"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Links - 20th April 2017 (2)

Artificial food intended for display only, say Chinese manufacturers, after Nigeria confiscates tonnes of fake rice | South China Morning Post - "He said he was puzzled why anyone would smuggle artificial rice to sell as real in Africa, as the product his company sold cost more than 70 yuan for 1kg, or 10 times the price of real rice in China"

The surgeon general’s report on e-cigarettes is surprisingly mild. - "e-cigarettes are nowhere nearly as harmful for most people as traditional cigarettes or chewing tobacco—both of which clearly cause cancer and a host of other long-term serious medical problems. E-cigarettes (and other similar products) so far, according to this report that clearly was created while adhering to the highest standards of research methodology, do not appear to... there’s also something to be said for medical alarm fatigue: the idea that if we cry wolf about the health risks of all potentially harmful things, we’ll ignore serious threats"

Why Are So Many Indian Arranged Marriages Successful? - "A 2013 IPSOS survey found that 74% of young Indians (18-35 years old) prefer an arranged marriage over a free-choice one. Other sources report that as many as 90% of all Indian marriages are arranged. In this post, I want to explore two rather interesting and reliable statistics related to Indian arranged marriages. The first is that Indians have an astonishingly low divorce rate. Despite doubling in urban areas since 2007, only about 1 in 100 Indian marriages end in divorce. This is one of the lowest divorce rates in the world. Even more impressive is the second statistic, about the high levels of satisfaction reported by those in arranged marriages over the longer-term. A recent study of relationship outcomes among Indian-American couples married either through free-choice or arranged marriages for about a decade found absolutely no differences. Those in arranged marriages were just as satisfied with their marriage and loved their partner as intensely as those who wed through free-choice. Other studies have found similar results"

The Right Way to Resist Trump - NYTimes.com - "Mr. Berlusconi was able to govern Italy for as long as he did mostly thanks to the incompetence of his opposition. It was so rabidly obsessed with his personality that any substantive political debate disappeared; it focused only on personal attacks, the effect of which was to increase Mr. Berlusconi’s popularity. His secret was an ability to set off a Pavlovian reaction among his leftist opponents, which engendered instantaneous sympathy in most moderate voters. Mr. Trump is no different. We saw this dynamic during the presidential campaign... Whether we like it or not, Mr. Trump won legitimately. Denying that only feeds the perception that there are “legitimate” candidates and “illegitimate” ones, and a small elite decides which is which. If that’s true, elections are just a beauty contest among candidates blessed by the Guardian Council of clerics, just like in Iran. These protests are also counterproductive. There will be plenty of reasons to complain during the Trump presidency, when really awful decisions are made. Why complain now, when no decision has been made? It delegitimizes the future protests and exposes the bias of the opposition."

Anti-Semitism 'widespread' among German extreme left - "A high proportion of the far left agreed with the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews are “greedy”. Thirty-four percent of the extreme left, and 13 percent of the left affirmed the statement, while across the entire political spectrum, that number fell to eight percent on average. The FU study also looked at the use of violence by the far left. The research group argues that while the far left does not represent a "current threat" to German democracy, the propensity to use violence is likely to increase."

Cat torturing in the Middle Ages - "Although Ypres is not the only place where cats were used as victims in numerous folkloristic games, it is one of the few cities where the ritual still happens - albeit with stuffed toys instead of real cats. In medieval times cats were tortured and killed during the 'Cat fair' in many West European places. When the Prince of Orange and the Duke of Anjou visited Bruges in July 1582 they were 'very fittingly welcomed with a beautiful device' according to an old text.' This 'beautiful device' consisted of a ship with a high mast that was placed in the centre of the Market Square. Fireworks were placed on the ship at different places and when they were lit a mix of crackling powder and cats meowing resounded. When the ship finally was set alight, the animals perished in the flames."

Disclosure: The Four ”Swedes” in Custody For Gang Rape Are Somali Citizens - "Ostentatious headlines in Aftonbladet, Expressen and other media declared that ”six Swedes”, later ”eight Swedes” had been arrested for a rough gang rape on a Finland ferry. Nya Tider is now the first newspaper to reveal that not even the white lie that the arrested Somalis are ”Swedish citizens” is right – all the detainees are Somali citizens, and of all the suspects only one has a Swedish citizenship"
Keywords: Sweden

China's Threat to the U.S. - "For a long period, the assumption held. Despite the ups and downs, the China of 2010 was undeniably richer and freer than the China of 2005, which was richer and freer than the China of 2000, and so on. But that’s no longer true... these changes are most often traced to the messages—both emboldening and unsettling—that the Chinese leadership took from the world financial collapse of 2008. The messages were that maybe China’s moment had finally arrived... "the combination of being arrogant abroad and paranoid at home is about the least desirable combination of all, from the rest of the world’s perspective.”"

