Is nothing sacred anymore? While most US officials are sworn into office on a Bible or a copy of the US Constitution, America's newest ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Suzi LeVine, said her oath in London on Monday while touching a Kindle. Vice President Joe Biden held it for her.
The Daily Mail reports that the device was showing the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. While Ambassador LeVine is the first federal official to be sworn in on an e-reader, local firefighters and a county executive paved the way using Bible apps on an iPad. It seems some swear by their iPads, while others swear by their Kindles.
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A Twitter feed takes on racism in Brazil
A new Twitter account is highlighting the racist attitudes of many Brazilians toward their black maids. The account simply retweets comments, such as this one: "I'm here with the air conditioner on, behind closed doors, and here comes MY MORON MAID, instead of knocking on the door, she just opens it"
According to Global Voices Online, a 33-year-old publicist in São Paulo is behind the new account, @aminhaempregadahas, which means "my maid." The person wants to remain anonymous, but show the problem of racism in Brazil, where 92 percent of domestic workers are women and 60 percent are black. So far, the account has ten thousand followers.
Bollywood goes feminist?
India's movie industry has a new hit comedy and it is breaking Bollywood rules. Most successful films have male heroes, who end up getting the girl in the end. In "Queen," the movie starts with a woman who is left standing at the altar and decides to go on her European honeymoon anyway.
PRI's The World finds that her adventures, and final encounter with her fiance, are charming female audiences in a country where many women are uncomfortable going to movies on their own and where unmarried women are often seen as unfulfilled. Check out the trailer to see why Indian women say the film is empowering.
Japan hopes a new holiday will convince workers to actually take time off
Starting in 2016, Japanese workers will get Mountain Day off — a holiday to celebrate nature. It will be the sixteenth national holiday for Japan. The goal, it seems, is to get workers to actually use some of their vacation time.
The Diplomat reports that Japanese leaders are concerned that the average worker only takes 8.6 vacation days, in spite of having 15 holidays and 10-20 paid days of vacation. Japan's prime minister has even made work-life balance part of his economic reform package. Oh, did we mention the government health ministry is suggesting workers take half hour naps each day?
Some Chinese take a do-it-yourself approach to clean air
Home air filters can be pricey — from hundreds to thousands of dollars. So in China, where air pollution is notorious and filters seem more necessity than a nice-to-have, some are going DIY.
Workshops and businesses are cropping up in Shanghai that help people turn parts, like fans, Velcro straps and HEPA filters, into DIY air filter systems. PRI's The World talks about the motivations of folks who aren't waiting for the Chinese government to fulfill its promises to clean up their air.
What we're seeing on social
Weather around the world
Tehran was hit by a deadly dust storm on Monday afternoon. Weather.com reports that at least four people died in Iran's capital and nearly 50,000 homes lost power as dark winds reached 70 miles per hour, or 113 kilometers per hour.
These events, known as haboobs or "blasting" in Arabic, occur when air is forcefully pushed forward by a thunderstorm cell, carrying large amounts of dust and debris. They can sometimes create a wall of dust as high as 10,000 feet, or 3,048 meters, and last up to half an hour.