Nov 30, 2007

Akon officially charged for fan-tossing

A bad deal for Akon! Hip-hop star Akon has been officially charged in the highly publicized fan-tossing incident that took place in the summer in New York, after the fan said she suffered a concussion when the boy who was tossed off the stage by the singer landed on her.

According to the Associated Press, Akon is scheduled to appear in Fishkill Town Court on Monday morning (December 3) to be arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a minor, and second-degree harassment.

The singer was caught on video back in June where he was seen throwing a fan off the stage into the crowd wile he performed at the Annual KFEST concert at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, New York.

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Facebook changes Beacon

A good result of mass protest! More than 50,000 Facebook members have forced the social networking site to change the way a controversial ad system worked. Facebook users signed a petition calling on the company to alter or abandon itscontroversial Beacon advertising program.

When Facebook users shopped online, Beacon told friends and businesses what they looked at or bought. Many considered the data sharing to be an intrusion that exposed them to more scrutiny than was comfortable.

Now Beacon will be an "opt in" system that only tracks data if explicit permission is granted to Facebook to do so.

"It also says a lot about the ability of internet users to band together to make a difference," said Adam Green, a spokesman for activist site MoveOn. MoveOn was at the forefront of protests against Beacon and set up the petition to gather signatures on 20 November. Link

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Venus generates lightning

A good light on Venus! Planet Venus is a hellish place of high temperatures and crushing air pressure. The European Space Agency's Venus Express mission adds into this mix the first confirmation that the Venusian atmosphere generates its own lightning.

"In addition to all the pressure and heat, we can confirm there is lightning on Venus -- maybe even more activity than there is here on Earth," said Christopher Russell, a NASA-sponsored scientist on Venus Express from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Scientists currently know of only three other planetary bodies in the entire universe that generate lightning -- Earth, Jupiter and Saturn. The lightning on Venus is unique from that found on Earth, Jupiter and Saturn in that it is the only lightning known that is not associated with water clouds. Instead, on Venus, the lightning is associated with clouds of sulfuric acid. Link

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Cannon explodes during salute

A 200-year-old cannon, wheeled out by Indian villagers to greet a visiting minister exploded after being overstuffed with gunpowder. The explosion killed two men and injured several others.

Residents of Badoli village in western India's Rajasthan state had planned the gun salute on Tuesday evening, to welcome Kirodi Lal Meena, a state minister, the Times of India reported.

The minister left immediately after the accident. Reuters

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Nov 29, 2007

The RIOT Wheel

A wheel, a vehicle! The RIOT Wheel is a huge, heavy motorized single-wheel vehicle. This 1100lb motorized single-wheel vehicle carries the driver in the front. RIOT 2 and RIOT 3 are the next incarnations of original RIOT Wheel. Link

Watch a video on RIOT Wheel:

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Faberge egg auctioned for $18.5 million

A previously unrecorded Faberge egg fetched nine million pounds ($18.5 million) on Wednesday, setting an auction record for the jeweler, any Russian art object and any timepiece. The translucent pink egg contains a clock and animated cockerel and had never been seen in public before the sale was announced.

A spokesman for Christie's said a tense auction room burst into applause when the hammer went down. The piece, not publicly documented when it was made in 1902 for the Rothschild family, went to an unidentified private Russian buyer, he added.

Anthony Philips, a Christie's director, called the egg "one of the very best of Faberge's greatest creations,"

Faberge's eggs have become a byword for opulence and luxury ever since the young jeweler was commissioned in 1885 by Tsar Alexander III of Russia to make one as a gift for his wife Maria. Link

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Judge gets fired, after jailing everybody

A judge in America was removed from the bench on Tuesday for jailing 46 people after none of them would admit to having a cell phone that began ringing during his court session. Judge Robert Restaino of Niagara Falls, New York, was hearing domestic violence cases in 2005, when a phone rang.

'Every single person is gong to jail in this courtroom unless I get that instrument now. If anybody believes I'm kidding, ask some of the folks that have been here for a while. You are all going,' the judge said.

When no one came forward, the judge ordered the group into custody and they were taken by police to the city jail, where they were searched and packed into crowded cells. Later in the afternoon, after being told reporters were calling, the judge ordered the defendants released. Link

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Crossing Strait of Gibraltar on surfboard!

