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    Throughout the holy month of Ramadan, observers fast from sunrise to sunset and partake in nightly feasts. >> Read more trending news Here are five things to know about Islam’s sacred month: What is Ramadan? Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is the holy month of fasting, spiritual reflection and prayer for Muslims. It is believed to be the month in which the Prophet Muhammad revealed the holy book — Quran — to Muslims. The word “Ramadan” itself is taken from the Arabic word, “ramad,” an adjective describing something scorchingly dry or intensely heated by the sun. When is Ramadan? The Islamic calendar is based on the moon’s cycle and not the sun’s (what the Western world uses), so the dates vary year to year. By the Gregorian solar calendar, Ramadan is 10 to 12 days earlier every year. In 2018, Ramadan begins on May 15 and last through June 14. >> Read more trending news  To determine when exactly the holy month will begin, Muslim-majority countries look to local moon sighters, according to Al Jazeera. The lunar months last between 29 and 30 days, depending on the sighting of the moon on the 29th night of each month. If the moon is not visible, the month will last 30 days. What do Muslims do during Ramadan and why? Ramadan is known as the holy month of fasting, with Muslims abstaining from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. Fasting during the holiday is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, along with the daily prayer, declaration of faith, charity and performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. In 2016, according to Al Jazeera, fasting hours around the globe ranged between 11 and 22 hours and in the US, 16 to 18 hours. The fast is intended to remind Muslims of the suffering of those less fortunate and bring believers closer to God (Allah, in Arabic).  During the month, Muslims also abstain from habits such as smoking, caffeine, sex and gossip; this is seen as a way to both physically and spiritually purify oneself while practicing self-restraint. Here’s what a day of fasting during Ramadan is like: Muslims have a predawn meal called the “suhoor.” Then, they fast all day until sunset. At sunset, Muslims break their fast with a sip of water and some dates, the way they believe the Prophet Muhammad broke his fast more than a thousand years ago. After sunset prayers, they gather at event halls, mosques or at home with family and friends in a large feast called “iftar.' How is the end of Ramadan celebrated? Toward the end of the month, Muslims celebrate Laylat al-Qadr or “the Night of Power/Destiny” — a day observers believe Allah sent the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad to reveal the Quran’s first verses. On this night, which falls on one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan, Muslims practice intense worship as they pray for answers and seek forgiveness for any sins. To mark the end of Ramadan, determined by the sighting of the moon on the 29th, a 3-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr brings families and friends together in early morning prayers followed by picnics, feasts and fun. Does every Muslim fast during Ramadan? According to most interpreters of the Quran, children, the elderly, the ill, pregnant women, women who are nursing or menstruating, and travelers are exempt from fasting. Some interpreters also consider intense hunger and thirst as well as compulsion (someone threatening another to do something) exceptions. But as an entirety, whether Muslims fast or not often depends on their ethnicity and country. Many Muslims in Muslim-majority countries, for example, observe the monthlong fast during Ramadan, according to 2012 data from the Pew Research Center. In fact, in Saudi Arabia, Muslims and non-Muslims can be fined or jailed for eating in public during the day, according to the Associated Press. But in the United States and in Europe, many Muslims are accepting of non-observers.
  • A video of a San Antonio teen's heartwarming surprise for her prom date – and his emotional reaction – has gone viral. >> Watch the clip here >> Stranger's act of kindness for mom, 2 kids on plane goes viral According to KSAT, Health Careers High School senior Morgan Coultress, 18, has had conversion disorder, which affects the use of her legs, since she underwent surgery in June. She said she couldn't walk unassisted for 10 months, the station reported. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  So Coultress prepared a special surprise for her prom date, Tarik Garcia.  On Saturday, a camera captured the moment that Garcia walked into Coultress' home – and the shocked look on his face as Coultress took several steps toward him. >> Read more trending news  The clip, which Coultress shared on Twitter, has been viewed more than 13 million times. Coultress, who was crowned prom queen that same evening, said she hopes to walk at her graduation next month, KSAT reported. Read more here.
