World News

Things Around the World You Didn’t Know Were Banned

Lip-synching, jogging and samosas. Do you know what all of these things have in common? Though seemingly innocuous, each one has been outlawed somewhere in the world.

In some cases, these bans were instituted very reasonably, in response to political unrest, to preserve health and public safety, or to honor religious doctrine. But there are also a surprising number of things — including, yes, gold teeth, sandcastles and the honey-loving bear Winnie the Pooh — that have been banned without legal justification, often due to the machinations of a power-drunk dictator.

If you’re keen to learn the why behind some of the most bizarre items and activities ever banned, keep reading.

Popular in South East Asia, the durian fruit has the round shape of a large cantaloupe, and its outer shell is covered with thick stubs that are reminiscent of porcupine skin. But beyond its odd physical appearance, what people tend to remember about the durian fruit is its foul and pungent odor.

When the late Anthony Bourdain was asked to describe the smell and taste of durian fruit, he said it’s “indescribable, something you will either love or despise…Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.”

Food writer Richard Sterling has also described it in less-than-glowing terms, once comparing it to “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock.”

The smell is so bad that Singapore has banned the fruit from mass transit, and some taxi drivers will refuse to pick up passengers in possession of it.

However, despite its stinky reputation, durian is used heavily in South East Asian cooking, and some believe the fruit can tame fevers and serve as an aphrodisiac.

World News

Dutch family living in isolation on farm for 9 years

Dutch authorities were Tuesday trying to piece together the story of a family found living isolated from the outside world in the rural east of the Netherlands.

The authorities found a father and six adult children hidden in the basement of a remote farmhouse where they had reportedly spent years “waiting for the end of time”. Some of those freed “had no idea that other people existed,” the station added.

Mayor Roger de Groot said that the family is believed to have lived for nine years on the farm in Ruinerwold, 130 kilometers (80 miles) northeast of Amsterdam.

Drone images of the farm showed a cluster of buildings with a large vegetable garden on one side. The small property appeared to be ringed by a fence and largely obscured by trees.

“I have never come across anything like this before,” de Groot told a press conference. He told reporters the siblings were aged from 18-25. He said their mother is believed to have died “a number of years ago.”

Local police said in a tweet that officers visited the farm after being alerted by somebody “concerned about the living conditions” of its residents.

Police said they arrested a 58-year-old man who rented the property, but it wasn’t immediately clear why or what his relationship was to the family. Police said he wasn’t the father.

Police investigating the farm found “a number of improvised rooms where a family lived a withdrawn life,” De Groot said in a statement.

Local bar owner Chris Westerbeek told broadcaster RTV Drenthe that he called police after a man “with a confused look in his eyes,” with unkempt hair, a long beard and old clothes walked in to his bar and ordered five beers for himself.

“He said where he came from, that he’d run away and that he needed help urgently,” Westerbeek said.

De Groot said the police investigation is looking into “all possible scenarios,” but didn’t elaborate.

He said the family was now “in a safe place receiving appropriate care and attention.”

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Albanian News World News

Albanian students moving to Germany. 46% more residence permits

The trend of Albanian students opting to study abroad has been growing recently. Most of them are directed to European universities. Data published by Eurostat showed that European Union countries have granted 2360 new residence permits to Albanian students. In relation to the previous year, the number has increased by 17%.

The number of students seeking to study abroad has increased year after year. In 2014, the European Union gave students 1627 residence permits issued for the first time. Since then, their number has been increasing, especially in the last two years.

In 2017 the number of permits granted to Albanian students was 2025.

Among the main reasons for the departure, apart from the academic achievements, is the dissatisfaction with the education in the country. In December of this academic year, students from universities throughout Albania rose to protest for more qualitative education, tariff reductions and improved conditions in auditoriums and dormitories.

Everyone toward Germany

Like for employees, Germany is the main destination for migrant Albanians for study purposes. During 2018 781 residence permits were issued, about 46% more than the previous year. A year ago, 535 residence permits were issued.

