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.