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Dozens of spas operate in Russia's Caucasus Mountains region, exploiting the mineral springs in the area, and apparently colonic treatment is a specialty. In fact, in June, the Mashuk-Akva Term spa in Zheleznovodsk unveiled a large monument to the enema (an 800-pound brass syringe bulb held aloft by three angels). "Let's beat constipation," read one banner. Said the sculptor: "This device is eternal; it will never change. We could promote this brand, turn it into a franchise with souvenirs and awards for medical doctors."

The reputation of the Japanese for being humble is falling to Western norms among primary-school parents, according to a June dispatch from Tokyo in The Times of London. "Across Japan, teachers are reporting an astonishing change in the character of parents" as they push for their children's "rights." In one school's performance of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," there were 25 Snow Whites after "monster parents" bullied officials into admitting that it was not fair to have just one kid in the title role.

His countrymen are too polite, wrote French doctor Frederic Saldmann in his new book (translated as "Spring Cleaning") and can improve their health by uninhibitedly embracing their bodily functions that he said too many Frenchmen suppress. According to a May dispatch from Paris in London's Daily Telegraph, Saldmann wrote that the intestines, stomach and esophagus benefit if gas is expelled promptly and pores freely excrete toxins. In fact, he wrote, doing away with antiperspirants also facilitates "a certain number of messages that are potentially very attractive to the opposite sex."

A 50-year-old woman, married for 30 years, asked for a divorce last October (according to the Al-Arabiya news Web site in Dubai) because her husband had peeked at her face under her veil as she slept. The man apologized and said he would never do it again, but she said the customs of her village (near the Saudi city of Khamis Mushayt) dictate that he had contaminated the marriage by seeing her face. [Al-Arabiya, 10-8-07]

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