Dozens of global cities will participate in Earth Hour to turn off their lights and non-essential electrical appliances for one hour at 8pm (local time) on March 29, 2008. [More info]

Earth Hour 2008 logo

Earth Hour is the highlight of a major campaign to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to take the simple steps needed to cut their emissions on an ongoing basis.

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Graziano Cecchini, the guerilla artist who infamously turned Trevi Fountain into a red pool last October, has stroked again.

Cecchini released half a million of coloured plastic balls from the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome on Wednesday (Jan 16)… a prank similar to the famous Sony Bravia commercial.

Cecchini said that he had done the stunt to raise the profile of Burma and the Karen people. He and his three other ‘compatriots’ are later arrested.

The Karen is a minority who have fought for an independent state since 1949, and accuse the military junta of ethnic cleansing. [BBC]


Videos of Graziano Cecchini’s prank (left) and the Sony Bravia’s bouncing balls commercial

The inhabitants of the San Bartolomé de Pinares village in Spain performed the traditional Luminares fiesta on the eve (Jan 16) of Saint Anthony’s Day.

The riders rode horses through fire in honour of St Anthony, the patron saint of animals…

Horse and rider through fire at Luminares fiesta Horse and rider through fire at Luminares fiesta Horse and rider through fire at Luminares fiesta
Some gutsy fellas and amazing horses… (Image courtesy of Xinhuanet)

The 5th Simitli’s Festival of Masquerade Games was held on Jan 12, with 1500 participants parading in different kind of masks.

Festival of Masquerade Games in Simitli Festival of Masquerade Games in Simitli
Festival of Masquerade Games in Simitli Festival of Masquerade Games in Simitli
Weird mask and costumes at Festival of Masquerade Games in Simitli (Image courtesy of Xinhuanet)

Masquerade games are popular in Bulgaria and the Balkan region, with people celebrating (and competing) the events in ancient Thracians (and other cultural) costumes. The largest event of its kind is The International Festival of Masquerade Games, which is held in the town of Pernik every even year in January.

Simitli is a small village at the south of Pernik; their masquerade games is relatively new and smaller than Pernik but gaining popularity for its more funky and bizarre masks and costumes.

The owner of a German company is being sued for unfair dismissal – after he fired three non-smoking workers and replaced them with smokers who ‘fitted in better’. [Metro]

They were sacked on the grounds that they would ‘interfere with corporate peace’, after they requested a smoke-free environment.

Thomas Jensen, the manager of the 10-person IT company in Buesum, told the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper he had fired the trio because their non-smoking was causing disruptions.

Germany introduced non-smoking rules in pubs and restaurants on Jan. 1, but Germans working in small offices are still allowed to smoke.

“I can’t be bothered with trouble-makers,” Thomas was quoted saying.

“We’re on the phone all the time and it’s just easier to work while smoking. Everyone picks on smokers these days. It’s time for revenge. I’m only going to hire smokers from now on.”

The Italian army has been sent to bulldoze 100,000 tonnes of rubbish that has piled up in the streets of the southern city of Naples.

The government is to hold an emergency meeting to find a solution to the rubbish crisis. Naples dustmen stopped collecting rubbish two weeks ago. With nowhere to put it local people are forced to burn it. The fire brigade has been struggling to put out the fires.

Rubbish crisis in Naples, Italy Rubbish crisis in Naples, Italy
Rubbish crisis in Naples (Image courtesy of Xinhuanet)

Rubbish collection is a perennial problem which has plagued Naples and its politicians for some 15 years. The government is conscious it is under severe pressure to find a solution – but this means tackling the mob.

The Camorra, the Neapolitan version of the Mafia, has turned this into a hugely profitable business. They have sabotaged every effort to build hi-tech incinerators, so that Naples must rely on landfill sites, where they can hide the domestic and industrial waste, which they chuck in from all around the country.

Millions of tonnes of it have been dumped illegally in the sea or in the countryside, untreated and highly toxic. Doctors say cancer rates in Naples are much higher than the national average. [BBC]

I won’t be surprise if this kind of rubbish and health crisis is happening in a 3rd world country; it’s unthinkable that it is happening in Italy… the story is good enough to make into a movie.

A creative advertisement to push some sales while raising social awareness…

Creative Campbell fight hunger ad setting from Leo Burnett
Creative advertisement + public service [Hat tip to Neatorama and Directdaily]

Canadian ad agency Leo Burnett came up with this idea of Campbell’s Soup setting…

In a grocery store 4,820 cans of Campbell’s Soup were used to build an installation piece that spelled HUNGER. Signage beside the piece encouraged shoppers to buy one and donate it to their local food bank. As shoppers bought cans from the display the word HUNGER slowly disappeared. This allowed people to see how their individual effort could help bring an end to the problem of hunger.

We know the French eat escargots (snails), but I didn’t expect that snail eggs (or snail caviar) could become a delicacy as well…

Snail caviar becoming a delicacy in France
Snail eggs becoming special delicacy in France (Image courtesy of Xinhuanet)

Snail farmers in France occasionally produce some snail eggs… but the caviar are not really tasty. Dominique and Sylvie Pierru, a couple of snail farmers from Soissons in the Picardie region northeast of Paris, has found a way to make the snail caviar into tasty stuff.

Their snail caviar, called “De Jaeger”, hit the shelves in October 2007 and retails for 80 euros (USD115) per 50 grams. Despite the high pricing, the snail caviar is in high demand during the Christmas season as food lovers in France are always eager to explore new gourmet experience.

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