UN recognizes ‘washoku’
The UN cultural organization has added traditional Japanese food to its cultural heritage list, making it only the second national cuisine to receive the prized designation. A UNESCO committee announced the decision on Wednesday at a meeting in Azerbaijan. Previously only French cooking had been distinguished as a national culinary tradition. UNESCO has also recognized specific dishes from Mexico and Turkey, and added the Mediterranean diet — the tradition of sharing food and eating together — at this week’s meeting. Known as washoku, the traditional cooking embraces seasonal ingredients, a unique taste and a style of eating steeped in centuries of tradition. The government hopes that UNESCO recognition will both send a global message and boost efforts to save washoku at home.
Tibetan sets self alight
A father of two set himself on fire in protest at Beijing’s rule in Tibetan regions, triggering clashes and a security crackdown, a US broadcaster and an overseas pressure group said yesterday. Radio Free Asia (RFA) said Konchok Tseten, 30, torched himself in Aba Prefecture, Sichuan Province. He was severely burned, and local Tibetans clashed with police as they tried to stop them from taking him away, sources told RFA. London-based campaign group the International Campaign for Tibet named the man as Kunchok Tseten, and said his wife and some relatives were believed to have been taken into custody.
PM nets pig semen deal
Local farmers will begin exporting pig semen to breeders in China next year, officials said on Wednesday, as they try to cash in on the Asian superpower’s growing consumption of meat. The deal, involving fresh or frozen sperm from four artificial insemination centers in England and Northern Ireland, was agreed during Prime Minister David Cameron’s three-day trade visit to China this week. Cameron’s office said the deal could be worth ￡45 million (US$74 million), although the farming ministry said the figure also included live pig exports. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson also used the trip to lay the groundwork for a deal to export trotters from pig farmers. “Pig trotters at home will often go to waste, but in China they are a real delicacy,” he said in a statement.
No iPhone for Obama
The troubled mobile phone maker BlackBerry still has at least one very loyal customer: President Barack Obama. At a meeting with youth on Wednesday to promote his healthcare law, Obama said he is not allowed to have Apple’s iPhone for “security reasons,” but he still uses an iPad. Apple was one of several tech companies that may have allowed the National Security Agency direct access to servers containing customer data, according to revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The companies deny the allegation.
‘Newsweek’ to resume print
Nearly a year after Newsweek published what it called its final print edition, the magazine said it would begin producing a weekly print edition as early as next month. Newsweek editor in chief Jim Impoco told the New York Times on Tuesday that the new magazine would be “a premium product, a boutique product” — with a higher price than its predecessor. He said the publication plans to rely more on subscribers instead of advertisers to support production costs.
A CAUTIONARY TALE: Bookseller Lam Wing-kee speaks of the danger that his adopted home Taiwan now faces and the ordeal of his detention in China Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) leaned forward in his chair, answering quickly and sharply to issue a warning to the people of his new home, Taiwan. “Be ready now,” Lam said. “We should be more alert as citizens, we should get ready,” the 64-year-old Hong Konger said. “If they can take Hong Kong back, the next place, I feel, is Taiwan.” Late in Taipei at Causeway Bay Books Mark II, on the 10th floor of a nondescript building, Lam, a wiry, gray-haired bookseller, was sitting at his desk with a bemused gaze behind thin oval glasses. The desk was neat, but crowded with books and a
‘POLICE EVERYWHERE’: A law that would criminalize the publication of images of police officers was passed by the National Assembly and awaits Senate approval Violent clashes erupted in Paris on Saturday as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest against new security legislation, with tensions intensified by the police beating and racial abuse of a black man that shocked France. Several fires were started in Paris, sending acrid smoke into the air, as protesters vented their anger against the security law, which would restrict the publication of police officers’ faces. About 46,000 people marched in Paris and 133,000 in total nationwide, the French Ministry of the Interior said. Protest organizers said about 500,000 joined nationwide, including 200,000 in the capital. French President Emmanuel Macron late
Not enough beds and not enough doctors: a skyrocketing COVID-19 caseload is pushing hospitals in the Balkans to the cusp of collapse, in chaotic scenes reminding some medics of the region’s 1990s wars. After nearly a year of keeping outbreaks more or less under control, the nightmare scenario that the Balkans feared from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is now starting to unfold. In hard-hit Bosnia-Herzegovina, one doctor described the distress of having to juggle the care of multiple patients whose lives were hanging by a thread. “The situation reminds me of the war, and I’m afraid it could get even worse
The genteel world of New Zealand pottery has been rocked by a row over plans for a ceramic dildo-making workshop, sparking allegations of bullying and online abuse. Ceramicist Nicole Gaston said that she wanted the Wellington Potters’ Association to hold the event with Iza Lozano, a visiting Mexican artist who has conducted similar workshops in her homeland. Gaston said that pottery dildos are easily sterilized, can be warmed and, unlike latex versions, do not pose the risk of leeching chemicals into the body. “Some of the oldest ceramic works ever found are of phalluses,” she said. “This isn’t exactly brand new. People have