  • Six Flags Over Georgia now has the option to let patrons more freely walk around with adult beverages. You still must be 21 to ride aboard the booze train. >> Read more trending news Cobb County commissioners voted on March 27 to modify rules that before restricted drinks to the patios of certain spots, like JB’s Sports Bar And Grill. Six Flags spokesman Gene Petriello said the Austell amusement park had requested the change. However, Petriello said that even though the park has the option, it has not changed its policy. So, unless that changes, folks still have to keep their drinks on patios. He said he didn’t know of any plan to let drinkers take libations mobile. “We are pleased the Cobb County Commissioners approved our request to modify our existing alcohol license and we will continue to offer this service with the proper controls and regulations,” the park said in its official comment.
  • A Seattle Girl Scout troop is ending the cookie season on a sweet note. KIRO-TV's Siemny Kim shows us how their cookies inspired strangers to pay it forward. The annual cookie sale gives Girl Scouts a lesson in business. >> Donald Glover meets Girl Scout who sang ‘Redbone,’ buys 113 boxes of cookies For this troop, it's also given them a lesson in kindness. “At first, I was really surprised. I didn’t know what to do,” Girl Scout Norah Wall said.  Norah Wall and Ruthie Bridgman had set up outside of a Grocery Outlet store in Seattle's Madrona neighborhood when a good Samaritan approached their booth. >> Dunkin' Donuts introducing Girl Scout Cookie-flavored coffees “I remember this lady coming up and she was like, ‘Hey, if I buy all these cookies, will you hand them out to everyone that comes out of the store?’” Ruthie said. “And we were like, ‘Yeah, I guess.’” The woman spent more than $600. Norah and Ruthie even had a hard time giving the cookies away. “Some people just didn't believe that somebody would actually do that,” Norah said.  Incredibly, that random act of kindness didn't end there. It made its way inside the Grocery Outlet, where Cami Nearhoff is a cashier. “We had a lady in my line – people in front, people in back – and she bought all of their groceries,” Nearhoff said. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  Nearhoff said people paid it forward all day. “All day it just seemed like people were doing little things. So I think it kind of inspired people to give back to each other. Whether it was a dollar, someone was short 6 cents – all day long it was happening. It was just crazy. Really crazy day,” Nearhoff said. >> Read more trending news  This troop is excited knowing their cookies could inspire such kindness.  “I think it's really cool, and it made me so happy that I was able to be a part of this,” Ruthie said. The troop is raising money to attend Girl Scout camp this year. If you're still looking for the sweet treats, you'd better hurry. Sunday is the last day of cookie sales.
  • Malcolm and Betty Clynch never did anything apart, their family said. That proved to be true even in death. The Texas couple married in 1945 when they were teenagers, WFAA reported. But soon the newlyweds were separated for the only time in their lives, while Malcolm served in the Army. Love letters shared by the family illustrate the couple's deep love and devotion to one another. Malcolm signed each love letter with: 'I'll always love only you.' >> Read more trending news  That love continued for the rest of their lives, as they raised a family and had long careers. After 72 years of marriage, Malcolm and Betty, both 90, were in failing health. Betty had Alzheimer's disease and Malcolm had heart issues, the family told WFAA. The family believes that Malcolm felt like he had to die first, to show Betty the way. Malcolm did die first, at a Fort Worth assisted living facility. Betty followed him in death just 10 hours later, family told WFAA. The family held a double funeral for the couple on Monday.
  • Woody Parker and his wife, Genie, arrived at Fernandina Beach in style. Woody has glaucoma, an eye disease that causes blindness, and he’s on the verge of losing the sight he has left. Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living decided to help make Woody’s dream come true before he goes blind, ActionNewsJax reported. >> Read more trending news  He wanted to see the beach with his wife one last time. “I love it. I love the beach,” Woody said. He and his wife made their way down closer to the water. “There’s nothing like the sound of the beach with the waves crashing,” said Woody. “Always special to be anywhere with him, especially here. We enjoy it,” Genie said. Hand in hand, they relaxed on the beach. “It’s just real cozy. There’s just something about it that’s just different,” Woody told ActionNewsJax. Woody says even though he may lose his sight, it won’t stop him from coming to the beach if he has another chance. “Of course, I won’t be able to see the changes, but I’ll be able to feel them,” he said.
