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Go Topless Day celebrated in U.S. cities

NEW YORK, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Sunday was Go Topless Day in cities across America.

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In Asheville, N.C., several hundred people turned out to rally in support of women baring their breasts in public. A few dozen of the participants went topless, which the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times noted is allowed under state law.

"All human beings should have equal rights," said Barbara Bradley, 27, of Asheville, who was topless. "Why should we have to hide them and cover them up?"

The topless crowd drew a small group of counter-demonstrators.

"It's about the spiritual wickedness in this city," Michael Lombardi of Asheville said. "We're trying to bring the love of Christ. We're not bashing anyone."

Out on the West Coast, a small number of women went topless in Venice Beach, Calif., Los Angeles' KCBS-TV reported. Leaders of the effort said they will petition President Obama to make Go Topless Day a national event.

The Arizona Republic reported a couple of dozen men and women marched topless down Phoenix's Central Avenue.

"By baring our breasts just as a man, it can bring us closer to gender equality by showing that they are not objects, they are parts of us that we are not ashamed of," marcher Jenn Duffy said.

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In New York, topless women turned out by the dozens, some holding signs that read "Free Your Boobs. Free Your Mind," the New York Daily News reported.

Ismael Sani, 25, of New York, said women can walk around naked at home all they want. "But this is a public street. This is not good," Sani said.


Maine woman gives birth to grandson

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- A Maine woman recently gave birth to her grandson, serving as a surrogate womb for her daughter's baby.

Linda Sirois, 49, of Madawaska delivered 7 lb., 14 oz. Madden Brian Hebert Aug. 17 at a hospital in Presque Isle, the Bangor Daily News reported. Madden is the first child for Sirois' daughter Angel Hebert, 25, and her husband Brian, 29.

"She is amazing," Angel Hebert, who could not carry the baby because of a heart condition, said of her mother. "I couldn't have asked for a better mother. It's such a great and selfless gift she has given us. She brought her grandson into the world and we now have our beautiful baby boy. We are all super excited."

Sirois said becoming a surrogate mother for her daughter was an easy decision for her to make.

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"I couldn't see them going through life without a child, while I am capable of helping them," she said. "It's only nine months for me to give them a child for life. I knew it could be done. I had heard of a 60-year-old grandmother serving as a surrogate for her grandchild, so I knew it was possible."


Mountain lion barred from Reno casino

RENO, Nev., Aug. 25 (UPI) -- A mountain lion attempted to enter a casino in Reno, Nev., but was foiled by the revolving door, witnesses said.

Patrons of Harrah's Casino said the animal wandered under a nearby stage early Friday, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported. Police cornered it there shortly after 5 a.m. and stunned it with a tranquilizer gun.

Teresa Moiola, education and conservation chief for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said the young male big cat, which appeared to be healthy, would be returned to the wild once it passed a medical examination and recovered from the anesthesia. It was taken to Carson City to be equipped with a radio collar that will allow biologists to track its movements.

Experts believe the mountain lion followed the Truckee River into Reno. Moiola said the cat, which weighs somewhere between 90 and 100 pounds, is at an age when males go wandering.

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"The age of the animal tells us it's at a normal dispersal age," Moiola said. "It is normal for them at this age to be striking out alone."


Flight attendant retires after 63 years

BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 25 (UPI) -- A Hawaiian man who went to work for United Airlines as a flight attendant when Harry Truman was president is hanging up his wings.

Ron Akana, 83, who now lives in Boulder, Colo., is to retire Sunday after one last flight to Honolulu, the Boulder Daily Camera reported. He will be crew chief and his wife, son, daughter and grandson will all be on the plane.

On the flight back, Akana, who has been named the longest-serving flight attendant by the Guinness Book of World Records, will also be a passenger.

"I know I'll miss it, but the time has come -- aching bones and joints," he said.

Akana, a native of Honolulu, joined United in 1949. One of the big benefits in the early days was a chance to get away from Hawaii and see places like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Over the decades, he has encountered passengers like Deborah Kerr, Red Skelton and President Bill Clinton after his presidency. Skelton once entertained other passengers with a silent parody of Akana doing a safety presentation.

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"He just had everybody laughing," Akana said. "No one was listening to me, of course."

Akana's wife Elizabeth was also a United attendant when they met in 1962, although the rules current at the time meant she had to leave her job when they married. Their daughter, Jean, is also a flight attendant and also with United.

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