

The intersection of these two identities has become more acute thanks to Black Lives Matter and protests against the Trump administration’s executive order on immigration.

A recent survey by Pew Research showed that almost 6 in 10 Americans believe Muslims face “a lot” of discrimination. Another Pew study found that while races differ in their perceptions of how anti-black discrimination affects achievement, nearly a third of white Americans believe blacks have a harder time getting ahead compared to 70 percent of black Americans.

According to Hind Makki, a Sudanese-American interfaith and anti-racism educator, these concerns are common among many Muslim American youth, especially those of African descent. “A lot of black Muslims from immigrant backgrounds live at the intersection of Islamophobia and anti-black racism, which affects how they see America and how they raise their kids.”

From Malcolm X to Muhammad Ali, America’s most famous Muslims are indisputably black. Yet the visibility of the nation’s native and immigrant Muslim populations have been erased due to the heightened fears of terrorism post-9/11. Since the attacks, Muslims of Arab descent, especially men with turbans or women with hijabs, have borne the brunt of anti-Muslim rhetoric.

“I think if I wore taqiyah [an Islamic prayer cap] on my head or if my beard were grown out, I’d probably receive more discrimination than I do now,” says Amir Mohammed, a Sudanese-American rapper better known by his stage name Oddisee. “I can’t escape or hide my color, so I’m stereotyped based on being a black person in America. Because I’m not Middle Eastern, it’s only after they find out that I’m Muslim that I’ll also encounter the Islamophobia.”

Amir Mohamed el Khalifa (Oddisee) performs onstage at the Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre on May 30, 2016 in George, Washington.

Suzi Pratt/Getty Images


The face of American Islam is changing, and while some black Muslims might welcome greater visibility for their religious identity, embracing their religion and immigrant heritage may come with a cost.

President Trump’s executive order created panic among Muslims from seven majority-Muslim countries. For Somali- and Sudanese-Americans, who come from two of the three African countries on the list, anxiety may be particularly acute. These communities are primarily based in Midwestern cities that have already been subject to heightened scrutiny from the Trump administration over claims of extremism and violence.

Minneapolis has the largest Somali-American population in the country while Chicago boasts a large Sudanese-American community. Despite their rapidly rising immigrant populations, both cities remain highly segregated and have been national focal points in high-profile cases of police brutality and institutionalized discrimination. In March 2015, Hazma Jeylani, a 17-year-old Somali-American, was stopped under suspicion of stealing a car. In the smartphone video capturing the arrest, a Minneapolis police officer threatened to break the teenager’s leg. In 2002, the city’s Somali community was outraged following the police shooting of Abu Kassim Jeilani, a mentally ill Somali man.

President Trump has been outspoken in his views on both cities. Last November, Trump visited Minneapolis and said some Somali migrants there, “[are] joining Isis and spreading their extremist views all over our country and all over the world.” Such statements from the nation’s highest office raised alarm bells for black immigrant Muslims, for whom problems with urban policing are married to increased scrutiny of immigrants.

The realities of being black in America leave immigrants with no doubt about their identity in America. “I think that when many of the older generation come here, they realize that if they don’t identify as black, America will do it for you,” says Oddisee. “When my father moved to Prince George’s County, a predominantly black area, when my neighbors looked out the window, they saw a black family.” Somalia and Sudan have a complicated relationship with race on the fault line of racial consciousness because they straddle the border between Arab and black Africa.

For Hind Makki, the slow acknowledgement of blackness within older generations has lead to an active embrace of African-American identity among her peers. “I’ve witnessed a shift of feeling and claiming blackness as a cultural, political, and religious identity, and a shift away from the Middle Eastern/Arab identity.”

With nearly a third of American Muslims identifying as African-American, calls for intersectionality are gaining traction. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has openly supported Black Lives Matter while leading black commentators like Shaun King and Van Jones have been outspoken in their calls for solidarity with Muslims affected by the rise in hate crimes and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Magari Aziza Hill, an African-American Muslim and Co-Director of Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, says the experiences of black immigrant Muslims are often erased. “Since most black American Muslims are African-American, there’s a tendency to render African Muslims invisible. Discussions of anti-blackness within immigrant Muslim communities often erase the experience of African immigrant communities. I’ve certainly been guilty of that and have been trying, especially given recent events, to shed more light on those stories.”

In Minnesota, the local CAIR chapter has experienced a marked increase in its caseload. According to Jaylani Hussein, the executive director, the abrupt rollout of the immigration ban fueled distress and paranoia that heightened pre-existing fears among many Muslims. “Traditional African-Americans are already greatly concerned about their rights and dealing with law enforcement, particularly local police. But immigrant black Muslims also have to deal with the Department of Homeland Security and FBI,” says Hussein. “That exacerbates perceived notions of what law enforcement is, particularly for many that come from police states where law enforcement can detain people for no reason.”

