Officials scrap plan to name Hawaiian beach after Obama

Updated 08 October 2014
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Officials scrap plan to name Hawaiian beach after Obama

OAHU, Hawaii: A Honolulu City Council proposal to name a popular Oahu beach after the first Hawaii-born US president, Barack Obama, has been withdrawn after the plan met with little enthusiasm from the public, its sponsors said.
Council Chair Ernest Martin and co-sponsor Stanley Chang introduced a resolution last week to honor the commander-in-chief by renaming Sandy Beach Park as President Barack Obama Sandy Beach Park.
Located near Hanauma Bay on the east end of Oahu, the beach is known for a large shore break that makes it a favorite among body surfers, including, sponsors say, the president.
Obama is known to have body surfed at Sandy Beach while he was growing up, and has ridden the waves there while on vacation since being elected to the White House.
But according to a statement Martin issued on Tuesday, “public reaction to the proposal has been mixed.”
“Most of the comments have raised the issue of historical and cultural sensitivity, and a number of alternatives have been suggested by the public,” the statement said, adding that the two sponsors have agreed to remove the resolution from the council’s agenda.
Reaction among beachgoers seemed sharply divided.
“Maybe he did grow up here, but as a local, I’ve been surfing here for 10 years easy, and I don’t think it’s fair,” Kanaloa Kane, a resident of the nearby community of Waimanalo, told local TV station KHON2.
But another frequent Sandy Beach visitor, Beth Amann, was quoted as saying that naming the park for Obama would “keep things more picked up” and bring “better maintenance.”
Martin suggested that given Obama’s strong support of Honolulu’s rail transit project, a better idea might be to name one of the stations after him.
“I’m confident that as this process moves along, the entire community will weigh in with other ideas for Honolulu to properly honor its hometown president,” he wrote.
The City Council, whose jurisdiction covers the entire island of Oahu, has previously approved funding for a plaque to be placed at or near Sandy Beach commemorating Obama’s fondness for bodysurfing there, said Mark Segami, a spokesman for Martin.


Chechen strongman makes Egypt’s Salah honorary citizen

Updated 52 min 9 sec ago
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Chechen strongman makes Egypt’s Salah honorary citizen

  • After his team crashed out of the World Cup, Egypt’s star player Mohamed Salah has won a consolation prize in the form of honorary citizenship of Chechnya
  • Kadyrov, supported by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, rules Chechnya with an iron fist, drawing constant condemnation from human rights groups

MOSCOW: After his team crashed out of the World Cup, Egypt’s star player Mohamed Salah has won a consolation prize in the form of honorary citizenship of Chechnya.
Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov wrote on Telegram that he had presented the Liverpool star with the honorary title while hosting a dinner for the Egypt team, whose World Cup training base is in the Chechen capital Grozny.
“Mohamed Salah is an honorary citizen of Chechnya! That’s right!” Kadyrov wrote late Friday.
“Tonight I signed a decree to grant the high honor to the great footballer who plays for Egypt and Liverpool.”
Kadyrov, supported by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, rules Chechnya with an iron fist, drawing constant condemnation from human rights groups.
He is known as an ardent football fan and in 2013 took to the public address system during a match involving Chechen team Akhmat (formerly Terek) to publicly insult the referee.
Salah has been photographed smiling and clasping hands with Kadyrov during the tournament.
Egypt crashed out of the World Cup after losing to Russia 3-1 on Tuesday, with Salah returning to action for the first time in three weeks following a shoulder injury but unable to save his team. The Egyptians play their final match against Saudi Arabia on Monday.
Kadyrov said that at “a gala dinner that I gave for the Egypt team I presented Mohamed Salah with a copy of my decree and a lapel badge. This is a well-deserved honor!“
The Chechen leader has previously presented French actor Gerard Depardieu with the same honorary title.
He also said that he was confident that Akhmat would play a friendly with the Egyptian national team in Grozny at some future date.
Kadyrov said Salah had praised the “wonderfully warm and good welcome” the team received in Grozny.