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Building dispute leads to mural of mayor on a toilet

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I.

A Rhode Island mayor says he’s not bothered by an unflattering public mural of him wearing a crown and sitting on a toilet that stems from a long-simmering dispute over a building he has called unsafe.

North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi has been involved in a dispute with building owner Anthony Farina over the building, described by the mayor as a “health hazard.”

Lombardi tells WPRI-TV the painting doesn’t bother him but Farina should question how he’s representing himself to the community.

Mural artist Paul Morse says he has nothing against the mayor but was hired specifically to paint him on a toilet and wearing a crown.

Farina hasn’t responded to a request seeking comment.

Ethiopia’s new prime minister meets with humanoid robot

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

In one of the world’s more unusual diplomatic encounters, Ethiopia’s new prime minister has met with a humanoid robot.

The chief of staff for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has shared online a photo of the July 2 meeting with Sophia, who has gained global attention for using facial and speech recognition to help engage in conversation.

The robot, made in Hong Kong by Hanson Robotics, is fitted with software in part developed by Ethiopians and has been programmed to speak the country’s official language, Amharic, as well as English.

“We need to maximize the benefit of this technology and also prepare to deal with its downsides,” the prime minister said.

The robot came to the East African country for an information technology expo.

Over 100 phony replica Super Bowl rings found

PHILADELPHIA

Federal authorities say they have intercepted a shipment of 108 phony replica Super Bowl rings representing many past champion teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say the rings were found in an express consignment parcel that arrived June 18 from Hong Kong marked as alloy rings.

Trade-enforcement officers noted “poor craftsmanship” and detained the rings to verify their authenticity with the National Football League, the trademark holder.

Customs officials say the NFL confirmed that the rings were phony. Officials say an authorized replica of a Super Bowl ring can cost $10,000 but counterfeit ones are offered on the internet for $25.

Associated Press

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