Author: Ximena Santiago
Italy. A 21-year-old man was killed when part of a crucifix fell on him Saturday in the town of Cevo. Another man involved in the accident is said to be in critical condition at a hospital in the northern region of Italy. The incident occurred during a ceremony before the canonization of former popes John Paul II and John XXIII, which occurred Sunday. The large sculpture was created by Italian designer Enrico Job to honor Pope John Paul II’s visit to the area in 1998. It is still unknown why part of the structure collapsed at the ceremony, but this is not the only death caused by a falling crucifix on record in Italy. In 2004, a 72-year-old woman died after a 7-foot metal cross fell on top of her in the town of Sant’Onofrio.
Japan. The Nakizumo baby contest was held in Japan Saturday, where hired sumo wrestlers attempted to bring babies to tears. This tradition is based on the old Japanese proverb, “naku ko wa sodatsu,” meaning, “crying babies grow fastest.” The wrestlers do not harm the babies, but they make strange faces, noises and bounce the children to see which cries the fastest; they also shout “naki” or “cry” in an attempt to make them cry faster. Japanese parents that enter their babies into the contest believe the ritual will scare aware demons and bring good health. The first child to cry is declared the winner, but if two cry at the same time, the louder one wins. This 400-year-old ritual takes place in cities all over Japan on Japan’s Children’s Day holiday.
Cuba. The island country is currently experiencing a shortage of condoms. Thus, the public health system approved the sale of one million prophylactics with expired dates that they now claim are wrong. Pharmacies are explaining to customers that the condoms can still be used but have incorrect expiration dates printed on the packaging. The Communist party newspaper Vanguardia reported Saturday that the condoms have been ordered for repackaging with the correct dates. This decision arose after many citizens complained that they were worried about the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and abortions. The Cuban government consequently published a list of companies authorized to ship condom packages to the island.
United States. Postal workers protested a recent decision to incorporate United States Postal Services into Staples office supply stores in Washington D.C. Thursday. The American Postal Workers Union is worried that the move could threaten government jobs. According to Union President Mark Dimondstein, the original plan in the agreement was to have postal employees working behind the counter at Staples, but now Staples has placed its own staff behind the Postal Services counter. The USPS is one of the largest employers in the country and has complained that “the people of this country deserve to have their postal services performed by well-trained, uniformed postal workers.”
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