Thursday, February 2, 2017

In Japan, Musical Superstardom Is Decided By Rock, Paper, Scissors

Think back to your most memorable competitive moment. Now, take it to a more dramatic step by imagining everything hinged on three simple words: Rock, Paper, Scissors. In Japan, this competition settles many disputes and even elevates one person to the top of the country’s musical hierarchy. In case you haven’t heard of them, Japan has a supergroup called AKB48. Founded in 2005, the group consists of over 150 members. However, not all the members appear in the group’s television shows or sing on their songs. Nevertheless, AKB48’s success is impressive and the group has sold over 40 million singles. Since 2009, there is an AKB48 general election. Yet, this election is not a singing contest. Rather, it is the finest display of Japan’s distinct form of Rock, Paper, Scissors, known as “janken.” For the 2016 election, the 98 most popular group members participated in a janken competition. The members were grouped into seven smaller pools. After an intense series of Rock, Paper, Scissors matches, which included elaborate costumes and a referee, one woman emerged victorious from each pool. Next, these seven women joined forces to become their own sub-group, with a CD contract in hand. However, there was still more janken in their futures as the women flexed their fingers and prepared for the final round. The winner of the seven-person competition would become the lead vocalist of the sub-group’s next song. Her face would appear the largest on apparel and promotional material. (Weird Asian News)


France bans unlimited sugary drink refills

In France, it is now illegal to sell unlimited soft drinks at a fixed price or offer them unlimited for free. The number of overweight or obese people in France is below the EU average but is on the rise. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends taxing sugary drinks, linking them to obesity and diabetes. Self-service “soda fountains” have long been a feature of family restaurants and cafes in some countries like the UK, where a soft drinks tax will be introduced next year. The new French law targets soft drinks, including sports drinks containing added sugar or sweeteners. All public eateries, from fast-food joints to school canteens, are affected. The aim of the law is to “limit, especially among the young, the risks of obesity, overweight and diabetes” in line with WHO recommendations. (BBC)


Cocaine found on American Airlines plane at maintenance base

After a routine maintenance check, seven bricks of what is believed to be cocaine were discovered on an American Airlines plane at their maintenance base in north Tulsa, Oklahoma. American Airlines said once the drugs were discovered Sunday evening, authorities were immediately contacted. The Boeing 757 came from Bogota, Columbia, and also had a stop in Miami. A maintenance worker found the packages near an electronics bay near the nose gear. The worker called the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office who came out to investigate. The sheriff’s office said the total weight was 12 kilograms, with 2 kilograms of packing material. The drugs found inside are believed to be cocaine and will be sent to OSBI for testing. (KOKI 23 TV)


UK warned against using the term ‘expectant mothers’ for pregnant women as it ‘may offend intersex men’

The British Medical Association has urged that pregnant women should not be called “expectant mothers” but for them to be known as “pregnant people” over fears it could upset transgender people and so it can include intersex or transgender men. The advice was published in a BMA internal leaflet entitled “A guide to effective communication: inclusive language in the workplace”. It goes on to suggest that “the elderly” should be referred to as “older people”, “disabled lifts” as “accessible lifts” and someone who is “biologically male or female” known as “assigned male or female”.  In the guide’s pregnancy section, it states: “Gender inequality is reflected in traditional ideas about the roles of women and men. Though they have shifted over time, the assumptions and stereotypes that underpin those ideas are often deeply rooted. A large majority of people that have been pregnant or have given birth identify as women. We can include intersex men and transmen who may get pregnant by saying ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘expectant mothers’”.  A BMA spokesman said: “This is a guide for BMA staff and representatives aimed at promoting an inclusive workplace at the BMA. It is not workplace guidance for doctors which is clear from the fact it does not refer to patients.” (Evening Standard UK)


A woman is accused of receiving a package of nearly 32 pounds of marijuana at work

