Notes and shorts from around the world


Unhappy anniversary
Citizens of North Korea have been banned from showing any outward signs of happiness for 11 days, to mark the tenth anniversary of the death of their former “Dear Leader”, Kim Jong Il. Residents of the hermit state have been told they must not laugh, drink alcohol or partake in leisure activities during the mourning period. Kim Jong Il ruled North Korea from 1994 until his death on 17 December 2011, aged 69. He was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Un. To mark the anniversary, a grim faced and notably thinner Kim joined hundreds of officials in a ceremony outside the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where the bodies of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung (the founder of the ruling dynasty) lie in state under glass. On that day, North Koreans were also banned from shopping for food.
Rented cells
Denmark is planning to rent 300 prison cells in Kosovo to reduce overcrowding in its own jails. Copenhagen will pay the Balkan state 210 million Euros as part of a ten year agreement that was due to be signed recently. Some of that money will be spent on creating green energy schemes. The prisoners sent to the Kosovar jail will be foreign nationals due to be deported at the end of their terms. The facility will be run by a Danish warden, and Copenhagen says conditions will be equivalent to those in a Danish jail, but critics have questioned how it can guarantee this. Denmark (population 5.8 million) has more than 4,000 prisoners in its jails – up 19% since 2015, owing in part to a rise in gang violence.
Together again and again and again
A couple in Taiwan married each other four times in 37 days, in an attempt to enjoy an extended honeymoon. The groom, an unnamed bank worker, was seeking to exploit a law requiring companies to give newlyweds eight days’ paid leave. He argued that as he had married four times (having divorced his wife three times), he was due 32 days of marriage leave. But his efforts were in vain: the bank declined to grant him the extra holiday, saying he had abused the law. After a lengthy legal battle, he quit, saying they still owed him 24 days’ holiday.
Springsteen’s sale
Bruce Springsteen, netted a reported $500 million by selling the master recordings and publishing rights for his life’s work to Sony.
Bons mots
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius, ancient Chinese philosopher and statesman

Scroll to Top