PHUKET: This week’s Weird World News round-up serves up an awkward and dangerous mix of surf ‘n’ turf, taking you from cheap love, to a fishy and possibly untimely death and finally wrapping you up like a filet mignon and burying you.
A NEW law coming into affect in October is cutting out the hearts of the highly trained and licensed fugu (blowfish) chefs of Tokyo, Reuters reported.
For more than 60 years, slicing and dicing blowfish in Tokyo has been the calling for a small group of strictly regulated and licensed chefs, due to the deadly toxicity of parts of the fish.
The poison known as tetrododoxin is found in parts of the blowfish, including the liver, heart, intestines and eyes, and is so powerful that even a tiny amount will kill. Every year there are reports of people dying after preparing blowfish at home.
“We have spent time and money in order to obtain and use the blowfish license, but with these new rules anybody can handle blowfish even without a license,” fugu chef Hashimoto told Reuters.
The Tokya Metropolitan Government said the change in the law is hoped to slash the prices of fugu dishes, bringing Tokyo level with the rest of the nation.
“Outside of Tokyo, the regulations for blowfish are even more relaxed, and yet there are hardly any poison-related accidents,” Hironobu Kondo, an official at the city’s Food Control Department, told Reuters.
Though thrill-seeking diners are reputed to seek out chefs who leave just enough of the poison to make the lips tingle, blowfish professionals scoff at this as urban legend, noting that ingesting even that much of the poison would be hazardous.
“I don’t want people to forget that you can actually die from eating blowfish,” said Hashimoto.
A BACON coffin is one of the newest products to hit the American-bacon-obsessed market.
There were scoffs when American chain-restaurant Deny’s introduced its bacon ice cream sundae last year, but that hardly raises the lid on J&D Foods, which has started selling a casket with an unmistakably bacon-strip paint job.
Looks aren’t everything, and the company that brought you bacon salt and baconnaise knows it. The casket comes with a bacon-scented air freshener to keep corpses smelling delicious.
“We think that your final resting place deserves the eternal glory that is bacon,” the company’s website said.
For those thinking of making the almost 93,000-baht investment for a final send-off, the casket is made of 18-gauge gasketed steel lined with ivory crepe linen and comes with a memorial tube and an adjustable bed and mattress.
To see the video launch of the “crispy coffin”, click here.
— Isaac Stone Simonelli
NO Plastic Bag! @ Central Phuket
China has the most atheists. Indonesia and Philippines the most believers.
China is the least believing country in the world but belief in a God gets 100 per cent mention in countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh and Philippines, according to the survey by Gallup International.
According to the survey exploring religious tendencies of 66,000 people in 68 countries across the world, 62 per cent of people in the world define themselves as religious, 74% of people globally believe we have a ‘soul’ and 71% believe in a God. Another 56% believe in heaven, 54% in life after death and 49% in hell.
China has the highest percentage of atheists in the world with 67% not believing in any religion. Every seven out ten people are atheists, more than double than any other country. 23% consider themselves as non-religious. Less than 10% identify themselves as religious in China.
China’s atheist percentage is followed by Japan, a long way behind in second place at 29%, Slovenia (28%) and Chech Republic (25%). Despite rapid industrialisation and urbanisation religion has stayed relevant in the South Korean region with only 23% identifying as atheist.
European countries like Belgium (21 %), France (21%) , Sweden (18%) and Iceland (17%) also have a large percentage of believing population.
Bangladesh, Indonesia and Philippines are the most believing countries with entire population claiming to believe in God, soul, hell and heaven. Thailand and Pakistan have 99% believing population, followed by India, Vietnam and Mongolia.
The survey shows that the levels of religiosity diminish as income and education levels increase. While 66% of people with low income affirm to be religious, this percentage drops to 50% among people with higher incomes. The same trend is verified in relation to education levels: 83% of people with lower education level are religious against 49% of higher level.
According to the survey there is a connection between religiosity, beliefs and socio-demographic characteristics like age, income and education level. As education and income levels grow higher, religiosity levels tend to go down. Also, the expression of different beliefs is higher among young people.
The level of education has a considerable influence on the perception of religion by the society. Women and young children show higher percentage for spiritual forces.
SOURCE: Data Leads
Stunning Malaysian election result ousts Barisan Nasional
Malaysia’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition coalition has crossed the minimum threshold of 112 seats needed to form government in Malaysia. The Election Commission continue to count a few remaining votes this morning but have confirmed the win of the Pakatan Harapan party and coalition members.
The result brings to an end the rule of Barisan Nasional (BN) and it’s leader Najib Razak. Barisan Nasional, a nationalist right-wing government with strong links to it’s ethnic Malay constituency, has dominated Malaysian politics for decades.
In a press conference just before the official confirmation, opposition leader and former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad, now 92 years old, said his party had achieved a victory.
He said he hoped a swearing-in ceremony would be held on Thursday. Mr Mahathir will become the oldest elected leader in the world.
The final official results indicate PH had won 115 seats, with BN on 79 (these numbers will alter slightly as the counting finishes today).
The 92 year old pledged a government that would include a “young person”, referring to criticism during the campaign that he was too old to lead Malaysia again. Mahathir said he would honour his agreement to help secure a royal pardon for jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. The two became the odd couple of Asian politics after decades working together, then becoming bitter enemies. Anwar was Mahathir’s deputy PM at one stage but then fell out of favour.
But the two formed a curious coalition to bring down PM Najib Razak who they claimed was corrupt and had stained the country with the 1MDB financial scandal.
Mahathir said Anwar would have to win a by-election or be elected senator in order for him to take over as prime minister from Dr Mahathir, as per their agreement.
An upset was on the cards when unofficial results started trickling in about four hours after the ballot boxes were closed at 5.30 last night.
• 9pm – Bernama reported that caretaker Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, the president of BN component party Malaysian Chinese Association, had lost his Bentong seat.
• Caretaker Health Minister S Subramaniam, of BN coalition party Malaysian Indian Congress, was the next major casualty, losing his Segamat seat in Johor.
• 9.30pm, there was respite for BN when word came in that incumbent PM Najib Razak had successfully defended his Pekan seat in Pahang.
By 9.45pm last night, another four deputy ministers fell. At about the same time, it emerged that Mahathir would make a return to parliament after winning his Langkawi seat.
The result throws into doubt Najib Razak’s position in his party.
While he had been praised for his fiscal policies, he was also unpopular for rolling out a goods and services tax in addition to being a target of unwanted international attention over allegations funds were misappropriated from a state fund he advised, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). He has denied consistently any wrongdoing.
Mahathir had accused his former protege Najib of corruption and abuse of power before quitting UMNO to form his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
But Mahathir has vowed: “We are not seeking revenge. We want to restore the rule of law.”
92 year old PM-elect Mahathir Mohamad, with a shirt emblazoned with his name, in case he forgot it whilst campaigning for the historic election.
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