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Pot Pourri

Japanese women ditch Valentine’s tradition of ‘obligation chocolate’
Tokyo: Japanese women have ditched a workplace tradition that dictates they must give chocolates to male colleagues on Valentines Day, with growing anger at the practice of “forced giving”, the media reported on Monday.
The tradition is called “giri choco” which literally means “obligation chocolates”, the Guardian reported.
Some companies were now banning the practice, which is seen by many workers as a form of abuse of power and harassment.
A survey found that more than 60 per cent of women will instead buy chocolates as a personal treat on February 14.
More than 56 per cent said they would give chocolates to family members, while 36 per cent would make the same gesture towards their partners.
Only 35 per cent said they planned to hand out chocolates to men at their workplace, according to the survey conducted by a Tokyo-based department store.
“Before the ban, we had to worry about things like how much is appropriate to spend on each chocolate and where we draw the line in who we give the chocolates to, so it’s good that we no longer have this culture of forced giving,” one of the surveyed office workers said.
Giving chocolate as Valentine’s Day gifts took off commercially in Japan in the mid-1950s, growing into a multimillion-dollar market.
Japan Airlines will hand out chocolates to passengers – male and female – on all of its domestic and international flights on February 14, while a hot spring resort near Tokyo has unveiled a bath filled with steaming “chocolate water”. (IANS)

Indonesia police use snake to terrorise detainee
Jakarta: Police in Indonesia on Monday admitted using a snake to terrorise a detainee during interrogation in Papua province, after a video of the incident went viral on social media.
The video shows the detainee, accused of theft, with his hands tied behind his back and a snake wrapped around his neck while he screams in fear. The officials interrogating him laugh and bring the snake’s head near his face, reports Efe news.
Papua Police spokesperson Suryadi Diaz said action has been taken against the officials but he also justified the use of the reptile as part of the interrogation.
“Inhumane treatment against West Papuans is regularly reported. The culture of impunity there makes West Papuans just let it go and not pursue further,” human rights lawyer Veronica Koman told Efe.
Koman added that the use of snakes in interrogations has been reported on previous occasions, also against activists calling for the independence of the provinces of West Papua and Papua.
The western half of the island of New Guinea belongs to Indonesia, a territory rich in natural resources and the scene of a separatist conflict since its independence from the Netherlands in 1963. It was annexed by Jakarta after a contested UN-sponsored referendum in 1969.
The eastern half of the island is the independent state of Papua New Guinea. (IANS)

Hungary to give women with 4or more kids life tax exemption
Budapest: Hungary’s anti-immigration prime minister says the government is greatly increasing financial aid and subsidies for families with several children.
The measures announced Sunday by Prime Minister Viktor Orban during his “state of the nation” speech are meant to encourage women to have more children and to reverse Hungary’s population decline. They include a lifetime income tax exemption for women who give birth to at least four children. Orban said such policies are “Hungary’s answer” to downward demographic trends, “not immigration.” Orban repeated his assertion that European Union leaders in Brussels want to fill Europe with migrants from other continents. With European Parliament elections set for May, he said that unchecked immigration would create “mixed populations” in countries that Muslims eventually would dominate and Christians quickly would become a minority. (AP)

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