A quest for migration! Three African immigrants risk their lives trying to reach Europe on a windsurfing board. Strong winds and 10ft waves failed to deter the desperate trio from attempting the unconventional crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Only an early-morning ferry linking Tarifa in southern Spain with Tangier in Morocco saved them from becoming another statistic. The men told rescuers they had set out on their 20-mile crossing several hours before - but they were still close to the Moroccan coast because their plastic oars proved futile against the powerful currents.

Last night, they were facing fines and jail after being returned to Morocco and handed to police.

Officials fear many of the thousands of Africans who try to reach Spain illegally each year die in the process, but there is no way of knowing exactly how many. Link

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Nov 28, 2007

The hidden Hotel

A hidden hotel! You may have trouble finding Berlin's newest hotel - as it's hidden inside advertising billboards. The "Single Room Hotel" is a hotel and an art project, and is located on an area of wasteland in central Berlin which was once the "death strip" separating East Berlin from the West of the city.

Watch the video report from Reuters on this unique hotel. Link

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Mobile shelters for Smokers

A design for smokers! Non-smoking hotelier Chaz Charlton has invented an unique mobile smoking shelter for the smokers. Mr Charlton, who owns the Clifton Hotel on Portland, developed the idea alongside hotel manager Mark Pollard.

The mobile shelter - available to guests and staff - is an umbrella large and light enough for people to wear to cover their heads and shoulders.

Mr. Charlton said: "Basically, there was a planning issue when it came to putting up a smoking shelter. Plus, the Clifton gets strong winds coming off the cliffs from behind the hotel, so we couldn't put a shelter up there or out the front. So we came up with these shelters as a way for people to stand out the front and smoke and not worry about the wind and rain so much. These shelters have proven to be very popular with guests aged 18 to 65." Link

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The Koenigsegg CCX

A cool Koenigsegg CCX! The Koenigsegg CCX is a supercar from Swedish car manufacturer Koenigsegg, to replace the Koenigsegg CCR. CCX is an abbreviation for Competition Coupe X, the X commemorates the 10th anniversary of the completion and test drive of the first CC vehicle in 1996. The CCX is intended to be suitable for the United States market and thus engineered to comply with US regulations. A base model CCX costs approximately US$540,000 (€395,000) but with all optional extras the car costs US$600,000 (€440,000).

The CCX was first unveiled on February 28, 2006 at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show although its existence was announced earlier. The CCX is also available as the CCXR, the difference being that CCXR's engine is tuned to run on biofuel. The different fuel and tune allows the CCXR to produce 25% more power than the CCX. Link

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Spiral Galaxy NGC 3370

A nice view of Spiral Galaxy! NGC 3370 (also known as UGC 5887, nicknamed Silverado Galaxy) is a spiral galaxy about 98 million light-years away in the constellation Leo. It is similar in size to our own Milky Way. It was probably discovered by William Herschel between September 7, 1782 and his death in 1822.

NGC 3370 exhibits intricate spiral arm structure that is sprinkled with hot areas where new stars are forming. NGC 3370's center has well defined dust lanes and an unusually ill-defined nucleus. This galaxy contains a combination of young stars in the bluer regions and older stars in the yellowish core. The mass of NGC 3370 is estimated to be about the same as our own Milky Way at around 1011 solar masses. NGC 3370 is sometimes referred to as the Silverado galaxy. Link

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60 pounds of Marijuana from highway!

A highway cleanup crew in U.S. found two bags stuffed with marijuana along the side of Interstate 4. Yesterday morning, at 7:30 a.m., the crewmen were near McIntosh Road when they spotted two large, plastic trash bags on the side of the highway that were filled with approximately 60 pounds of marijuana!

The plants, valued at more than $54,000, apparently fell out or were thrown out of a passing vehicle. They appeared freshly cut and some had intact root balls. Investigators suspect the plants were harvested within the last 24 hours from a grow-house operation. Link

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Unusual deaths in 19th century

A list of some unusual deaths! Some deaths occurs in extremely rare or unusual circumstances. Here is a list of some prominent people, from 19th century, who died in some unusual circumstances. Source of information is Wikipedia.