Innocent Children Are Labelled As Illegitimate In Malaysia - "The ruling that Muslim children who are illegitimate should not bear the father’s name but be named bin or binti Abdullah or one of 99 other approved names of Allah is based on a declaration by the National Fatwa Council in 1981."

G4S makes a comeback at Labour conference | Coffee House - "There was a time when it looked as though this year’s Labour conference might not go ahead as they struggled to find a company to provide security at the event. The party’s usual supplier G4S had been deemed unsuitable after the NEC made a decision to boycott them over its prison contracts and links to Israel. By the time Labour came crawling back to the company to ask for their help, after running short of suitable options, G4S declined — and they opted for OCS. So, conference regulars have been surprised to see a lot of familiar faces from previous years manning the doors at the event. It turns out that around a quarter of OCS’s work force at the event also work for… G4S. And the reason they can work for both companies? They are on zero hours contracts. Mr S hopes Corbyn doesn’t go too hard on his policy to ban zero hours contracts in his leader’s speech this afternoon. After all, he wouldn’t want to be left with no security at all"

Mouthwatering Qing Dynasty Sculpture of Braised Pork Belly Leaves Asia for First Time - "You may not have heard of the exiled Song Dynasty Chinese poet Su Shi, nicknamed Su Dongpo, but you’re likely familiar with the dish named for him: dongpo rou, or braised pork belly, the succulent hunk of meat topped off with a soft and sinful layer of fat. Legend has it that Dongpo, also a gastronome, invented the slow-cooked dish by accident; but no matter its origins, it eventually emerged as a popular Chinese delicacy — one so beloved that nearly 200 years ago, an anonymous Qing dynasty artist working for the emperor immortalized its oil-slicked form, sculpting a piece of jasper into a fleshy lump meticulously finished with wrinkles, dimples, and even a soy sauce-marinated rind."

New normal after Michelin - "While most inspectors did a fairly good job of remaining anonymous, there were some giveaway moves. One chef with working experience in Michelin-starred restaurants notes that napkin-dropping is a popular manoeuvre. "We had a gentleman sitting on table two, and he dropped his napkin probably four times throughout the meal. We noticed it almost immediately every time, to the point where it became somewhat of a game for the staff. Everyone was just waiting for him to drop his napkin again." Also, scribbling notes and asking copious questions about ingredients doesn't mean that the guest is a food critic or blogger. "Normal diners don't ask so many questions," observed another chef. Dining alone is another clue"

Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom Murdered - "Dee Dee Blancharde was a model parent: a tireless single mom taking care of her gravely ill child. But after Dee Dee was killed, it turned out things weren’t as they appeared — and her daughter Gypsy had never been sick at all."

Why it pays to be grumpy and bad-tempered - "Cranks may be superior negotiators, more discerning decision-makers and cut their risk of having a heart attack. Cynics can expect more stable marriages, higher earnings and longer lives – though, of course, they’ll anticipate the opposite. Good moods on the other hand come with substantial risks – sapping your drive, dimming attention to detail and making you simultaneously gullible and selfish. Positivity is also known to encourage binge drinking, overeating and unsafe sex... Graduates who fantasise about success at work end up earning less, for instance. Patients who daydream about getting better make a slower recovery. In numerous studies, Oettingen has shown that the more wishful your thinking, the less likely any of it is to come true. “People say ‘dream it and you will get it’ – but that’s problematic,” she says. Optimistic thoughts may also put the obese off losing weight and make smokers less likely to plan to quit. Perhaps most worryingly, Oettingen believes the risks may operate on a societal level, too. When she compared articles in the newspaper USA Today with economic performance a week or a month later, she found that the more optimistic the content, the more performance declined. Next she looked at presidential inaugural addresses – and found that more positive speeches predicted a lower employment rate and GDP in during their time in office."
So much for The Secret

Jeremy Corbyn fends off Branson attack over 'ram-packed' Virgin train - "Jeremy Corbyn was drawn into an extraordinary row with Virgin Trains after the rail operator disputed the Labour leader’s filmed account of having to sit on the floor of a “ram-packed” train, releasing CCTV images of him walking past free seats beforehand and sitting down shortly after the film was shot... when Virgin staff spotted Corbyn sitting in a vest"

Indian 'oldest man ever' says yoga, celibacy key to age - "Looking remarkably unlined for his claimed 120 years, an Indian monk who says he is the oldest man to have ever lived puts his longevity down to no sex or spices, and daily yoga. Hindu monk Swami Sivananda was born on Aug 8, 1896, according to his passport. If true, his life would have spanned three centuries, but despite his apparent age he remains strong enough to perform yoga for hours at a time."

