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By United Press International   |   Nov. 9, 2006 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Free parking for churchgoers scrapped

PLYMOUTH, England, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Church worshippers in Plymouth, England, have been told their free Sunday morning parking has been scrapped because it discriminates against other faiths.

The Plymouth City Council said free parking was "discriminatory to other faiths and religious praying days." The charges are about $1.30 an hour, London's Telegraph reported.

The Rev. Nick McKinnel, rector of the Anglican St. Andrew's Church, said he was dismayed other faiths had been cited as a reason to introduce parking changes.

"If the council is imposing new charges because it wants more money, then why not admit that?" McKinnel said.

He said religious discrimination laws applied only in employment contexts and not to services such as parking lots.

Mary Hooker, 66, a worshipper at St Andrew's for 50 years, called the parking fee a "tax on prayer."

"It was felt that it was inappropriate to single out two particular churches for special treatment not given to anyone else," said a spokesman for the council.


Breast cancer or not, no pink bridge

HUNTINGTON, W.Va., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A West Virginia city council is angry their mayor is allowing a man to paint an entire bridge pink to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Last month, Jason Sansom, 26, began painting the bridge in Huntington without permission, and the parks and recreation department ordered him to restore it to its white color.

Sansom then got permission, and started over again on Monday to the dismay of Councilman Paul Farrell, who told the Huntington Herald-Dispatch he has been inundated with complaints.

"Putting pink ribbons upon the bridges for cancer awareness month is fine. Defacing city property is not," Farrell said.

He and two other councilors have requested an emergency council meeting Thursday, but Mayor David Felinton doesn't appear likely to budge on his approval of the paint job, the newspaper said.

"It's just a bridge," Felinton said. "I think there are bigger things that people should be worried about."


Non-English ballots spark outrage

BOSTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Some voters who received bilingual ballots in Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese when Boston-area polling places ran out of English-only ballots were upset.

When handed a paper ballot with Vietnamese written on it Tuesday, a disgruntled voter at Florian Hall in Dorchester simply crumpled the sheet and tossed it on the floor, the Boston Herald reported. "I am an American," the man said.

Lines of potential voters waited until after the scheduled 8 p.m. time for polls to close for English-only ballots to arrive from the city's Elections Department by police car, with sirens wailing and lights flashing.

"Rush-hour traffic coupled with a high voter turnout after work forced us to use police cruisers to get the ballot to the polling locations," a spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said.

Fewer than 25 polling places reported delays after running out of English-only ballots and voters left their telephone numbers so they could be called when new ballots arrived.


Bush cracks 'em up at news conference

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. President George W. Bush Wednesday showed he hasn't lost his sense of humor despite the "thumpin'" Republicans took in midterm balloting.

Asked about his reading contest with political strategist Karl Rove, Bush evoked laughter at a White House news conference.

"You know, I'm losing," Bush admitted to reporters.

"I obviously was working harder in the campaign than he was," Bush said, adding, "He's a faster reader."

Earlier when a reporter asked if he could follow up with another question and then told the president he could come back to him, Bush again elicited chuckles with: "Think I'm nuts? ... You think my sensibility's left me as a result of workin' hard on the campaign trail."

Despite his hard work, Bush described the results of the midterm elections as a "thumpin'" for the GOP.

© 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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