Archive for World

Check out these cool McDonald’s in high places

When people around the world think “America”, one of the first things that comes to mind is “McDonald’s”—cheap, cheerful fast food that feeds over 60 million people per day.

To get a handle on that—the UN World Food Programme, which is the “world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security”, feeds 90 million people per year.

Complaining about McDonald’s is as uniquely American as McDonald’s. Take Anna Hess of “Take Part”, who highlights five “culturally ruinous” McDonald’s around the world, (“The Most Shameful McDonald’s Locations Worldwide”) as if Stonehenge was used to build their newest UK outpost.

Hess introduces by saying:

There are no words to describe the utter disappointment a traveler feels when they’re strolling down the Rue de Julien, craving sole meunière and weightless croissants, only to be assaulted by those Golden Arches.

Unless that (American) traveler is blind, they can easily get croissants and baguettes to their heart’s content everywhere but McDonalds—oh wait—at McDonald’s too.

quelle délicieux!

In fact, if you check out McDonald’s menus around the world, you can find some mouthwatering, culturally-appropriate food, from paneer to gazpacho to pitas.

But that doesn’t stem the tide of the writer’s outraged ink.

First stop: McDonald’s in the Louvre. Hess snarks,

Visitors come here from far and wide to enjoy some of the greatest works of art of all time, including the Mona Lisa—and a Le Big Mac with fries, because when in Rome Paris?

At best, it’s a popular café that appeals to the wildly-trafficked museum’s visitors and earns millions for the museum, allowing it to invest in more priceless works of art—at worst, it’s a well-designed Pop Art installation among those hallowed halls.

Next on our tour is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a Milanese shopping center. Hess claims “like all malls, old and new, there’s also a McDonald’s there too.” Somehow, that’s supposed to cheapen this historical mall, as if once malls reach a certain age there’s a rule that certain people can’t afford to eat there.

In Bray, Ireland, there’s a cute little McDonald’s in the town hall. Hess clumsily concludes:

A wyvern, the mythological dragon featured on the Brabazon coat of arms, crowns the outside drinking fountain and is a protector for the town and its hall. But even with such a fierce guardian, Ronald could not be kept at bay.

The McDonald’s in the town hall actually has been named one of the coolest of the franchises, is a tourist destination in itself, and gets high reviews. Once again—only Henn is complaining.

New Hyde Park is home to one of the most unusual McDonald’s in the world—a McMansion. Hyde can’t even muster a kvetch here, claiming:

[this] led to the most elegant American restaurant in the McDonald’s franchise, complete with a glassed-in veranda seating area and a grand staircase.

The building hadn’t been a mansion for over a half a century—and was turned into a restaurant and even a funeral parlor. McDonald’s considered demolishing the dilapidated building but actually saved it—working with the town’s council to preserve the landmark and restore it to its 1926 glory.

downside: no ball pit

And our tour ends at the Piazza della Repubblica in Rome, where a demure McDonald’s exists amongst the columns.

Hess attempts snark again:

The piazza marks the site of the official Roman forum, which dates back to the age of empire; ruins of ancient Roman baths and temples have been uncovered on the south side of the square. Hopefully, a thousand years from now, archaeologists will uncover the ruins of this sacred McDonald’s franchise.

This is anything but holy ground. Considering the amount of blood, guts, vomit and debauchery that the forum saw in its heyday—having a McDonald’s there can’t possibly desecrate it.

Darn it–now I’m hungry.

feeding millions every day isn’t a crime!

Egyptian Samsung billboard contains unfortunate typo

Helwan , Egypt. Samsung finally offering Truth in advertising…

A look inside the big business of eating dog

Every year, hundreds of thousands of pets are snatched in Thailand, then smuggled into Vietnam, destined for Hanoi’s top restaurants and street stalls. Demand for dogmeat is so high that supply has become a highly lucrative – and brutal – black market. Kate Hodal, the Guardian. 