After Germany, the highest number of residence permits for reasons of education has Italy. According to Eurostat figures 526 permits were granted to Albanians, out of 337 that were released a year ago.

Third place is France with 2015 residence permit, followed by the United Kingdom with 156, Austria with 132 and the Netherlands with 83 permits.

The highest stock of Albanian students was registered in Italy and Greece, where most of the emigrants with a residence permit are also concentrated. But in recent years the tendency has been growing in the west.

Not just in the west

Residence permits are also issued by Eastern European countries. According to data for 2018, the Romanian state issued 78 permits, followed by Bulgaria with 73 permits.

Will the students return?

At a time when emigration indicators are growing at a slower rate, the probability of returning students going to study abroad is very small. Except students are taught livelihoods in the study countries, the chances of finding a job that is as well paid in Albania are low. Depressed for study reasons are mainly young people. Their departure affects the demographic composition by accelerating the aging of the population in the country, even in the outbreak of “brain”, as they pose the potential for skilled workforce in the country. /MONITOR

World News

Protesters in Albania try to smash into government HQ

Thousands of protesters have hit the streets of the Albanian capital Tirana to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Some of them broke through a police cordon by throwing petrol bombs and flares. They then began trying to smash down the doors of the building housing Rama’s office.

Several windows were smashed and a dozen protesters tried to get inside but were pushed back by police.

Demonstrators were also seen trying to dismantle scaffolding that protects an illuminated canopy, a piece of artwork dear to Rama at the front of the building.

The protest, organised by opposition parties, called for Rama to step down amid allegations of corruption.

Rama, who won a second term as Albania’s PM in 2017, announced yesterday he wouldn’t be in Tirana for the protests.

“February `16 will be the last day of Rama’s power,” declared Lulzim Basha, head of the Democratic Party, the centre-right opposition.

His and other opposition parties are calling for the formation of a government that would call early parliamentary elections.

They accuse Rama of colluding with organised crime and plunging the country into corruption and misery.

World News

The zoo from hell: Lion with an agonising infected eye languishes in dirty cramped cage along with zebras and wolves in Albania

The zoo from hell: Lion with an agonising infected eye languishes in dirty cramped cage along with zebras and wolves in Albania

  • Several animals appear malnourished and mistreated at Safari Park Zoo in Fier, Albania
  • Photographs taken by activists show a lion with an eye injury living in a cramped cage
  • The private zoo is also home to a wolf, a zebra, several deer, monkeys, and a bear

Albanian authorities are being urged to take action against a private ‘safari park from hell’, after new photos appeared to expose the shocking conditions the zoo.

Pictures taken at the Safari Park Zoo in Fier, southwest Albania, show a ‘severely malnourished’ lion living in cramped conditions with what appears to be an untreated eye injury.

Other animals, including a zebra, a thin-looking wolf and several deer, were seen locked up in desolate concrete cages in the privately-owned zoological park.

The images were reportedly taken by an anonymous photographer, determined to expose the conditions at the zoo.

The images show lions and other animals languishing in desolate, dirty concrete cages surrounded by their own waste and without even the most basic provisions such as fresh water and shade.

The photographer claimed vets who have visited the macabre facility described what they were greeted with as ‘some of the worst animal welfare conditions they have ever seen’.

They said: ‘All the animals are kept in tiny, unhygienic concrete cages with no possibility to retreat from the elements or from the prying eyes of visitors to the zoo.

‘The animals suffer from a range of physical and psychological issues caused by the miserable conditions, improper veterinary care and lack of an appropriate diet.’

The photographer said that as well as the animals seen in the images, there are also a bear and monkeys, as well as three adult lions thought to have been there since they were cubs.

It is understood they were among around 14 lion cubs born at the zoo. The rest are thought to have died, been sold or simply been given away to friends of the owner.

International animal welfare organisation Four Paws, which has has been active in Albania in recent years, called the situation at the zoo ‘absolutely unacceptable’.  For more: