While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, July 26 edition

Obama challenges Kenya on gay rights, corruption

US President Barack Obama on Saturday called for gay rights in Africa during his landmark visit to Kenya, comparing homophobia to racial discrimination he had encountered in the United States.

In a joint press conference after talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Obama also pushed a tough message on Kenyan corruption, the civil war in South Sudan, controversial elections in Burundi and the fight against Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab militants.

Obama arrived in Kenya on Friday, his first visit as president to his father’s birthplace and the first to the East African nation by a serving US leader.


Egypt completes first trial run of ‘new Suez canal’

Egypt on Saturday completed the first trial run of its “new Suez canal", officials said, ahead of the formal inauguration of the shipping route next month.

Dubbed the Suez Canal Axis, the new 72km project built by the Egyptian army is aimed at speeding up traffic along the existing waterway by reducing the waiting period for vessels, as well as boosting revenues.

Officials said six vessels in two fleets of three each crossed through the expanded canal as part of the trial run. One fleet sailing from south to north had vessels flying the flags of Singapore, Luxembourg and Bahrain. The second, sailing from north to south, had flags from Liberia, Singapore and Hong Kong.


Football: Bees cause a buzz at Oldham ground

A swarm of bees attacked an English pre-season football friendly on Saturday, with beekeepers having to be called to clear the hive.

The incident happened at Oldham Athletic's ground in north-west England where the home side were to face Blackburn Rovers, with photographs showing the bees had built a hive around the goalposts at one end.

Fans were made to wait outside ahead of the game while the pesky insects were removed.

"You cannot BEE serious? Hope everyone is swarming down today..." tweeted Oldham FC.


San Francisco combats the stench of urine with pee-repellant paint

City officials in San Francisco are testing a pee-repellant paint on walls in areas that have been saturated with urine.

Anyone urinating on the specially treated walls will get the spray splashed back onto them.

"The urine will bounce back on the guy's pants and shoes. The idea is they will think twice next time about urinating in public," said Rachel Gordon, a Public Works Department spokeswoman.


Football: England drawn with Scotland in World Cup qualifying draw

England will renew one of the oldest rivalries in football against Scotland in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after they were paired together at a lavish ceremony on Saturday.

But both will be glad to have avoided groups that threw together 1998 champions France with the Netherlands and a Sweden side captained by Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Former winners Spain and Italy were also paired.

World champions Germany were put against the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino in the draw made in Saint Petersburg’s Konstantin palace.