Why we need to stand up for the right to insult religion and beliefs - "Outlook Magazine ran a front-page exposé on how the Sangh Parivar was allegedly trafficking young tribal girls from Assam to Punjab and Gujarat to indoctrinate them. But rather than investigate the claims, the police have gone after journalists instead and accused them of ‘inciting hatred’ between different groups. It was a politically motivated charge of course, but it shows how the same laws are also abused here... Could Guru Nanak Dev, founder of the Sikhs, be allowed to say today that god is neither Hindu nor Muslim without causing offence? Could he call on people to reject caste and idol worship without facing an angry mob? Would Gautama Buddha be allowed to preach in India today without people accusing him of blasphemy? Or what about the great Hindu reformers such as Swaminarayan or Vivekananda - would they have been allowed to criticise Hindu traditions without controversy? We cannot have freedom of religion and thought without the freedom to criticise other beliefs"

No jail term for child abuser - " Krystal Harvey, 23, was sentenced to eight months home detention after admitting sexually violating the 1-year-old and producing the objectionable minute-long video at the request of a paedophile... He said she needed psychological rehabilitation, which was best undertaken within the community. "You're a fairly simple soul capable of leading a productive life. If you go to prison I think it would put the kibosh on that," the judge said."
Of course, this gets no attention unlike Brock Turner

Spousal Abuse: Narrative Over Facts - "the Chinese demographic was 26% less likely than expected to be committing domestic violence for their makeup of the population. The Indian demographic is 2.1 times as likely as the to commit it versus the Chinese, followed by the Malay demographic in which it is seen at an incidence 2.5 times more. If you don’t use the Chinese demographic as a yardstick, the Indian demographic faces DV at a rate 163% of their proportion of the population while Malays experience it at a rate 187% more. This is hardly something that could be called “slightly over-represented compared to their proportion in the population.” We are talking about a serious problem that happens at incidences that are significantly over the expected background rate."

This genius iPhone 7 case gives you back the headphone jack Apple removed

CNN Selectively Edits Police Shooting Victim’s Sister’s Words to Protesters [UPDATED] - "Both on their website and televised on CNN Newsroom Monday, CNN described Sherelle Smith as “calling for peace.” They conveniently left out the rest of her message, calling for protesters to burn down the suburbs"

Welcome to Singapore, Michelin - but. . . - "The thing is, you're seeing Singaporeans at our xenophobic worst. There is an us versus "foreign people" thing going on and the vitriol behind it is unnerving - the idea that non-Singaporeans have no right to judge "our" food. That we are the best judge of "our" food and you should stick to what you know best, namely, European food. It's as wrong as it sounds because by this logic, every food writer/blogger in Singapore would be out of a job, allowed only to quibble about wok hei and QQ noodles but not qualified to rate French, Italian or other cuisine that's not "ours"."

McDonald's: you can sneer, but it's the glue that holds communities together - "Walk into any McDonald’s in the morning and you will find a group of mostly retired people clustering in a corner, drinking coffee, eating and talking. They are drawn to the McDonald’s because it has inexpensive good coffee, clean bathrooms, space to sprawl. Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy."

Facebook bows to anti-science activists, shuts down 'We Love GMOs and Vaccines'

Ellen DeGeneres Is Not Racist - "Ellen DeGeneres is a racist? The exploration of such a thing now elicits as urgent a response in many smart people as global warming, endemic poverty and gun control. It is time to reconsider the mission creep that has led the left from seeking to change the mechanisms of society to stirring up campfires once or twice a month about awkward witticisms, passing indications of ignorance and other eternal wrinkles of human psychology, in the name of a "social justice" that is really all about self-affirmation. This is not progress—it's religion."
This is on the Usain Bolt story

Villager in China uses grenade to crack open walnuts for 25 years

Chinese buy up bottles of fresh air from Canada - Telegraph - "A Canadian start-up company bottling fresh air from the Rocky Mountains has seen sales to China soar because of rising pollution levels. Vitality Air was founded last year in the western Canadian city of Edmonton but began selling in China less than two months ago"
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