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Weird World News: Time for change as Samoa ditches a day; book 123 years overdue found in Britain; and Chinese opt for year-end pillow fights

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Weird World News: Time for change as Samoa ditches a day; book 123 years overdue found in Britain; and Chinese opt for year-end pillow fights | The Thaiger

PHUKET: New Year is always a time of reflection. To cast out the old and usher in the new. This week’s Weird World News features a trio of time-related happenings from around the world.

Samoa skips forward a day … so long Friday, December 30

THE South Pacific island nation of Samoa has scrapped its time-zone alliance with the United States and jumped 24 hours into the future.

This means Friday, December 30, will not exist this year for Samoans; it has been struck from the calender, deleted from history, gone, gone … never happened.

By moving a full day ahead in time, Samoa will now share a time-zone alliance with Asia, New Zealand and Australia.

On New Year’s Eve, Samoa will have side-stepped the international longitude dateline, which runs through the Pacific, in a move that the country’s Prime Minter reportedly said would have trade benefits for Samoa.

“It will remove the enormous amount of confusion in our travel times for the Samoans and especially for the tourists who come to Samoa, who keep thinking of the New Zealand and Australian time zones,” he told Reuters.

Church bells will ring and carol services will be held to signal the changeover.

Samoa, with a population of 180,000 people, formerly used the same time zone as New Zealand and Australia, but skipped back a day in time in 1892, siding with the US time-zone alliance.

Resolutions 2012: Time to return that overdue book … after 123 years

THE book Good Words has been on loan for 123 years and has racked up more than 238,000 baht in fines.

The book, by Donald Macleod, was discovered by the side of a fireplace at mansion in the Lake District Village of Troutbeck.

It was borrowed from the local library by owner of Townend House, George Browne and his family.

The house is now owned by the National Trust and is where the book was discovered, sitting alongside the Browne family’s extensive 1,500 book collection.

But Good Words was not the Browne’s property and should have instead had its place in the local library.

Staff at the library said the book could stay with the National Trust, although it was a “bit naughty” of the late Mr Browne not to have returned the book.

The Mirror reported that a 10,152 baht fine was due on two books borrowed by US first president George Washington from a New York library in 1789 and found 210 years later.

Chinese use pillow fights to relax

IF YOUR boss is getting on your nerves, then why not try writing their name on a pillow and then hitting it repeatedly. That’s what Shanghai locals are doing.

A massive pillow battle was staged earlier this week, with the sole purpose of letting participants unwind by pummeling strangers and friends with pillows.

The fifth-annual event received a huge turnout from stressed-out office workers this year, intent on spending two nights getting to grips with some raw emotion and fighting, with soft pillows.

Founder of the event, Eleven Wang, told Reuters news agency: “Nowadays there are many white collar workers and students that are facing huge pressures at work and at school, so we hope to give them an outlet to release their stress before the end of the year.

“After releasing the stress, we can once again face our daily life with joy.”

Remember to tune in next week for more of the Phuket Gazette’s new Weird World News round-up.

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NO Plastic Bag! @ Central Phuket

The Thaiger

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NO Plastic Bag! @ Central Phuket | The Thaiger

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China has the most atheists. Indonesia and Philippines the most believers.

The Thaiger

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China has the most atheists. Indonesia and Philippines the most believers. | The Thaiger

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.

China has the most atheists. Indonesia and Philippines the most believers. | News by The Thaiger

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.

China has the most atheists. Indonesia and Philippines the most believers. | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Data Leads

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Stunning Malaysian election result ousts Barisan Nasional

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Stunning Malaysian election result ousts Barisan Nasional | The Thaiger

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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.”

Stunning Malaysian election result ousts Barisan Nasional | News by The Thaiger

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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