It’s a Weird World
Baby-makers bed for free in Italy
ROME — Hotels in the Italian city of Assisi are doing their bit to boost the country’s flagging birth rate by offering a free holiday to couples who conceive there.
Ten hotels are offering refunds or a free future stay to guests who fall pregnant under the Fertility Room campaign.
Guests will simply have to produce a birth certificate to prove the baby was born around nine months after their stay in the medieval city.
“Giving birth to a child is an act of deep love, which should be encouraged despite the multitude of difficulties in life,” organizers said as the campaign launched on Friday.
Local tourism councillor Eugenio Guarducci, the man behind the initiative, said the aim was to encourage travel to the Umbrian town in central Italy -- the birthplace of Saint Francis -- and help reverse Italy’s low fertility rate.
Italy has the lowest birthrate in the European Union and one of the lowest in the world, with only eight babies born for every 1 000 residents in 2015, according to EU figures released in July. — AFP
China websites block ‘Fatty Kim’ searches
BEIJING — Chinese websites have again blocked searches for “Fatty Kim the Third”, as many Chinese mockingly call North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with China’s foreign ministry saying it did not approve of ridiculing foreign leaders.
Chinese internet users began reporting last week that searches on the Twitter-like microblogging site Weibo and search engine Baidu for the expression returned no results, the normal sign that something is being blocked despite its wide usage.
The term - which refers to the weight of Kim, his father and grandfather - was last blocked in September after neighboring North Korea’s latest nuclear test.
Kim is unpopular in China because of his country’s repeated nuclear and missile tests.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said reports the government had banned the search term “did not accord with the facts”.
“What I want to stress is that China has always dedicated itself to constructing a rational, cultured and healthy environment for public opinion,” Geng told a daily news briefing.
China “does not approve of insulting or ridiculing language to address any country’s leader”, he added, without elaborating. — Reuters.