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Prayers come first in Iran as flights delayed during Azan

An Iranian Aseman Airlines' Fokker 100 takes off as an Iran Air aircraft is seen in the foreground at Tehran's international airport August 6, 2007.

MORTEZA NIKOUBAZL/REUTERS

Flights delayed for prayer

Iran's parliament has banned all flights during Azan, the five-times daily call to Islamic prayer. The summonses are issued by muezzins from the minarets of mosques. The prohibition is most stringent for the morning call. At that time, planes must delay takeoff for 30 minutes so passengers can fulfill their religious duties. In addition, dress-code rules will be strictly enforced for female employees of airports or airlines. Women in Iran are required to cover their hair and wear long, loose clothing.

Vatican collects dust

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The Vatican plans to install a vacuum system to remove dust from tourists' clothing before they enter the Sistine Chapel. It is part of a move to preserve the famous painted ceiling and The Last Judgment fresco, both by Michelangelo. Before entering the chapel, visitors will walk on special carpeting to clean their shoes while wall-mounted vacuum ducts combat dust, heat and humidity. Also on the drawing board is a "virtual tour" option designed to reduce the number of actual visitors.

Airline-themed hotels coming to Spain

For most holidaymakers, the flight is the most stressful part of the trip. But that isn't deterring Vueling, a Spanish budget air carrier, from planning a chain of airline-themed hotels. Expect reception areas inspired by airport check-in counters, bars and restaurants inside mock aircraft cabins and breakfast areas modelled on those in airport terminals. Working with Hoteles Catalonia, Vueling will open its first themed hotel in Barcelona this year. No word yet on whether guests will have to keep their seat belts fastened at all times.

Sources: Reuters, CatholicCulture.org, Airlinetrends.com

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