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Fishing with Condoms in Cuba

They are the world’s most popular birth control product, but in Cuba, condoms are also ingeniously used to catch expensive ocean fish that they would not otherwise be able to reach.

In a country where the communist government is extremely paranoid about illegal emigration to the United States, and strictly controls who can own and use boats, “balloon fishing” has become a very cheap and effective way of catching fish like red snapper, barracuda and tarpon without having to leave the shore. The secret to this unusual fishing technique – latex condoms.

Fisherman along the Havana seawall use inflated condoms to create homemade floats that carry their lines as far as 900 feet into the ocean and keep the bait high in the water. As soon as they hit the surface of the water, the strong current starts pulling it out to sea, far beyond casting distance, and when a fish takes the bait, the line pulls free, and all fishermen have to do is reel it in. It’s a very simplistic yet surprisingly effective fishing method that puts food on the table for hundreds of Cubans. “It’s amazing how strong they are,”Michel Perez, a young fisherman along Havana’s Malecon sea wall, praised the condoms.

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Chinese Company Forces Employees to Eat Live Worms for Not Meeting Sales Target

Chinese companies have been known to subject their employees to some of the most unusual and degrading punishments imaginable, but this latest one takes the cake. According to recent new reports, a company Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, decided to punish who failed to meet their sales targets by feeding them a disgusting cocktail of baijou liquor and live mealworms.

The degrading punishment was reportedly carried out in in a plaza in downtown Hanzhong, where 60 company employees were summoned for an outdoor meeting. Witnesses took to the internet to report that the group of young workers was approached by a a man carrying bags of live mealworms, who proceeded to pick various numbers of them with chopsticks and drop them in plastic cups full of baijou. Employees who had failed to reach their sales quota were asked to step forward and drink the gag-inducing cocktail.

Five or six poor-performing employees were reportedly asked to drink the worm-infested baijou in front of their colleagues. One of the employees, who chose to remain anonymous, later told the Huashang Daily newspaper that each of the “offending” workers had to swallow four worms for every client they lost.

One of the recipients of the brutal punishment was a pregnant woman, who refused to drink the cocktail for fear of losing the pregnancy. “I can’t eat worms now, I can’t drink either, unless I don’t want my baby,” she reportedly told the sales manager. Eventually, a male colleague received the cruel punishment on her behalf.

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Ejiao – The Chinese Miracle Cure Decimating the World’s Donkey Population

Ejiao, or donkey skin gelatin, is considered one of the three treasures of traditional Chinese medicine. It is used to treat a wide range of ailments from simple colds to insomnia and impotence, and demand in the Chinese market is soaring like never before. Millions of donkeys are slaughtered all around the world and their hides transported to China to be melted into the miracle gelatin that many believe will keep them looking youthful and even prolong their life.

Dong’e county, in northern China, is the epicenter of ejiao production. Here, over 100 factories melt thousands of donkey hides into gelatin, every week, and after running out of domestic stock, they are now relying on imports from developing countries to sustain the huge demand. China’s donkey population has dwindled from 11 million during the 1990s to just 6 million today, due to both industrialization and massive slaughtering for ejiao. With local stock of donkeys going dry at an alarming rate, some factories have opened their own farms to breed and kill up to 10,000 donkeys a year, but with some of them processing over 1 million donkey hides in the same period, it’s hardly a sustainable plan. Which is why many factories have turned their attention to the foreign market.

Various countries in Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East are supplying millions of donkey skins for the Chinese ejiao market. With the price for donkeys having skyrocketed from around $65 a decade ago to $315 today, some livestock breeders are switching to donkeys exclusively, because the trade is so profitable. But some governments have already banned China from buying their donkeys because they realized that it would eventually decimate the animal population. In September, Nigeria announced a ban on the export of donkeys in September, after the trade increased three times in one year, mainly to Asian markets. “If the export continues the animals will be decimated,” Atte Issa, a Nigerian government official told the BBC.

