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The Shocking Story of a Cuban Community Who Chose to Infect Themselves with HIV to Escape Persecution

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would voluntarily infect themselves with one of the deadliest viruses in human existence, but for “Los Frikis” – a Cuban punk community living under the regime of Fidel Castro during the 80s and 90s – injecting themselves with HIV-infected syringes was the easiest way to escape persecution and police harassment.

Los Frikis, the name than became synonymous with punks, metalheads and pretty much anyone who didn’t fit in with mainstream Cuban society, came together during the late 1980’s. Their music, dressing style and culture were influenced by that of similar communities in the United States and other European countries, something that didn’t sit well with Fidel Castro’s communist regime. Most of the bands also sang in English, which only made things worse for Frikis in general. Although the language was purely an aesthetic choice, speaking English in those days was considered a huge no-no.

Breaking social norms was a risky affair in 1980s Cuba, and the Frikis paid a high price for it. Many of them were rejected by their families, harassed, arrested and forced to do manual labor for their “crimes”. Los Frikis would meet in safehouses located in run-down areas, but other than that they didn’t have many places where they felt accepted. Tired of the constant persecution, many of them  took up a form of protest that can only be described as extreme – infecting themselves with HIV by injecting the blood of their sick friends into their veins.

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Indian Textbook Encourages Kids to Kill Cats as an Experiment

The authors of a Class IV textbook in India recently came under fire, after it was revealed that in a lesson on the importance of breathing they were literally encouraging the kids to do an experiment involving suffocating a cat.

It sounds hard to believe that a school textbook for environmental studies could teach children as young as 9 years old to kill an animal as an experiment, but it’s sadly true. Twitter user Lola Kuttiamma shared photos of the book passages concerning the absurd experiment, and people understandably were outraged about it. “Living things breathe”, the textbook explains. “No living thing can live without air for more than a few minutes. “You can do an experiment. Take two wooden boxes. Make holes on lid of one box. Put a small kitten in each box. Close the Boxes. After some time open the boxes. What do you see? The kitten in the box with no holes has died.”

Wow, is that educational or what? And they’re not even suggesting using adult cats, but cute little kittens. Not that grown cats would have made it any more acceptable, but kittens just make it sound even crueler. And if you thought things couldn’t possibly get worse, you were wrong. The textbook, entitled “Our Green World: Environment Studies”, also features a couple of pictograms, with one kitten alive and well in the box with holes in it, and the other, well, dead.

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This Pocket-Sized Device Connects to Your Phone to Let You Know When You Stink

The KunKun, Japanese for “sniff sniff”, is a bizarre device developed by Japanese corporation Konika Minolta that detects bodily odors like smelly feet or underarm sweat and notifies the user about them via a smartphone app.

So, yeah, the days of smelling your own armpits when nobody’s watching to see if they stink are over, thanks to modern technology. Now you can just wear the KunKun everywhere you go and find out when you’re starting to stink just by checking your phone. It’s small enough to fit in a coat pocket, so no one will ever know you’re carrying it, and features sensors that pick up specific chemicals associated with three types of bodily odors. It can detect ammonia and isovaleric acid, chemicals known to produce that nasty sweaty locker-room smell, but also 2-nonenal, which is associated with old age and diacetyl, a controversial organic compound that makes yo smell like “rancid cooking oil”.

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Welcome to Catzonia – World’s First 5-Star Hotel for Cats Opens in Malaysia

Temperature-controlled rooms, king-size beds, a dreamy playground and gourmet chow are just some of the things felines can enjoy at Catzonia, the world’s first five-star hotel for cats.

Located in Damansara, just outside Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Catzonia was set up to offer pampered felines a lavish holiday whenever they need a break from their daily routine, or when their loving masters are away and can’t offer them the attention they deserve. Featuring a total of 35 rooms split into four categories, Catzonia is manned by a crew of feline lovers who promise to play with the guests, groom them and generally make sure their stay is as comfortable as possible.

“We believe that cats need holidays too,” the Catzonia Hotel website states. “They always prefer to be treated as a boss. It means the environment must be felt like home, always being cuddled and hugged, and most importantly they don’t want to feel lonely.”

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Rent Is Too Damn High So This Family of Five Moved into an Old School Bus

Three years ago, Brian Sullivan and his wife Starla lived in a rented apartment that cost them $1,500 a month plus utilities. At one point they decided it wasn’t worth it anymore, so they bought an old school bus and turned into a comfy home for their big family.

It was in March 2014 that 29-year-old Brian and his wife Starla, 26,  of Renton, Washington, got tired of wasting so much money on rent. The apartment was over an hour away from Brian’s workplace, and he had to work overtime just so they could afford the rent. Plus, they wanted to be homeowners and spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos of people building their own tiny houses, or converting all kinds of things into comfortable living spaces. It was one of these videos that convinced them to take a leap of faith, so in April 2014, they bought a disused school bus for $2,800, and spent another $30,000 turning it into a home for their three kids.

“The apartment was about an hour away from Brian’s work and the commute was awful,” Starla says. “He would work overtime trying to pay the rent, then he would sit in a car for three hours and we would never see him, so we decided to make a change. We pay a third of the cost now and we have money to pay off debts and student loans!”

