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Striding angrily through the aisles with a retinue of glum executives in tow, Mr Putin came to a halt in the supermarket’s cold meat section and gesticulated towards a packet of sausages priced at just under £5. Rounding on Yuri Kobaladze, the chain’s head of corporate relations, Mr Putin demanded: “Why do your sausages cost 240 roubles? Is that normal?” “But these are high quality sausages,” Mr Kobaladze replied, looking crestfallen. With a look of relief crossing his face, the executive spotted some cheaper sausages. “Look, these ones are just 49 roubles,” he said. But the prime minister was not to be deterred. “Too expensive,” he muttered, before conjuring up a price list from his pocket. “I can show you your mark up. Look at this kind of sausage. You’ve marked it up by 52 per cent.” –“Vladimir Putin Humiliates Russian Supermarket Chiefs Over Expensive Sausages,” Adrian Blomfield, The Telegraph (via)
In my experience, “fatness” is not bemoaned much in the African countries I’ve visited… In fact, it’s applauded. I’ll never forget a church service I observed in which a preacher asked attendees to greet their neighbor joyously: “Today is your day of fatness!” Fatness, in this context, means more than just physique. It’s associated with wealth of all sorts. In a continent struck by poverty, being big in all things — wallet, house, and belt size — is a sign of success. I was often told to gain weight, and complimented on days when I apparently looked “bigger.” It’s an understandable mentality when poverty is all around; when one escapes such a fate, seeking all things non-poor is a prized goal. What is harder to justify is the way that the “big man” concept fits into corruption as well. Opportunities to get rich are often taken; and big men become exactly that in all senses of the word. –“Africa’s Newest Silent Killer: Obesity,” Elizabeth Dickinson, Foreign Policy
Just one drink can quickly go to your head. Researchers in Heidelberg tested this well-known adage. Only six minutes after consuming an amount of alcohol equivalent to three glasses of beer or two glasses of wine, leading to a blood alcohol level of 0.05 to 0.06 percent, changes have already taken place in the brain cells, as the scientists in Heidelberg proved using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Previously the only available data was from animal trials. –“From The Glass To The Brain In Six Minutes,” ScienceDaily
Rolls of toilet paper Chicago’s city government has produced this year from recycled City Hall wastepaper:
Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.
Russia lost, then regained, contact with a satellite carrying five geckos sent to copulate in zero gravity.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”