  • A day on the water in Amelia Island, Florida, turned into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a group of fishermen. >> Click here to watch the news report Capt. Tony Peeples with Southern Style Charters said he and a group of four men were off the coast of Fernandina Beach north of the jetties when they came within feet of a 14-foot white shark. Peeples said he was leaning over the side of the boat with his hands in the water when one man said, 'I got a shark.' “I just got through bending over on that side of the boat releasing a fish,” Peeples said. “I kind of stood up and looked and said, ‘No it ain’t … Yeah it is.’” Peeples said the shark came out from under the boat and ate half of a 50-pound drum – in one bite. >> Read more trending news  He said the shark got hooked after it went around the back of the boat and ate the other half of the drum. “The guy that had him on the rod ... the look on his face when he seen a great white shark, it was just like awe,” Peeples said. “His eyes were all lit up.” Chris Fischer with OCEARCH told WJAX that white sharks commonly spend the winter months off the Florida coast and move north in April or May. Hilton, a 12 1/2-foot white shark tagged by OCEARCH, pinged off the coast of Ponte Vedra Beach on Thursday. Fischer said the sharks are good for the ocean because they strengthen fish populations by eating weak or dying fish. “Seeing a great white shark is a once-in-a-lifetime (event) for most,” Peebles said, adding that in his 30 years as a charter boat captain, he’s never seen a white shark so big. “It’s kind of a humbling experience when you look down and see something that big three feet from you,” he said. 
  • Merriam-Webster announced this week the addition of 850 words to its online dictionary.  >> Read more trending news  In a news release about the dictionary update, Merriam-Webster said the new terms come from a 'cross-section of our linguistic culture.' The new words include 'chiweenie,' 'cryptocurrency,' 'mansplain' and 'dumpster fire.' Foodies will enjoy the additions of words related to international cuisine, including 'harissa,' a spicy North African paste and 'kabocha,' a Japanese winter squash. In a nod to text messaging and other forms of electronic speech, Merriam-Webster is including word approximations such as 'hmm,' 'ooh' and 'welp.' 
  • De'Errica Hines, realizing that the lives of her relatives were at stake, relied on faith – as well as a cellphone and a shirt – when she ran back inside a burning apartment complex in Dayton, Ohio, last Thursday night. >> Watch the news report here The 15-year-old Summit Academy Transitional High School student put the cellphone to work as a flashlight and used the shirt as a smoke shield to rescue her 1-year-old sister and cousins. Dayton fire investigators concluded the fire was an accident. The cause was electrical, they said. District Chief David Wright said the origin of the fire appears to have been in a first-floor apartment and that smoke detectors activated as they should have. De'Errica had been charged with looking out for the little ones because Mom was at work. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  De'Errica and her family lost their belongings in the fire, but she is gaining much more these days because of how she responded during – and after – an emergency. 'She's a real life hero. Usually, these stories ... you see they’re on movies,' Summit Academy teacher Dustin Williams told WHIO's Lauren Clark on Monday. De'Errica was in school the morning after the fire, seemingly not at all flustered and concerned only that she was wearing the shirt she had on the night of the fire. The clothing on her back was all that was left. The straight-A student wanted desperately to go on the field trip, Williams said. >> Read more trending news  He said when he found out what she had experienced the night before, her attitude stunned him. De'Errica didn't seem to be dwelling on her immediate past. She was looking toward the future and what she could learn from the field trip. This week, Summit Academy students are wearing ribbons as a sign that each of them has donated a dollar or more to support De’Errica and her family. Already, at least $150 has been collected. >> HOW TO HELP: Here’s the link to the school Facebook page, where there is a list of what the family needs and information about a fundraiser.