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Russian Politician Sacked for Recording Workout Video in Funeral Parlor

A regional Russian official was recently expelled from the ruling United Russia political party for recording a bizarre workout video at the workplace – a creepy funeral parlor – and posting it on her Instagram account. You can say that she gives the phrase ‘dying to lose weight’ a whole new meaning.

Anastasia Myakina was head of United Russia’s faction in the Shelekhovo District Assembly in the Irkutsk Region, as well as the manager of a state-owned local funeral parlor. Until recently, she was considered a successful business woman in her home town, but then she made the grave mistake (pun intended) of recording a short workout video at the workplace. In the bizarre footage, which has gone viral online, she can be seen smiling as she squats in front of the camera, with tombstones, funeral caskets and wooden crosses in the background.

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Former Math Teacher Banned by Bookmakers for Winning Too Much

A former math teacher from Camden Town, England, claims betting shops won’t take his bets anymore after he devised a system that guarantees he wins every time without any risk of loss.

Richard Saul, who calls himself the “wizard of odds”, claims that he has bet tens of thousands of pounds on horse races over the last three years, but in the last few weeks, all but one bookmakers in Camden Town have stopped taking his bets. “They should take the bet, but they don’t because I keep winning. I don’t think your average punter would be able to work out how to do it. In Camden Town, only Jennings will take my bet now – and they will only let me do it once, that’s all,” Saul complains. “[Elsewhere] the staff go on the phone, then after two minutes they come back and say, ‘we can’t take this bet’. I’ve gone on accounts online, but they won’t take it there either.”

The math expert believes that his recent ban by bookmakers has to do with his guaranteed-win system. He came up with it when betting shops started introducing higher payouts for “each-way” horse racing bets. Usually, an each-way bet means that the fourth-placed horse pays a quarter of the horse’s odds of winning, but some high street bookies  expanded the offer to include a fifth-place horse, in order to attract punters. That’s when Saul figured out that by betting on every horse with different stakes, he could guarantee himself a win.

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Man Allegedly Lives with Snake He Thinks Is His Dead Girlfriend Reincarnated

According to a Facebook post that recently went viral, a man devastated by the death of his girlfriend grew very attached to a 10-foot cobra which he believes is his lost partner reincarnated. For the last couple of years, the two have been inseparable, doing everything together, from watching TV to going to the gym.

The bizarre story was originally posted on the Facebook page of one Worranan Sarasalin from Kanchanaburi, Thailand, along with a set of photos of the man and his beloved cobra in various circumstances. Sarasalin, who covers a variety of local news stories on a daily basis, claims that the unnamed man developed an unusual connection with the large reptile after noticing a “Striking resemblance” to his deceased girlfriend and becoming convinced that she had come back to life as the serpent.

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Company Delays Employees’ Monthly Salary So They Wouldn’t Spend It on Junk on Chinese Black Friday

This year’s Singles Day, China’s version of Black Friday, is scheduled to break sales records, but the employees of one catering company in Chonqing will not be able to spend as much money on discounted items as they would have liked, because their employer decided to hold their paychecks until after the holiday, so they wouldn’t spend their hard earned money on junk.

Workers recently found out about management’s controversial decision through a notice posted at the main entrance of the company. The document mentioned that instead of receiving their paychecks on November 10th, as usual, they would have to wait until next month, but only because their 31-year-old boss was worried that they would waste their salaries on junk they didn’t even need. He let them know that he himself had spent almost 20,000 yuan ($2,942) during last year’s sale, which included a 8,000 yuan ($1,176) computer he never even uses. So to keep them form making the same mistake, he decided that their money’s safer with him.

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Russian Officials Use Photoshop to Fake City Cleanup, Again

Russian authorities in the city of St. Petersburg recently came under fire after it was discovered that they had used digital editing software like Adobe Photoshop to fake the cleanup of a local lamp post.

Last week, a resident of St. Petersburg submitted a request on the local government official website asking that a lamp post covered with obscene advertising stickers be cleaned. This Tuesday, an employ of the St. Petersburg administration responded to the complaint, letting the person know that the job had been done, even posting a photo of the cleaned up lamp post as proof. It had apparently been scrubbed of advertising materials, but after taking a closer look, a number of users noticed that the infrastructure element depicted in the photo didn’t look quite right.

