Watercooler Stories

Obama signs wrong year in guest book

LONDON, May 26 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama erred during a tour of London's Westminster Abbey when he signed a guest book with a date in 2008.


Obama, who was touring the church Tuesday with first lady Michelle Obama, signed his name with the date "24 May 2008," instead of the current year, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday.

"It is a great privilege to commemorate our common heritage, and common sacrifice," the Obamas wrote in the guest book.

A Westminster Abbey spokesman confirmed it was President Obama who signed the incorrect date.

President Obama also placed a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at the church, The Daily Telegraph reported. He was given a tour of Westminster Abbey from the Very Rev. Dr. John Hall.

"Westminster Abbey is known as the House of God and the House of Kings, where God is worshiped every day and where many great men and women are buried or memorialized," Hall told the Obamas.

"Here has taken place every coronation of kings and queens of England and of the United Kingdom since William I was crowned here on Christmas Day 1066."


Hall noted thousands of international visitors "including very many from the United States are welcomed" every day.

Swede fined for egging prankster

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, May 26 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in Sweden said a man who smeared egg on a youngster who chucked eggs at his house is being fined $1,800.

Prosecutor Per Lind said the 35-year-old Gothenburg man took the eggs from trick-or-treaters last Halloween and smeared egg on the face of one of the children, Swedish news agency TT/The Local reported Wednesday.

"To make it worse the youth was allergic to eggs and got very red eyes," Lind said.

Lind said the man pleaded guilty to harassment and is being fined $1,800.

The prosecutor admitted many members of the public "will probably feel sympathy with the perpetrator in this case."

Professor leaves $1 million to school

CHICAGO, May 26 (UPI) -- Officials with Chicago State University said they were shocked and delighted to discover a former professor had left $1 million to the school.

Katey Assem, director of the CSU Foundation, said Julian Scheinbuks, who served as a professor of biology at the school for more than 20 years, left the money to the school when he died July 26 at age 67 after a battle with esophageal cancer, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday.


"Frankly, when I got the initial call a gift by a faculty member was going to be made, I thought, OK, maybe $10,000, which would have been a great gift for us," Assem said. "Later, I got a call saying it was going to be a big gift, so I thought OK, maybe $50,000, we can do a lot with that."

"When I got the call it was $1 million, I ... fell out of my chair. But for $1 million, I'm happy to fall down," she said.

Mosques rent space for cellphone towers

MALANG, Indonesia, May 26 (UPI) -- An official with an Indonesian telecom company says renting out space on mosque minarets for base transceiver station equipment is a "win-win prospect."

Eko Wahyu Nurhidayat, the local field operations manager for XL Axiata in Malang, said erecting BTS towers usually takes about nine months and involves obtaining several permits, but renting tower space at mosques allows the company to save on material costs as well as help the mosques financially, The Jakarta Globe reported Wednesday.

"Putting up a BTS is a service to users, but doing so while being able to help a mosque is even better," he said. "Renting out minarets to double as BTS towers is always a win-win prospect."


The practice has become common in Malang since Hutchison CP Telekom, which runs cellphone operator Three, became the first to rent out a Sabilillah Mosque minaret for BTS equipment in 2006.

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