  • Forget about 'Snakes on a Plane”; we're more concerned with snakes in the yard. Even though snakes are nowhere near as prevalent as our irrational fears would have us think (assuming you don't live smack dab in the middle of rattlesnake territory), if you're a homeowner with a bit of landscape or yard under your direction, you may encounter snakes on occasion. >> Daredevil squirrel makes Olympic dash onto ski slope, snowboarder misses it by inches That should be no biggie, according to experts at the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension. 'As a general rule, snakes are just as frightened of you as possibly you are of them and often they move as quickly as possible in the other direction,' the extension noted. Venomous snake bites are rare and you can readily take steps to treat them. If you're an avid gardener, you may even want snakes in your slice of the great outdoors, since they dine on rodents and insects and can actually help protect you from garden pests. Not buying it? You can try to keep snakes out of your home life. Just understand that even the best measures are not 100 percent foolproof, according to America's Wetland Resources, which is based in the South. 'There are no magic or absolute solutions,' AWR asserted. 'There are no poisons or repellents that work, though some new 'breakthrough' is occasionally advertised. Horsehair ropes and trails of mothballs have consistently tested negative, and pest control operators have no answers.' But there are still plenty of valid ways to limit, or possibly eliminate, a slithery presence in your yard, garden or home. Here are five tips from the pros on how to keep snakes out of your yard: 1. Seal crevices. Closer to your home, seal the openings where snakes like to set up house. 'Check the clearance of door bottoms, weep holes, openings where pipes enter, cracks and spaces under eaves,' AWR recommended. 'Don't neglect storerooms and sheds.' AWR added that sealing enough openings to make a difference is much more difficult if you own a raised wooden home. 2. Tidy up the yard. Snakes might choose to live on your property or simply travel through, according to AWR. You want to make your property as inhospitable as possible, so concentrate on ridding it of any places snakes would consider good spots to hide. Remove debris, from piles of boards, tin, sticks and leaves to flat boats on the ground and piles of bricks or stone, AWR advised, and keep vegetation cut back. 3. Stop serving the snake's preferred menu. It's a win-win. When you take away potential hiding places for snakes, the spots where rat and mice families like to congregate are also eliminated. But take this one step further, AWR advised, and take further steps to get rid of the rodents that snakes like to snack on. You may want to involve a pest control agent, but you definitely want to practice anti-rodent hygiene, including not leaving pet food out for more than an hour or so, closing trash cans tightly and securing compost in a sealed container. 4. Combat the climbers. If limbs from a neighbor's yard hang over your fence, snakes may use them as an entry to your place. Consider working with your neighbor to get them trimmed. 5. Consider the snake-proof fence. If you live in an area where one or more venomous snakes are common, you may want to invest in a snake-proof fence, according to NCSU. 'Small areas where children play can be protected from all poisonous and most harmless snakes with a snake-proof fence,' it noted. 'However, the cost of the fence may make it impractical to protect an entire yard.' Make a fence by burying 1/4-inch mesh wire screening 6 inches underground and building it up 30 inches, instructed NCSU. 'It should slant outward at a 30-degree angle from bottom to top. The supporting stakes must be inside the fence and any gates must fit tightly. Tall vegetation must be removed along the fence, both inside and outside.' It's costly, but you can snake-proof the entire yard with a concrete chain wall that extends six inches or so below the surface, noted AWR. 'If you already have a wooden fence and the boards are very close together, a good solution is to snake-proof the bottom.' >> Drinking this type of tea could ruin your teeth, study says One fairly cheap way is to use 1/4-inch hardware cloth cut in strips wide enough to overlap the bottom of the fence so it can be tacked securely and extend down into a narrow trench six inches deep. AWR added another word of caution for either snake-proof fence design. (Spoiler alert: It's nightmare inducing.) 'Many snakes climb by looping over objects and the above described design may virtually eliminate their entry,' it noted. 'Others, however, can crawl up vertical surfaces if they are rough, such as the trunk of a tree or a brick wall (including the side of a house).' To overcome this creepy climbing capability, you can place a foot-wide ledge made of wood or metal flashing along the outer side at the top. 'This structure makes the snakes lean out away from the wall and it will lose its grip and fall.' >> Read more trending news  After all this snake talk, AWR does have one bit of great news. 'Snakes are rarely abundant in any one location.' And if all your efforts fail and snakes do make their way into your yard, AWR recommended the ultimate fail-safe. 'The best thing you can do for yourself and family is to teach everyone to respect snakes and to be on the lookout for them,' according to the AWR website. 'Remember, don't touch it with your hands. Use a shovel to place the snake in a deep bucket with a cover. The chances of your encountering a venomous species is remote, but possible enough to always by careful!