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Louis Vuitton Makes Rulers Now and They’re Crazy Expensive

It’s no secret that Louis Vuitton is one of the most expensive luxury brands in the world, but what you probably didn’t know is that they also make rulers. Yes, the kind kids carry in their pencil cases, only cooler looking and way more expensive.

There’s no point beating around the bush, the Louis Vuitton ruler costs a whopping $175. It’s a small 15-centimeter ruler, so that’s over $11 per centimeter, and even taking into consideration the brand, and the fact that it’s lined with high-quality leather for comfort, I still can’t wrap my head around the idea that anyone could pay so much for a stationery item. Maybe the trademark four petal flowers in the form of stencils will sweeten the deal for fans of the brand, but still, that’s almost $200 for a freaking kids’ ruler!

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70-Year-Old Italian Man Holds Guinness Record for Most University Degrees

Luciano Baietti, a retired school headmaster from the town of Velletri, in Italy, holds the Guinness record for the most university degrees. The 70-year-old currently has 15 bachelors or masters degrees from various universities across Italy, and is getting ready to get his 16th.

Getting more than one college degree is not exactly unheard of, but 15 is apparently quite impressive, since it’s only been done by one man. Although he spends his days working around his house and garden, like most people his age, at night, Luciano Baretti turns into a student again. Every morning, at 3 a.m., as most of the world is sleeping, he wakes up, takes out his books and studies by the light of his desk lamp. He claims that studying helps keep his mind active and that every degree he has obtained has helped broaden his knowledge of the world around him. Plus, getting mentioned in the record books is a nice perk too.

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Young Lottery Winner Says $1.6 Million Prize Ruined Her Life

Jane Park was only 17 years old when she won the £1 million ($1.6 million) Euromillions jackpot, four years ago. She was ecstatic at the time, but Park has recently revealed that she plans to sue the lottery for negligence. She claims that winning so much money at a young age has ruined her life, and argues that argues that people under 18 should not be allowed to play the lottery.

Ms. Park was working as an admin temp, earning $13 an hour, when she won the lottery. She now owns two properties, drives a Range Rover and can afford all the designer clothes and handbag she used to only dream of. But that doesn’t mean she’s happy. If anything, splurging on these material things sometimes just makes it worse, to the point where she feels that her life has no real meaning. It’s definitely not how she pictured her life when she went public as Britain’s youngest Euromillions lottery winner, four years ago.

“At times it feels like winning the lottery has ruined my life. I thought it would make it 10 times better but it’s made it 10 times worse. I wish I had no money most days. I say to myself, ‘My life would be so much easier if I hadn’t won’,” Jane said. “People look at me and think, ‘I wish I had her lifestyle, I wish I had her money.’ But they don’t realize the extent of my stress. I have material things but apart from that my life is empty. What is my purpose in life?”

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Step into the Adrenaline-Filled World of Competitive Swinging

For most of us, swinging 360 degrees around the spindle of a swing set is a distant childhood dream, but for a group of adrenaline seekers in Estonia, it’s a passion they never grew out of. Not only do they still love defying gravity, but they actually created a competitive sport around their favorite pastime. That sport is known as “kiiiking”.

Swings are deeply embedded in Estonian culture, and you can still find various types of swings in villages and towns all around the country. They are used by children and adults alike, either for simple fun, or as a way for communities to bond during celebrations. So maybe it doesn’t come as a big surprise that Estonia has an extreme sport based on swinging. Some people see it as dull, others as pointless, but to those who practice it, kiiking is the coolest thing in the world.

As you might remember, swinging around the spindle of some playground swings was possible, but at the same time dangerous. From simple bruises to broken bones and concussions, there were a lot of things that could go wrong during such an attempt, which is why in 1993, an Estonian man by the name of Ado Kosk created a pair of wooden swings designed specifically for going all the way around the spindle. They were rudimentary contraptions made up of simple levers with a pair of wooden rods attached to a flat seat on one end and the rotating spindle on the other. Nobody knew it at the time, but that was when kiiking was born.

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Woman Leaves Husband of 22 Years Because of His Support for Donald Trump

President Donald Trump has been called many things ever since he announced his candidacy for President of the United States, and according to one California woman, you can add one more thing to the list – homewrecker. She claims to have left her husband after feeling betrayed by his decision to support Trump during the Presidential elections.

73-year-old Gayle McCormick, a retired prison guard from California who describes herself as a “Democrat leaning toward socialist”, says that she always knew that her husband of 22 years leaned right politically, but she still felt “betrayed” when he casually mentioned that he was going to vote for Donald Trump, during lunch with some friends. She recently described the revelation as a “deal breaker” that made her re-evaluate her marriage after over two decades. It turns out that the man’s support for Donald Trump was more than she could put up with, so she left him.

“It totally undid me that he could vote for Trump,” McCormick said. “I felt like I had been fooling myself, It opened up areas between us I had not faced before. I realized how far I had gone in my life to accept things I would have never accepted when I was younger.”