Daad Sharfi, a Sudanese-American student at Yale University, lives in Albany Park, one of Chicago’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods. Although her immediate family was naturalized during the Obama years, many members of her extended network are permanent residents or visa holders vulnerable to the consequences of the administration’s executive order. “I am an immigrant and I have always been surrounded by immigrants and asylum seekers, so this attack on migration was personally very disheartening as it jeopardized my community and the entire system through which my family was able to enter the U.S.,” she says.

After the Ninth Circuit Court refused to uphold the administration’s immigration ban, the future for black Muslims of immigrant descent remains uncertain as the Trump administration issues a revised executive order. However, individuals like Sharfi and organizations like CAIR are gearing up for a fight. On her part, Sharfi plans to pursue a career in immigration law following her graduation from Yale in May. Mohamed says CAIR will continue to engage in civic education and policy advocacy, leaning on powerful advocates including Rep. Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American legislator in the United States and Rep. Keith Ellison, who represents Minnesota’s 5th district, which includes Minneapolis.

They know where your BUTT is (Really!)

A Japanese telecom firm announced the creation of an app to help workers find available bathroom stalls — and to tell employers if they spend too much time in there.

KDDI said the app, which will be available to businesses in March, will tell workers in participating buildings where they can find the nearest available bathroom stall.

“People often waste time by looking around for an available toilet on various floors or by waiting until one becomes available,” KDDI spokesman Daisuke Maruo told The Japan Times. “We believe this service will help people waste less time.”

The app uses sensors installed on the stall doors to determine whether they are occupied or available for use.

The sensors also notify an administrator if a toilet stall is occupied for more than 30 minutes, a service the company says is designed to notify bosses of potential accidents in the bathrooms, but could also be used to bust employees using the bathroom to avoid work — a 2012 survey indicated 30 percent of middle-aged businessmen in Japan use bathroom stalls to take naps at work.

“Even though people sometimes complain that the number of bathrooms in a building are not enough, it is often hard for facility administrators to increase the numbers,” Maruo said. “We believe this solution will help solve the problem by streamlining how bathrooms are used.”

The company said the service will be made available in office buildings next month, but could eventually be used at locations with high bathroom traffic, such as sports stadiums, train stations, and shopping malls.


45 Sadness

He is my president, the 45th president of the United States of America.  Like many Americans I  hoped for the best and told myself I would to give him a chance.

That was January 20th

As of the February 19, I am mortified, embarrassed and sad.

Doing a reality check I asked myself, am I a sore loser, am I angry?

Disappointed yes, its one of many disappointments I’ve experienced when the best man lost.    When 43( George W) won I was dissapointed. There weren’t statements or questions in his character that led me to believe he might damage the country.

In less than 30 days, 45 has manage to damage our image. He has managed to bring the stability of the United States into question.   He has insulted our allies and caused most of us to be on constant alert. What will he do or say today?

Despite all the alternative facts, I’m not in shock.  President 45 and Candidate Trump are the same person.   I’ve never been at odds with his supporters, in fact I understand why they supported him.  While his candidacy has  awakened a racist element ,I don’t subscribe to the notion that all of his supporters are racists.  However since the election, some of my Indian, Mexican and Iranian friends have been attacked, some physically.  The citizenship of anyone with an accent is now questioned.

I find it difficult to respond, whenever one of my international friends ask why-how was he elected?  I lay of lot of the blame on my candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the other candidates,Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Bernie Sanders, Lindsey Graham, Martin O’Malley,Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rick Perry and Jeb Bush.     Not one of these candidates stepped forward the day or the after he made that racist statement about Mexicans.   No one said this isn’t acceptable, he is wrong and doesn’t represent my  America!  Jeb Bush who’s wife is Mexican, their  children have relatives in Mexico was uncomfortably silent.   We have seen the careers of sportscasters and other notable individuals end, after making racists comments.  One wonders how successful he would have been if one or more of the candidates immediately spoke out against him.

The root of my sadness comes from the news.  Rarely a day passes without a  an international misstep by 45 or someone in his administration which is later blamed on the evil media. It also comes from Social Media.

There is an upside…..

People are awake!  There are daily demonstrations all over the country.   The Women’s march gave me hope.  I participated in the Muslim demonstration at Sacramento International.   One demonstration I wont participate in is “45 isnt my President”  With so many demonstrations I worry that they will eventually lose their impact.

To counter my sadness, I limit the time I spend of social media and watching the news. With so many people in shock, one thing is missing is humor. SNL has been a god send for me, through the writers I can exhale.

I’m gonna be okay, so will the rest of us.   Please don’t recommend therapy or snappy happy pills. I promise I wont throw myself in traffic or eat a case of Lil Debbie treats.  Its not that serious. I am an an optimist, today is today, and in time it will get better.

I wish more people would refer to him as 45.  The narcissist loves hearing his name and 45 would make him crazy, or are we too late.?