Dog meat on sale at the Kyungdong Shijang Market in Seoul, South Korea, in September 2007. Source: Wikipedia

A National Geographic clip of an African tribe eating their pet dog as part of a ceremony:

The Guardian followed patrons and traffickers in a dog meat restaurnt in Vietnam On the subject of suffering:

It is impossible to imagine any of these animals as a potential food source, not because they are dogs, but because they are abysmally thin and desperately unhealthy. There are bony puppies with broken legs; mangy mutts oozing mucus from their eyes and noses; dogs covered in their own vomit and faeces; and the carcasses of those that have already died, in plastic bags, waiting to be buried. With only 12 staff and nearly 2,000 dogs to care for, survival here is a gamble, and as the shelter’s Buddhist vets do not believe in “playing God”, staff might administer medicine to a dying dog for months on end, until finally it is no longer able to move.

Some of the dogs are rescued by activists but it remains a small percentage as the situation continues even after the “rescue”. “Of 1,965 dogs intercepted in January 2012 from a holding centre in Tha Rae and documented as being sent to [a shelter in] Buriram, 600 never arrived. We were told they’d died or run away, but they’d been sold back into the trade.” says the source from the Guardian.

But on the subject of whether the government should put an official stop to the cruelty, the 2 ways of achieving that (banning or regulating it) show little promise.

Activists in Thailand are pushing for a new animal welfare law that would protect pets such as dogs and cats from being consumed or traded for consumption. But the law has little chance of making a real difference, Lohanan says. What may work instead is the opposite approach. Few in the Thai government openly oppose the trade, but one MP, Bhumiphat Phacharasap, has suggested that regulating dogmeat would stave off corruption and ensure that animals traded are fit for food. “We could treat dogs the same way we treat cows and pigs, by ensuring they were free of disease, had been vaccinated and had export licences, and hadn’t been tortured or harmed in transportation,” he says. “In Vietnam, they farm dogs just like they farm pigs and cows. I could accept that: you do it right, you eat it right. The problem is, we would be perceived as a culture that tortures animals because dogs are ‘not for consumption’. We would be criticised. We’d be boycotted. We’d lose our trade rights [with the rest of the world].”

His worry is legitimate, at least for a culture dealing with the west, where researchers stress the historical human-dog bond and point to dogs’ intelligence, using examples such as Chaser – a border collie whose vocabulary includes more than 1,000 English words – to prove their mental capacities are comparable to those of two-year-old children. But apologists say it is hypocritical for a culture that eats sheep, cows, pigs and chickens to draw the line at dogs. Pigs, for instance, do as well as primates in certain tests and are said by some scientists to be more advanced than dogs, yet many of us eat bacon without a second thought.

This is circuitous reasoning, as Jonathan Safran Foer has argued in his book Eating Animals. He points to dogs as a plentiful and protein‑rich food source, and asks: “Can’t we get over our sentimentality?” He continues: “Unlike all farmed meat, which requires the creation and maintenance of animals, dogs are practically begging to be eaten. If we let dogs be dogs, and breed without interference, we would create a sustainable, local meat supply with low energy inputs that would put even the most efficient grass-based farming to shame.”

Trucks containing 130 dogs are seized on the highway between Thailand and Vietnam. Source: Luke Duggleby, The Guardian

Video: Russian viral video claims gay couples adopt children to rape them

An anti-gay Russian video has claimed that 50 per cent of pedophiles are gay and that gay couples adopt children because they want to rape them. The video has since been removed from Youtube but the following screenshots depict some of its content:

Two-Face Lobster Half male, half female caught off Canadian coast

This Gynandomorph lobster caught off Felix Cove, NFLD shows its double-gender with a unique straight line down its middle.

The picture was posted to image hosting site Imgur with the description “my uncle is a fisherman, caught this lobster yesterday”.