A 44 year old woman in Fayetteville, Arkansas, was arrested on suspicion of felony possession of marijuana with the purpose to deliver, according to police. About 10:30 a.m. Friday (Jan. 27), police were dispatched to George’s Inc. for a suspicious package. Employees at the corporate office told officers they received a package for Meadors, and it caused them to become suspicious because Meadors was recently arrested after she reportedly received a large quantity of marijuana at her home via the mail, an arrest report states. Police opened the large package sent to George’s Inc. and found 28 packages of “high-grade” marijuana. In sum, police seized 31.5 pounds of cannabis, the report also states. Meadors was released Saturday (Jan. 28) from the Washington County Detention Center on a $7,500 bond. She is set to appear in court March 3rd. (KFSM TV)


Couple used giant manure heap to harass neighbours

A Canadian couple has been awarded $15,000 in damages, to be paid by neighbors who have also been banned by the judge’s Jan. 19 decision from spreading manure within about 1,000 feet of David and Joan Gallant’s property. The Gallants bought their place in rural New Brunswick in 2001; between then and November 2013, things went south with their Indian Mountain neighbors, Lee and Shirley Murray. The Gallants alleged that in that month, load upon load of “fresh, unseasoned, wet, raw manure” was dumped by the Murrays onto land adjacent to their own property. To get a sense of scale, there was enough of it that it was visible via a Google Earth photo. The Gallants say nearly an entire year passed before they complained to the New Brunswick Farm Practices Review Board; a short time later, the manure pile was removed. But when the board in December 2014 determined the manure positioning was an “unacceptable farming practice,” the Gallants alleged the Murrays retaliated in the form of a long scratch on their car. Early the next year, the Gallants sued, outlining a litany of other alleged transgressions, including rocks forced onto their land via a snowblower. The Murrays say they will appeal. The Gallants accused their neighbors of launching a retaliation campaign that included a long scratch on the side of their car and rocks sprayed over their property with a snow blower.  (Calgary Herald)


Oklahoma lawmaker proposes bill to do away with ‘incompatibility’ criteria for certain couples seeking a divorce

When a couple decides to get a divorce, it can be an emotional and difficult experience for both parties. Last year, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that makes divorce more expensive for Oklahoma couples. Now, an Oklahoma lawmaker wants to make the process a little harder for certain couples. House Bill 1277, which was introduced by Rep. Travis Dunlap, would change the grounds for a divorce. Currently, Oklahoma couples can ask for a divorce for several reasons including abandonment, adultery, impotency, extreme cruelty, fraudulent contract and incompatibility. However, the bill, which is called the ‘Fairness in Fault Act,’ would do away with incompatibility for certain couples. Under the proposed bill, the court would not be able to grant a divorce to a couple under the incompatibility claim if there are minor children, the parties have been married for at least 10 years or either party files a written objection to the divorce. Instead, the couple would have to prove that their marriage couldn’t be saved because of one of the other criteria for a divorce. The bill could also cause one party to be responsible for the majority of the court costs. The bill states that if a judge finds that one person caused the ‘dissolution, annulment, or separation’ of the marriage via the criteria for a divorce, then “the court shall order that party to pay the other party’s expenses, including attorney fees.” If that is the case, “the court shall award only one-quarter of the marital property to that spouse and the other spouse shall retain the remaining three-quarters of the marital property.” The first reading of the bill is set for February 6th. (KFOR TV)


Hillary Clinton is writing a book on the 2016 presidential race

Hillary Clinton has a lot of plans for 2017, including some reflections on her stunning loss to Donald Trump. The former secretary of state, senator and first lady is working on a collection of personal essays that will touch on the 2016 presidential campaign. The book is currently untitled, but will be released this fall. It will be inspired by favorite quotations she has drawn upon. Clinton also will reissue her best-selling “It Takes a Village” in an illustrated edition for young people. She will also resume her relationship with the Harry Walker Agency, the speakers bureau through which she made the paid talks that were criticized by Sen. Bernie Sanders and others during the election race. (Business Insider)


Making today special because it’s:

*Ayn Rand Day
*Crepe Day
*Crepe Day or La Chandeleur
*Groundhog Day
*Groundhog Job Shadow Day
*Hedgehog Day
*Marmot Day
*Sled Dog Day
*World Play Your Ukulele Day
*World Wetlands Day

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