World News Quick Take

Agencies

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 - Page 7

SRI LANKA

Monks to eat more healthily

New guidelines were unveiled on Sunday encouraging devotees to donate low-sugar, healthier food to the country’s Buddhist monks after warnings that half of them risk developing diabetes. The nation’s monks eat food containing on average 12 teaspoons of sugar a day, but it should be reduced to a maximum of eight, while salt intake must also come down sharply, the health ministry said. “Diabetes and other non-communicable diseases among Buddhist monks can be reduced if the faithful follow the new diet guidelines,” the ministry said adding that alms should not include more than one dish containing cooking oil. Fifty percent of the island’s 40,000 venerated monks face the risk of diabetes compared to the national average of 10 percent and the clergy also suffers a higher risk of heart disease, the ministry said. Buddhism is the religion of the majority of the nation’s 20 million people, who believe offering meals, cakes, biscuits and sweets to monks will bring them good karma in this life as well as in the next. The food is made with great care and is often extremely rich.

GERMANY

Survey reveal east-west split

The majority of eastern Germans regard their western compatriots as “arrogant” and mostly interested in money, according to a new survey that highlights distinct east-west identities. More than 22 years after the nation’s reunification following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, a major study by the Allensbach Institute showed that easterners held strongly negative views of westerners, but high opinions of themselves. The study found that 71 percent of easterners believe westerners are “arrogant,” 57 percent see westerners as interested primarily in money, and 45 percent believe westerners are “shallow.” “East Germans have practically only negative views of west Germans,” wrote Welt am Sonntag newspaper, which published excerpts of the Allensbach study on Sunday. “By contrast, the self-perception of east Germans is overwhelmingly positive.” The survey commissioned by east German universities found that 69 percent of easterners call themselves “modest,” 63 percent see themselves as “reserved” and 58 percent call themselves “inventive.”

NEPAL

Ancient quake highlights risk

A mega-quake in 1255 that wrecked the Nepalese capital and wiped out a third of the population of Kathmandu Valley was of a kind that may return to the Himalayas, seismologists reported on Sunday. Experts mapped deposits of river sediment displaced along part of the fault line where the Indian subcontinent slams into the Asia tectonic plate. With the help of carbon dating, they found that the soil movement in one place was caused by a huge quake that coincided with the great event of July 7, 1255. More than six centuries later, there was another surface-breaking event, correlating to a magnitude 8.2-event in 1934. Until now there had been no evidence of surface ruptures from the collision of these plates.

UNITED KINGDOM

Policeman arrested for leak

A policeman has been arrested for suspected involvement in leaking details of a British Cabinet minister’s foul-mouthed outburst toward officers patrolling Downing Street. Andrew Mitchell resigned in October as the government’s chief whip. In his resignation letter, he denied newspaper reports that he had called police “plebs,” but admitted using bad language to officers after they stopped him going through the main Downing Street gate on his bicycle.