Latest delicacy amongst China’s wealthy: Human Breast Milk

A “domestic staff agency” in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong offer an offbeat drink in bottle or on tap to customers willing to pay the price: Human breast milk. The drink is available through a breast pump if customers “feel embarrassed” but clients are also welcome to drink directly from the breast of the staffs wet nurses.

Wet nurses for adults are paid four times the Chinese average at around 16,000 yuan (£1,700) a month and those who are ‘healthy and good looking’ could earn even more, company owner Lin Jun told the Southern Metropolis Daily.

Beliefs are held in some part of the country that human breast milk is the easiest and most digestible form of nutrition for those who are ill.

However, this bizarre new trend has sparked outrage and disgust amongst web users with many condemning the practice as unethical.

An online poll found that 90 per cent of people voted against the service claiming it ‘violated ethical values, while ten per cent of those who took part said it was ‘normal business practice’.

Chinese media commentator Cao Baoyin said: ‘This adds to China’s problem of treating women as consumer goods and the moral degradation of China’s rich.’

There were also around 140,000 postings about the topic on Sina Weibo, which is the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.

Chinese commentator Cao Baoyin wrote on his blog: ‘This adds to China’s problem of treating women as consumer goods and the moral degradation of China’s rich’, according to AFP.

According to the Daily Mail: Nine out of ten people said they disagreed with the practice on an online poll.

One user on Weibo called it ‘disguised pornography’, while others said it was merely a form of novelty entertainment for China’s super rich.

A bloody murder caught on Google Maps? Not so fast…

Does this image on Google Maps image show a murderer dumping a body? This location in the city of Almere, Holland appears to show the bloody trail of a body being drug to the end of a pier.

Analysis suggests that no…all signs say it’s just 2 people with their pet that went for a swim in the water.

The “blood” isn’t blood at all, but rather the discoloration illusion the wood pier takes on when wet.

Zooming out further on Google Earth also reveals other people nearby, while zooming further in shows the trail of the discoloration consistent with a dog walking in and out of the water, then too and from its owner where as if the trail was the leaking blood from a body about to be dumped, the travel pattern would make no sense. Sorry to ruin this one for the internet, but… it’s a dog, not a Dead.

A House in the Middle of the Highway (UPDATED)

An old man looks down from his house which stands alone in the middle of a newly built road in Wenling, Zhejiang province. An elderly couple refused to sign an agreement to allow their house to be demolished. They say that compensation offered is not enough to cover rebuilding costs, according to local media. Their house is the only building left standing on a road which is paved through their village. Welcome to China. Via Reuters

UPDATE: A deal has been reached and the house torn down

17 Years Later

Drunk man jumps into lions’ enclosure

A visitor to the Nandankanan Zoo and botanical garden in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India sustained serious injuries on Friday afternoon after he jumped into a lions’ enclosure in a drunken state and was subsequently attacked by two animals.

The man identified as one Suryanarayan Das, a resident of a village near Khallikote in southern Odisha Ganjam district has been admitted into a city hospital.

Hundreds of tourists who were near the enclosure of the zoo, one of the prominent zoological parks in the country, were in for a shock when they saw a man, in his 30s, taking out his clothes and jumping into the enclosure only in his underwear.  According to eyewitness, before the act, the man folded his hand and did a “pranam” to other visitors standing nearby.

He did the same once he entered the enclosure and saw the two animals marching towards him. Supriya, a lioness, was first to attack the man. She was immediately joined by Krish, a lion. Both started dragging the man towards their cell inside the enclosure.

However, zoo caretakers immediately rushed to the spot and managed to rescue the man after shocked tourists raised an alarm.

The man had visited the zoo alone. Zoo director Sudersan Panda has confirmed that the man was drunk.  “He was completely in a drunken state and entered the enclosure after taking out his clothes. He did a ‘pranam’ to the animals before he was attacked,” he said.
The zoo, a popular spot for visitors both within and outside the state, had never witnessed a similar interest in the past.