William Huskisson: William Huskisson (11 March 1770 – 15 September 1830), was a British statesman, financier, and Member of Parliament for several constituencies, including Liverpool. He was crushed to death by the world's first mechanically powered passenger train (Stephenson's Rocket), at its public opening.

David Douglas: David Douglas (June 25, 1799 – 1834) was a Scottish botanist. Douglas undertook a plant-hunting expedition in the Pacific Northwest in 1824 that ranks among the great botanical explorations of a heroic generation. Douglas died when fell into a pit trap accompanied by a bull. He was gored and possibly crushed.

Matthew Vassar: Matthew Vassar (April 29, 1792–June 23, 1868) was a U.S. (English-born) brewer and merchant. He was the founder and eponym of Vassar College in 1861. He died in mid-speech while delivering his farewell address to the College Board of Trustees.

Allan Pinkerton: Allan Pinkerton (August 25, 1819 – July 1, 1884) was a U.S. detective and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton Agency, the first detective agency of the United States. He died of gangrene resulting from having bitten his tongue after stumbling on the sidewalk.

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Cool Mailbox designs

A cool Mailbox design! These designs reflects the creativity of the craftsman as well as the tastes of the owners. Have a look at the designs and get inspired to creat one. Also see: Unique Mailbox designs. Link

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Twins with two fathers

A Chinese man is suing for divorce after discovering that he is the father of only one of his twins. Liu Yuan of Nanjing city says he noticed the difference between the babies the day they were born, reports Longhu Network.

Liu says he started to be suspicious when the smaller baby turned out to have a different blood type, along with the fact that it doesn't look like him. Liu had his own and the two babies' DNA tested - and discovered that he was the biological father of only the bigger twin.

"My wife admitted that she'd had sex with her former boyfriend after we got married," he said.

Doctors explain that it's quite rare, but possible, since a man's sperm can survive for 72 hours in a woman's body. Link

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Nov 27, 2007

The Lord's Prayer on Pins

A pin head with The Lord's Prayer! Convicted forger A. Schiller was serving his time in Sing Sing prison in the late 1800s when guards found him dead in his cell. On his body they found seven regular straight pins whose heads measured the typical 47/1000ths of an inch or 1.17 millimeters in diameter. Under 500 magnification it was found that the tiny etchings seen on the heads of the pins were the words to The Lord's Prayer, which is 65 words and 254 letters long.

Of the seven pins, six were silver and one was gold - the gold pin's prayer was flawless and a true masterpiece. Schiller had spent the last 25 years of his life creating the pins, using a tool too small to be seen by the naked eye. It is estimated that it took 1,863 sepatate carving strokes to make it. Schiller went blind because of his artwork. Link

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Pics and Video of Sandstorm in Iraq

A sandstorm to remember! This sandstorm in Iraq was pictured on April 26, 2005. These amazing pictures tells about the power of this sandstorm. Take a look. Link

Watch a nice video. This Video shows the sandstorm covering a military base in Iraq.

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What to do during emergency?

A fun post! The US government has a good website, that offers advice on emergency. The fun thing is that some advice pictures are so ambiguous that they could mean anything! Here are a few interpretations below, from a parody site!

If you are sprayed with an unknown substance, stand and think about it instead of seeing a doctor.

If you spot terrorism, blow your anti-terrorism whistle. If you are Vin Diesel, yell really loud.

Radioactive materials come in 4 convenient sizes:
- individual dose
- family value size
- neighborhood spray pump size
- supersize!

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View of London from ISS

Do you recognize this intriguing globular cluster of stars? It's actually the constellation of city lights surrounding London, England, as recorded with a digital camera from the International Space Station (ISS). Taken in February 2003, north is toward the top and slightly left in this nighttime view. The encircling "London Orbital" highway by-pass, the M25, is easiest to pick out south of the city. Even farther south are the lights of Gatwick airport and just inside the western (left hand) stretch of the Orbital is Heathrow.

The crew of the International Space Station acquired this image shortly after 7:22 p.m. local time on the evening of February 4, 2003. Either thin, low clouds or perhaps fog is evident in the fuzzy character of patterns for some of the surrounding smaller cities while that of the warmer urban center is still clear and sharp.