Zooming into the picture, it was revealed that the lamp post in question had been given the “spray can” treatment to create a two-tone speckled grey effect over the stickers. And as if the shoddy digital cleanup wasn’t obvious enough, someone even noticed a bizarre “blob” of white digital spray paint suspended in mid air by the right of the infrastructure element.

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Guys Attend Bachelor Party, Come Home with Adorable Puppies

When most guys attend bachelor parties, the only thing they come home with is a nasty hangover, but groom-to-be Mitchel Craddock and seven of his friends each returned with an adorable puppy.

Craddock of Vicksburg, Michigan, took family and friends to the woods in Tennessee for a 5-day bachelor getaway, but on their first morning there, they noticed a dog outside the front door of their cabin. “We were cooking bacon with the door open. The next thing you know, there’s this dog sitting right at the front door. She wouldn’t come inside, but she sat right there,” he recalled in an interview. “She was very friendly but very skittish— I thought maybe she had been booted out of a house before.” The dog refused their repeated invitations to come inside, but the guys noticed that she was hungry and thirsty, so they offered her food and water, both of which she wolfed down almost instantly.

The dog was so well behaved that Mitchell and his friends were sure that she belonged to someone, but after their first encounter she remained at their cabin. “We’d ride for 4-5 hours, or go into town, and every time we’d come back she would  either be sitting on our doorstep or under one of our trucks,” he told Mlive. He and his friends had noticed that the dog, which they had named Annie,after Little Orphan Annie, had had puppies, but her milk supply had apparently dried up. After three days of regular meals and lost of water, Annie started producing milk again, and seeing her running to the back of the cabin and barking in alarm every time a vehicle went down the road near the woodline, the guys decided to investigate.

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Man Lives as Full Time Grey Jedi

46-year-old Kevin Cottam is not the world’s biggest Star Wars fan, but for the last two years he has never left home without his iconic Jedi robe and trusty lightsaber. He is the UK’s only full-time Grey Jedi.

Cottam says he became a follower of Jediism six years ago, after doing some research online. He had become frustrated by all the rules most religions follow so he decided to look for something more suitable. “Before becoming a Jedi, I was a Zen Buddhist, but I was frustrated with the different precepts and mandates that came with the religion,” he says. “I researched other religions online and came across the Djedi of ancient Egypt, which inspired the Jedi in Star Wars.”

He learned that Jediism didn’t have any holy texts or commandments, only three basic laws: the cycle of knowledge, wisdom and compassion. Through the application of knowledge we gain wisdom, and through wisdom we become compassionate. He felt that this simple principle provided more guidance that thousands of restrictive and often times nonsensical rules ever could. So he decided to ditch Zen Buddhism for Jediism and became a Grey Jedi. “All Jedi believe there is a force that creates everything. But unlike the Jedi and Sith, who see the force as light and dark (ie good and bad), the Grey Jedi see it simply as a natural force. It is how we use the force that dictates whether it is good or evil,” he says.

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Desperate Young Woman Sells Herself Online to Help Cancer-Stricken Mother

In a desperate attempt to raise money for her sick mother’s cancer treatment, a 19-year-old girl in China recently posted a message on the Asian country’s most popular social media platform, WeChat, saying that she was selling herself to the highest bidder.

In her post, Cao Mengyuan says she was born and raised in a rural home in Gaozhou city, southern China. Her 45-year-old mother, who had worked as a farmer all her life, was recently diagnosed with skin cancer and her health was deteriorating very fast. Doctors told the young girl that the treatment for her mother’s illness would cost about 350,000 Yuan ($51,500) which the family could not afford to pay. And since the woman doesn’t have medical insurance either, the 19-year-old decided that, as the eldest of five children in her family, it was up to her to somehow come up with the money, by any means necessary. So she decided to sell herself online.

“I wish that a kind-hearted person could buy me, so my mother can undergo the operation,” the post states. “After the transaction, I am willing to work at the will of the buyer in return. I will do whatever the buyer asked me to do. I never go back on my word. Everything I said is true. I will sell myself to the highest bidder.”

