No tattoos for tourists
The Ministry of Culture said tourists should be banned from getting religious tattoos because the practice was culturally insensitive. Minister of Culture Niphit Intharasombat said his office had received complaints from residents that tattoo parlors were etching sacred images of Buddha and other religious images onto the skin of non-Buddhist visitors across the country. Niphit said in a statement on the ministry’s Web site on Thursday that “foreigners see these tattoos as a fashion ... they do not think of respecting religion, or they may not be aware” it can be offensive. He called on tattoo shops to stop the practice.
Climate researchers at the Australian National University have been rushed to a secure location after receiving death threats, an official said yesterday, as debate rages about plans for a carbon pollution tax. The scientists had to be shifted following mounting abuse, with threats they would be attacked in the street if they didn’t stop their research, university vice chancellor Dick Young said. The menacing e-mails and phone calls had intensified in recent weeks amid heated public debate over Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s plans to introduce a tax on carbon emissions aimed at reducing pollution.
Obama fan suspended
Authorities suspended a customs inspector for having a photo taken of himself with US President Barack Obama’s passport as the leader entered France for the G8 summit, a union said on Friday. The inspector annoyed traveling US officials by posing for a picture after stamping Obama’s passport as the White House delegation arrived on May 26, local radio station France Bleu Cotentin reported. “The American officials who handed over the passports of their delegation did not appreciate it,” said Philippe Bock, a local customs workers’ representative of the Solidaires labor union, confirming the report. “The punishment came quickly,” he added, saying the inspector was suspended for two weeks and was likely to be transferred to another department.
Long-time saver honored
A woman in Ohio has been treated to a birthday party at her bank — where she still holds the same savings account her father opened for her in 1913. June Gregg turned 100 on Thursday. She recently mentioned to a friend that her account with a Huntington Bank branch in southern Ohio dated back to before World War I. Branch manager Doug Shoemaker did some digging and confirmed it was true. He said the account number changed just once, when Columbus-based Huntington acquired what had been called the Savings Bank in Chillicothe. The bank manager said the account has helped the woman become financially comfortable.
‘Geronimo’ Pratt dies at 63
Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, a member of the African-American Black Panthers movement who was wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years, has died at the age of 63, his sister Virginia said. Pratt died on Thursday in a small village in Tanzania where he had been living, she said, but did not give a cause of death. Pratt became a symbol of racial discrimination when he was jailed in 1972 for allegedly killing a woman and seriously wounding her husband in a mugging that netted him just US$18. The conviction was overturned in 1997, and a federal judge later approved a US$4.5 million settlement.