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LHVs are Cheaper and Greener

A supertankers on the highway! Huge lorries called LHVs - longer, heavier vehicles - could soon be thundering along Britain's roads if the haulage industry gets its way. Many people believes that they are longer, cheaper and greener!

But is it possible in Britain? Britain is not, let's face it, a land blessed by wide-open, meticulously-maintained straight and empty highways. Britain is, in reality, an increasingly overcrowded island, served by a network of crumbling, narrow highways and byways, a motorway network nearly full to capacity and a slowly-rising road casualty rate. Link

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Nov 26, 2007

Camisole Day in Taiwanese Company

A Taiwanese lingerie company encouraged all its female office staff to go to work in their undies for the day. The Audrey Underwear company in Taizhong city named November 21 Camisole Day to celebrate record sales.

All 500 women working in the firm's headquarters were encouraged to wear only camisoles and knickers - much to the excitement of their male colleagues. More than 90% of female workers reportedly went along with the spirit of the day and worked in their underwear.

Zhang Yufeng, 32, a mother of two, admitted: "I have been on a strict diet to get ready for the day. When I was trying on my outfit at home, my husband told me I should dress like this every day."

Huang Bihui, PR manager of the company, explained: "We introduced eight new camisoles into market and sold more than 20,000 in less than two months so we named the 21st as Camisole Day." Link

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Five star treat for the Monkeys

A five star treat for the Monkeys! The town of Lopburi in Thailand celebrated its annual Monkey Festival over the weekend, laying out a lavish banquet for the more than 2,000 macaques that roam freely through it.

Locals believe that providing food for the monkeys, Lopburi's most famous residents, brings good fortune and prosperity. The feast is also a sort of "thank you" for the animals whose antics entice thousands of tourists to the town every year.

Twenty chefs from some of Bangkok's top hotels prepared the feast for the primates at the downtown San Pra Kan shrine. Two tonnes of grilled sausage, fresh fruit, vegetables, ice cream, milk and jelly were used for the feast. The treat cost more than 500,000 baht ($15,000). Link

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il Manifesto left hand ad

A creative ad for an Italian communist newspaper - il Manifesto. It was done by advertising agency: The Name of Rome, Italy. Creative Directors: Luca Albanese, Francesco Taddeucci. Art Director: Emanuele Pulvirenti. Copywriter: Filippo Testa. Photographer: Vincenzo Micarelli Link

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New anti-piracy plan in French

A new anti-piracy plan! French web users caught pirating or illegally sharing movies or music could soon be thrown offline. Thanks to a newly-created anti-piracy body granted the wide-ranging powers.

The group who brokered the deal said the measures were intended to curb casual piracy rather than tackle large scale pirate groups.

Net firms will monitor what their customers are doing and pass on information about persistent pirates to the new independent body. Those identified will get a warning and then be threatened with either being cut off or suspended if they do not stop illegal file-sharing.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the deal was a "decisive moment for the future of a civilised internet".

The agreement between net firms, record companies, film-makers and government was drawn up by a special committee created to look at the problem of the net and cultural protection. Link

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Nov 25, 2007

Interpretation of MySpace / Facebook / Friendster Photos

A funny interpretation of avatars/photos! Your avatar in MySpace or facebook can tell a lot about you, even if you have a tailor made avatar! Atleast, the Buttafly Guide to Interpreting MySpace / Facebook / Friendster Photos thinks so. Read it, just for fun. Link

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Difference between men and women

A machine that shows the sex difference! Take a look at the picture to understand the difference between men and women. What you think? What is the meaning of life? Link

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Fun with Politics!

A fun post on politics! Just for fun. What do you mean by politics? Can you explain the meanings of different terms used in politics? Let's try together with Politics Explained!

PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all of the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and put them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs as the regulations say you need.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

CAMBODIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and shoots you.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

PURE ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.

LIBERTARIAN/ANARCHO-CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

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Origami flower from dollar bills!

A cool video! This weekend, make a flower out of 3 bills. This makes a great tip for a nice dinner out or just a way to spend 20 minutes or so folding paper! This project is from Craft: Magazine Volume 5 and the origami was designed by Robert J. Lang and Diagrammed by Jeffrey Rutzky.

