China is to open its first Western-style fast-food restaurant. Donald Duck is to lead the hamburger and french - fries revolution. Western kitchen equipment, tables and chairs have been installed, and a red neon sign saying ‘Fast Food’ in English.
‘We think we can sell 3,000 hamburgers a day,’ says the director of the Peking Food Industry Office. Hot dogs, french fries, ice cream, fried chicken and pancakes Will be sold alongside hamburgers. The restaurant is to serve as a model for at least three other hamburger outlets in Peking this year.
From New Straits Times, Malaysia, 20.2.84.
2-1 against smokers
Non-smokers now outnumber smokers 2-I in Britain, according to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the anti-smoking pressure group. Its deputy director, Patti White, said she regretted the loss of 1,200 jobs because of falling cigarette sales, but felt the job losses should be seen in context: 1,200 people die every four days, she said, as a result of smoking.
From Daily Consumer News, UK, 9.1.84.
Hold that jab
Cholera vaccination is still encouraged by ill-informed doctors, airlines, travel agencies and some governments, although over ten years ago it was established as ineffective and even harmful, according to Earthscan.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the vaccine unnecessary more than a decade ago. But 20 countries - including Egypt, Libya, Zambia and the Sudan, - still officially require it. The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh has shown that the vaccine can only give protection to very young children already exposed to the germ, and only for three to six months. Large-scale vaccination programmes are a waste of money - and can even be dangerous. In the developing world, they help spread hepatitis and other diseases through inadequately sterilised needles.
India now produces more grain than any other nation apart from the US, USSR and China. Wheat production has increased by 300 per cent in the last two decades. There is enough grain per capita to feed its entire population. And in terms of individuals trained in science and technology. India ranks third in the world, behind the US and USSR.
But, as even Joan Holmes in the Wall Street Journal says, 46 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line - defined as a meagre $110 a year. The issue,’ writes Holmes, ‘is no longer one of absolute scarcity of food, but rather purchasing power to buy the food.’
From World Development Forum, 2/2.
‘African marriage rituals are getting too expensive,’ according to Winnie Ogana of Nairobi’s Sunday Nation. ‘Newly-weds begin their married lives on a miserable, debt-ridden footing,’ she says, ‘Most people now hold pre-wedding parties. The couple invite close friends to a fund raising.’
Worse is to come. ‘It is not unusual to hear of a couple wanting to part during their first year of marriage. The cause? Loan repayment problems.’
Pill illegal in Japan
In Japan, the Pill is still not legally usable as a contraceptive. As recently as autumn 1983, the Ministry of Health stated: ‘We have no plan for legalising pills for contraception. They are to be utilised for a long period of time by women and since we have no proof that they are safe, we are not going to permit them to be sold in the market.
‘At present the pills are used as "normalisers" of difficulty in menstruation. It is illegal to advertise on the packet that pills are for contraception.’
From Consumer Currents. No. 66.
Robots paying union dues
Should robots pay union dues? This question came up recently among union members at Fujitsu Fanuc, one of Japan’s leading robot manufacturing companies.
After losing many of its members to robots at a plant in central Japan, the union announced that it faced bankruptcy. Then management came up with a novel idea: it would pay union dues for each robot and keep the union on its financial feet.
From International Labour Reports 1/84.
Save the panda
About a quarter of the 1,000 or so giant pandas still living wild in China face starvation. Forest clearance for agriculture has destroyed much of the bamboo that pandas eat.
China has set up 12 panda reserves. Experts see saving the panda as a way of preserving large areas of unstudied bamboo forests, preserving other animal species in them and also plants which may prove important to medicine and agriculture. The government encourages peasants to provide meat, maize and sugar cane to pandas who come near the villages.
From Earthscan Bulletin, 7/1.
The invisible woman
The five-man US delegation to the preparatory meeting of the International Conference on Population was exactly that - five men. No women. So reports the Coalition for Women in International Development, which monitors US policy related to women in development issues.
The delegation to the population conference itself, to be held in Mexico City in August, has not yet been named.
From World Development Forum 2/5.
Ad-men reckon that half the battle when launching a new car can be won by presenting the right image. But they don’t always get it right.
Ford introduced a glamorous new model in Mexico and, after much name-searching, came up with ‘Caliente’. But they quickly changed it to the unromantic’S-22’ when dealers pointed out that in Mexican caliente means ‘street-walker’.
General Motors didn’t have any greater success when they marketed their Chevrolet Nova in Mexico. Sales were slow - and so was the name of the car: in Mexico, no to means ‘doesn’t go’.
From Consumer Currents, No. 66.
Guns for sale
A sign of the times in Brazil: a recent issue of the weekly Veja carries a full-page colour advertisement for Taurus pistols and revolvers, which can be paid for either by credit card or in 24 instalments, with no deposit.
‘Be prepared against the unexpected. You’ll feel safer with a Taurus.’ Of course, it adds, guns should only be used in situations of extreme necessity but security is within easy reach. The pistols begin at a mere $88.
From LAWR 83-47.
Help us keep this site free for all
New Internationalist is a lifeline for activists, campaigners and readers who value independent journalism. Please support us with a small recurring donation so we can keep it free to read online.