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United Press International

D.C. prayer rally to seek lower gas prices

WASHINGTON, April 27 (UPI) -- A U.S. Christian group has grown tired of escalating gasoline prices and is set to stage a national prayer rally to lower the numbers at the pumps.

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Various Christian clergy from around the country will convene around a Washington gas station Thursday at noon to pray. For those who can't attend, a live Internet site and toll-free prayer line have been established.

In a release, the Pray Live group said many people are "overlooking the power of prayer when it comes to resolving this energy crisis."

Apart from sending a message to God, the rally had a message for humanity, said Wenda Royster, the group's founder.

"It is our hope that seeing and hearing some of the nation's most powerful preachers gathered around a gas station and the United States capital as a backdrop, will remind everyone who is really in charge of our world -- God," Royster said.

The Web site is at praylive.com. The toll-free phone number is 888-PRAYLIVE.


Late excuses at U.S. workplaces get thin

CHICAGO, April 27 (UPI) -- A survey of U.S. workers and managers has come up with some odd excuses for being late for work, including running over a goat on the way to work.

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The CareerBuilder.com survey of more than 2,500 people found such standard excuses as sleeping late, heavy traffic and sick children are still the mainstays, but managers helped the employment site create a list of unlikely tales they've been told.

Among them were: "I dreamed I was fired, so I didn't bother to get out of bed," followed by "I had to take my cat to the dentist."

While the majority of hiring managers said they don't typically question the excuses, 35 percent said most of the time they don't believe them, such as: "I wet my pants and went home to change" or "I went all the way to the office and realized I was still in my pajamas and had to go home to change."


Boorish mouths-full KFC ad riles British

LONDON, April 27 (UPI) -- A British television ad featuring office workers trying to sing with their mouths full of KFC salad has set a record for complaints to regulators.

The ad, promoting the fast-food chain's Zinger Crunch salad, featured call center workers singing unintelligibly while eating the salad.

The national broadcast regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority, said it received a record 1,671 complaints about the ad last year, almost double the previous record, The Telegraph reported Tuesday.

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The majority of complaints had to do with manners, and the notion that talking or singing with one's mouth full sets a bad example for children. Other complainers said the ad made fun of people with speech impediments, and a few said it cast call center workers in a bad light.

The ASA did not censure KFC, as it said no rules had been broken.


NYC students in cell phone, iPod clampdown

NEW YORK, April 27 (UPI) -- New York City police officers toting metal detectors began a sweep of city middle and high schools Wednesday with orders to confiscate cell phones and iPods.

While the real initiative is to search for weapons, the Department of Education asked officers to enforce a longstanding ban on such devices, the New York Post reported.

Headphones, glass containers and any head gear that could indicate gang affiliation are also on the forbidden list.

However, at many schools without their own metal detectors, students and parents came to believe some things are alright -- especially cell phones.

"That's our safety net for our kids," said Ilene Danuff, who has a 13-year-old son at NYC Lab School in Manhattan. "My kids have gotten on the wrong subway and come out where they don't know where they are."

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Items other than weapons confiscated are returned to students at the end of the school day, the newspaper said.

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