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Artificial cornea is coming

A good news for the blind people. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have invented an artificial cornea that may well be the key to restoring sight for our people with damaged corneas.

“Our artificial corneas are based on a commercially available polymer which absorbs no water and allows no cells to grow on it,” says IAP project manager Dr. Joachim Storsberg.

Researchers in Dr. Karin Kobuch’s working group at Regensburg University Hospital have already tested these corneas in the laboratory and found that their cells graft very well at the edge and cease growing where the coating stops. The optical center of the implant thus remains clear. The first implants have already been tested in rabbits’ eyes - with promising results. If further tests are successful, the technology will be tried on humans in 2008.” Link

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Underground Coal fire put out after 50 years

An underground coal fire has been snuffed out in China after decades of burning. This fire was in the Terak coalfield of Urumqi, in the Xinjiang region of China. It was the coal that was on fire — and had been for at least 50 years.

Such fires sound bizarre, but they aren't actually too unusual. Similar underground fires hit coal regions around the world: there’s a lot of fuel down there to burn. The fire covered some 923,500 square metres, fuelled by coal 100 metres below ground. Such extensive underground fires are not easy to tame.

The report from the Chinese Coalfield Fire Fighting Project Office says that they drilled into the ground and poured down slurry and water to remove heat, then covered the surface to cut off the oxygen supply. Even then, the area will be closely monitored until 2009 to check that it doesn’t reignite. The tiniest whiff of oxygen could set the whole thing going again. Link

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The Land Rover Defender SVX

A new rover is coming! Land Rover will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a new special edition of the iconic Defender – the SVX. The Land Rover Defender SVX was unveiled for the first time by Zara Phillips at the British Red Cross Ball in London earlier this evening. The world's first SVX has been donated by Land Rover UK to the British Red Cross to auction at the ball.

While most of the 25,000 Defenders produced each year are working tools for everyone from farmers and foresters to aid agencies, the SVX is the most stylish and feature-packed version that Land Rover has ever produced.

With metallic black paintwork and subtle satin black graphic decals, the Defender SVX will be available in both 90 soft-top and 90 station wagon versions. Distinctive exterior features have a contrasting silver finish, such as the unique 'Defender' and 'SVX' badges, tubular side-steps, and the bold surround for the front grille and new, clear-lens headlamps. All vehicles will also feature new, 'diamond turned' five-spoke alloy wheels, a reinforced aluminium front undershield and clear LED rear lights. Link

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Ad Campaign for Zoo Safari

A nice ad campaign. Take a look at the images. These are from an ad campaign done by DDB, Brasil, for Zoo Safari. It was done with wild animals. The ad says: "Your car has never taken you to a place like this."

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California wildfires in Pictures

A California wildfire spread quickly Saturday, destroying at least 35 Malibu homes and forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents in three communities. The Los Angeles County Fire Department said the blaze, known as the Corral fire, began after 3:30 a.m. It burned 4,650 acres and destroyed more than 50 homes by late Saturday afternoon.

The fire, which is feeding on brush and trees along Malibu ravines and hills, is being fueled by the hot dry Santa Ana desert winds. Helicopters, airplanes, DC-10 jumbo jets and 1,700 firefighters battled the flames and the racing winds.

Six firefighters reported minor injuries. Between 10,000 and 14,000 people were evacuated from their homes. Santa Ana winds played a prominent role in the October fires in Southern California. (Photo: AP via BBC)

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Patriotism law wants motorists to stop!

A proposed new law to boost patriotism in Thailand would be "chaotic" because it would require motorists to stop when the national anthem is played twice a day. A vote on the Flag Bill proposed by a group of retired and active duty generals in the army-appointed parliament was deferred Thursday to allow a committee to study it.

"It would be chaotic if the bill had passed as it is now. So the National Legislative Assembly decided to set up a panel to review it," NLA member Wallop Tangkananurak told Reuters. The bill's supporters say road traffic should stop nationwide when the anthem is played during the raising and lowering of the flag "to preserve tradition and instill patriotism in Thais."

"The national anthem lasts only one minute and eight seconds, so why can't motorists stop their cars for the sake of the country?," retired General and NLA member Pricha Rochanasena, 70, told Reuters.

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