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German Town Builds Huge Stone Wall to Separate Locals from Refugees

The Munich suburb of Neuperlach Sud has nearly completed a giant stone wall meant to separate the local population from around 160 unaccompanied child refugees set to move into a nearby shelter. The 4-meter-high barrier will be taller than the Berlin Wall (3.6 meters).

After the local government decided to build a large refugee shelter approximately 100 meters from a residential estate, the people of Neuperlach Sud went to court to have a stone wall separating their community from the migrants. One of their arguments was the fear that the prices of their homes would plummet if there was nothing to separate them from a group of refugees that could be there for many years. They also expressed concern about the noise that might be coming from their new neighbors. The judge of the Administrative Court in Munich approved their request, and now the large stone wall is almost complete.

“Donald Trump wants to build a wall for Mexico, and we in Munich Neuperlach build one to keep us safe from refugees!” one Neuperlach Sud couple told a local newspaper.

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Chinese Mall Opens “Husband Nursery” Where Men Can Relax While Wives Shop

There are few things that men hate more than going on long shopping sprees with their wives or girlfriends, so one Chinese mall has come up with the “husband nursery”, a special place where guys can kick back and relax while their better halves shop till they drop.

Just as mothers drop their young kids at the nursery to be looked after while they tend to their daily business, so to can wives and girlfriends leave their male partners at the husband nursery located on the third floor of the newly-opened Vanke Mall in the Minhang district of Shanghai. Instead of having to put up with their miserable-looking faces as they follow them around through dozens of shops, women can leave guys in this special room to kill time by watching TV, reading magazines, sitting in a massage chair or taking a nap in of the comfortable armchairs.

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Woman Awarded $35,000 Compensation by Restaurant after Waiter Pours Boiling Soup on Her

A Chinese court ordered a hot pot restaurant to pay 237,000 yuan ($35,000) to a female customer after an angry waiter poured scalding soup on her during heated argument.

The incident occurred in August of last year, at a branch of ‘Mr Hot Pot’ restaurant, in Wenzhou, eastern China. The victim, referred to only as Ms. Lin, was having dinner with members of her family, including her mother and her seven-year-old daughter, when she got into an argument with their waiter over the amount of water in her hot pot. The man walked away as Lin was complaining to him, so she decided to vent by posting a negative review of the restaurant on social media, referencing one of the managers in her post. Online reviews are a big deal in China, as most customers choose where to eat by reading customer reviews.

After seeing her review, the furious waiter returned to Ms. Lin’s table and asked her to remove the post. She refused, so he went back into the kitchen, grabbed a large pot of boiling soup and poured it all over the dissatisfied patron. But he didn’t stop there. Footage captured by CCTV cameras show the 17-year-old waiter pulling the shocked woman backwards in her chair, knocking her head against a counter in the restaurant and the floor, and kicking her with his legs. The raging young man continued to hit her even as six people struggled to restrain him.

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Elementary School Has Correctly Predicted Every U.S. Presidential Election Since 1968

Students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, in Yorktown Heights, New York, have been casting their votes to determine the winner of each presidential election, since 1968, and for the past 48 years, they’ve gotten it right every time.

Every four years,  just days before the actual presidential election, the elementary school sets up mock voting booths and invites its students – from kindergarten to fifth grade – to cast their ballot for the candidate that they think would deserve to become president of the United States of America. But it’s the process leading up to the vote that’s genuinely interesting. The students spend months learning about the candidates, who they only know as ‘Candidate A’ and ‘Candidate B’, focusing on policy and real issues, instead of on their personality and popularity. “We talk about exact facts and issues and put them on two sides of a spreadsheet. Then the students debate the facts in class,” principal Patricia Moore says.

Eventually, the kids are told which candidate they had been siding with, and with this last piece of information in mind, they are ready to cast their vote. The same scenario been unfolding every four years since 1968, since Tom McAdams, a fifth-grade social studies teacher initiated the tradition, and the kids have predicted the result of the election every time.

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