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Chinese Farmer Spends 16 Years Sudying Law So He Could Sue Chemical Company That Polluted His Land

A Chinese farmer with only three years of school under his belt has dedicated the last 16 years of his life to teaching himself law, hoping to bring down a state-owned chemical company that has been polluting his village and affecting his livelihood.

Wang Enlin, from Yushutun village, in China’s Heilongjiang Province, will never forget that day in 2001, when his village and the surrounding farmland were flooded with toxic waste. It was the eve of the Lunar New Year, and Wang and his neighbors were playing cards and making dumplings, when they notice that the house they were in was being flooded with waste water from the nearby Qihua Group, a state-owned enterprise. That same year, Mr Wang wrote a letter to the Land Resources Bureau of Qiqihar, complaining about the pollution, but during his dealings with officials, he was repeatedly asked to provide evidence that his village and the land he and his neighbors survived off of had indeed been contaminated.

“I knew I was in the right, but I did not know what law the other party had broken or whether or not there was evidence,” the 60-something farmer recently told reporters. The easiest thing to do would have been to hire a lawyer, but Wang and his neighbors could barely afford to put food on the table, so professional legal council was definitely not an option. But Wang Enlin would not give up so easily, and even though he had only attended school until Third Grade, he decided to study law himself and find out what kind of evidence he needed to collect.

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Japanese Buddhist Temple Holds Techno Memorial Services

In an effort to make his Buddhist temple more accessible to the wider public and draw younger generations to religion, a former DJ turned Buddhist priest has been holding “techno memorial services” at his temple in Fukui City, Japan.

Attending one of the unconventional memorial services organized at the Shō-onji Buddhist temple by 49-year-old Gyōsen Asakura feels more like a warehouse rave than a traditional religious experience. A kaleidoscope of psychedelic lights bathes the golden decorations of the temple, and electronic music ranging from IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) to breakbeats blends with chantings of Buddhist scripture.

The sight of a Buddhist priest wearing his traditional garb, but also sporting a pair of large headphones while operating a DJ station during his sermon only adds to the psychedelic feel of attending a techno memorial service at Shō-onji. It’s definitely a strange experience, but one that it is fulfilling its purpose of bringing people, especially youths, back to religion.

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The Cruel Spanish Tradition That Kills Tens of Thousands of Greyhounds Every Year

You probably already know about bullfighting and the controversy surrounding this ancient tradition, but there’s another less known tradition that claims the lives of tens of thousands of Spanish hunting dogs every year. And worst of all, nobody seems to want to do anything about it.

Galgos, or Spanish greyhounds, are an ancient breed of hunting dog that was once raised only by Spanish noble families. Today, these beautiful animals have been reduced to tools that modern-day hunters dispose of in a variety of gruesome ways as soon as the hunting season ends. The traditional explanation for their cruelty is that if the dogs have shamed their master by not performing to their expectations, this dishonor must be washed away by torturing and killing the animals, but in reality, it’s all about cutting costs. It makes more sense to them to buy new Galgos from a breeder for about 10 euros a piece, than spend money on feeding the ones they already own until the next hunting season. So they just get rid of them in the most appalling ways imaginable.

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Russian Man Single-Handedly Builds Snow Church in Siberian Village That Didn’t Have One

Alexander Batyokhtin, a 41-year-old man from the Siberian village of Sosnovka, spent six weeks shaping around 12 cubic meters of fresh snow into a three-meter high church, where his fellow villagers can now to say a prayer and light a candle.

There is no real church in Sosnovka, or in any of the nearby villages, for that matter, and people who want to visit a place of worship have to drive for tens of kilometers to the city of Omsk. This is often an impossible task for the sick and the elderly, and it was this unfortunate situation that inspired Alexander to use the most abundant resource in his village to build a temporary church. He had worked in construction for years, and even though he was forced to retire after being diagnosed with a serious illness, the man was determined to offer Sosnovka a place to celebrate Christmas and Epiphany in properly.

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Honk Kong Supermarket Sells Individually-Packaged Strawberries for $22

Looking for an original Valentine’s Day gift? How about a special Kotoka strawberry hand-picked in Japan that comes pre-packed in a special gift box? It’s said to be very tasty, and it only costs $22.

City’super, a supermarket chain in Hong Kong, has come under fire recently for selling what many have called “the most expensive strawberry in the world”. Priced at 168 HK dollars a piece, these Kokota strawberries are apparently hand-picked to ensure that only the finest specimens hit the market, and flown in from Japan. They come individually packaged in plastic-covered paper boxes, complete with a straw nest and Styrofoam “sock”, to emphasize their exclusivity. Photos of the ridiculously expensive “designer fruits” have been doing the rounds on social media in Hong Kong and mainland China, with most people declaring themselves appalled by the display of decadence.

The supermarket, which advertises itself as a “mega lifestyle specialty store”, has responded to the negative feedback by saying that the retail prices of its products are based on a number of factors, including purchase price, transport costs, market conditions and product exclusivity. City’super representatives also added that the supermarket was merely trying to offer “more choices of premium fresh produce to Hong Kong customers”, and that the Kotoka strawberries were intended as special Valentine’s Day Gifts. After all, who doesn’t find a $22 strawberry romantic.

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