Global Quickies: Halloween in China, Ghosts in India, and Ebola Paranoia in Italy

Daniela is taking a short break from the Global Quickies–but she will be back! In the meantime, here is the news of the world from the past week.


Check out In Focus‘s Photos of the Week, which includes scenes from Hungary, China, India, Hong Kong, and Sri Lanka.


Beijing Police Clamp Down on Halloween Costumes in the Subway – “Ghosts are an integral part of Chinese culture, and Chinese children are increasingly celebrating the Western festival of Halloween, both privately and in parties at state schools with candies and scary costumes. But this year, with the Chinese capital about to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting, the Beijing police want less Halloween drama in public, particularly in the subway.”

11 Arrested in China for Digging Up and Selling Women’s Corpses as Brides – “The bodies are sold to families of dead bachelors for as much as $3,000, as part of an age-old custom called a ghost marriage.” Even in death, these poor women can’t have a minute of peace.


The Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago, but Germany is still divided – “Next week, Germany will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and at first glance, it seems as if the country is more united than some nations that were never split. But numbers and images illustrating differences in lifestyles and problems between East and West Germans tell a different story. While 75 percent of Germans who live in the east said they considered their country’s reunification a success in a recent survey only half of western Germans agreed. And that’s not the only distinction indicating that the separation of the past prevails today.”


Hungary internet tax cancelled after mass protests – “Large-scale protests began on Sunday, when demonstrators hurled old computer parts at the headquarters of Mr Orban’s ruling Fidesz party. The draft law – condemned by the EU – would levy a fee on each gigabyte of internet data transferred. The protesters objected to the financial burden but also feared the move would restrict free expression and access to information. The levy was set at 150 forints (£0.40; 0.50 euros; $0.60) per gigabyte of data traffic.”


An Indian courthouse is investigating some unusual suspects: ghosts – “New Delhi, the country’s sprawling capital that is home to 16 million people, is known as the ‘City of Djinns,’ a reference to the genies from the Islamic tradition still said to inhabit the city’s shrines and graveyards. News of the courthouse haunting, thus, ‘will bring relief to people who feared Delhi’s age-old djinns and spirits are being driven away by the process of gentrification,’ the news Web site Scroll noted drolly. But there’s a darker side to such beliefs. In tribal areas of eastern India, women are still accused of being witches — blamed for everything from crop failure to infertility — beaten and sometimes killed. Villagers with little access to health care often turn to shamans, or faith healers, for help. Last year, a prominent Indian rationalist who long advocated for an anti-black-magic law was gunned down while on his morning walk in the western city of Pune.”


Why SodaStream Will Disengage From the West Bank – “After years of facing boycotts and public-relations battles, SodaStream—purveyor of popular home soda makers—has announced that it will be moving its factory from an Israeli settlement in the West Bank to a small Negev town in southern Israel. The company says the move will take place by mid-2015.”


‘They said I have Ebola’: Angry bus passengers attack Guinean woman in Rome – “A teenage girl who was on the bus with her friends saw Sompare and began accusing her of having the deadly virus. Then some of the teen’s relatives started beating the woman. “They told me that I had Ebola and that I had to get off the bus,” said Sompare, who has been living in Italy for four years.”


With Mexican Students Missing, A Festive Holiday Turns Somber – “Mexican families are celebrating the Day of the Dead this weekend, a festive holiday, where relatives remember deceased loved ones with grand, floral memorials in their homes as well as at cemeteries. But in the southern state of Guerrero, the mood is decidedly different. Authorities there are still searching for 43 students abducted last month by police working for drug traffickers and crooked politicians in the town of Iguala.”

The faces of Mexico’s missing students – “None of those involved have met the families of their subjects, but they say that is not necessary. Bef says he’s helping his subject Bernardo’s relatives by ‘making more people aware’, while Güerogüero says that he wants Carlos’ family to know that ‘thousands want justice’.”


The Feminist Who Could Change Nigeria – “In this clip from The Supreme Price, a new documentary by filmmaker Joanna Lipper, civil rights activist Hafsat Abiola laments the structural obstacles that have plagued Nigeria for more than five decades. As the daughter of pro-democracy leaders M.K.O. and Kudirat Abiola, who were killed in the 1990s amid the twilight years of Nigeria’s military junta, Hafsat founded a non-profit in her mother’s name devoted to the social, political, and economic advancement of women.”


Why Is North Korea Freaked Out About The Threat Of Ebola? – “North Korea has a number of serious public health woes: malnutrition, tuberculosis and cardiovascular disease, just to name a few. Ebola isn’t one of them. The disease hasn’t hit anywhere in Asia, much less this isolated and rarely visited Northeast Asian nation. And yet state television has been broadcasting daily segments this month to raise awareness of the disease. A Beijing-based Spanish cameraman was banned from a visit because Spain was considered a risk. An official Japanese delegation visiting Pyongyang earlier this week was greeted by men wearing hazmat suits.”


Activists condemn Singapore court gay ruling – “Human rights groups have condemned a Singapore court’s decision that a law banning gay sex is constitutional. The Court of Appeal on Wednesday rejected two legal challenges arguing that the law, Section 377A, infringes on gay citizens’ rights. Under Section 377A, men who engage in ‘gross indecency’ privately or publicly can be jailed for up to two years.”

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Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. Man, feminists ruin everything!
    Nigeria just wants to sell women as property. It’s an age-old tradition that’s withstood the test of time. What’s next, secularism? PFAH

  2. Note that SodaStream’s disengagement puts 900 Palestinian Arabs out of a job. Gratz, white saviors!

    Oh, news from China: The UN has put Wu Hongbo in charge of indigenous issues. Given the Chinese government’s history with indigenous peoples, I’m pessimistic.

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