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Laws and Customs Trivia

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The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that the prosecution must throw its files wide open to the defense if the accused is suffering from amnesia.

Jaguar images and costumes were outlawed by the Catholic church in the seventeenth century because of their association with Indian religion, militia, and politics.

The minimum age for marriage of Italian girls was raised by law to 12 years in 1892.

Japanese bowing carries different meanings at different angles.- A bow at an angle of five degrees means "Good day" (simple greeting).- A bow at an angle of fifteen degrees is also a common salutation, a bit more formal it means "Good morning."- A bow at an angle of thirty degrees is a respectful bow to indicate appreciation for a kind gesture.- A bow at a forty-five-degree angle is used to convey deep respect or an apology.

The New York Board of Education barred the whipping of children in its schools on March 4, 1908.

Japanese rules for the proper use of chopsticks are many. Improper use includes wandering the chopsticks over several foods without decision, and is called mayoibashi. The unforgivable act of licking the ends of chopsticks is called neburibashi. Lack of chopstick etiquette is strictly taboo.

King James VI and the Privy Council issued an edict in 1603 banning the use of the surname MacGregor.

The penalty for conviction of smuggling in Bangladesh is the death penalty.

The people of Hamamatsu, Japan, take part in a kite-fighting custom dating from the 1500s. It is believed that a kite was flown to honor the birth of an ancient prince. Another legend suggests the sport began when a ruler told his people to fight with kites instead of with one another. The annual custom honors the first-born sons of each family, and some of the enormous kites bear the names of the boys. Today, the kite-fighting festival draws nearly two million people to Hamamatsu.

The Royal Flag of Scotland, the Lion Rampant flag, should now legally only be used by the monarch in relation to her capacity as Queen in Scotland. However, it is widely used as a second national flag. However, it is not allowable to fly the flag without permission, on a flagpole or from a building. The Lord Lyon once threatened the town councilors of Cumbernauld with an Act passed in 1679 which demanded the death penalty for misuse of the royal flag.

The sale of chewing gum is outlawed in Singapore because it is a means of "tainting an environment free of dirt."

The Soviet Union banned Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1892 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes because of the book's references to occultism and spiritualism.

The State of Nevada first legalized gambling in 1931. At that same time, the Hoover Dam was being built and the federal government did not want its workers (who earned 50 cents an hour) to be involved with such diversions, so they built the town of Boulder City to house the dam workers. To this day, Boulder City is the only city in Nevada where gambling is illegal. Hoover Dam is 726 feet tall and 660 feet thick at its base. Enough rock was excavated in its construction to build the Great Wall of China. Contrary to old wives' tales, no workers were buried in the dam's concrete.

The state of New York instituted the nation's first mandatory seat-belt law on July 12, 1984.

The taboo against whistling backstage comes from the pre-electricity era when a whistle was the signal for the curtains and the scenery to drop. An unexpected whistle could cause an unexpected scene change.

The U.S. Congress passed a law in 1832 requiring all American citizens to spend one day each year fasting and praying. For the most part, people ignored the law, and no effort was made to enforce the legislation.

The U.S. Congress passed laws in 1999 to discourage the practice of registering popular or trademarked Internet domain names for the sole purpose of resale or profit, although it is legal to do it with generic words or surnames.

Ichigensan okotowari is a custom developed in ryotei (restaurants which serve authentic traditional Japanese cuisine) in Kyoto. It means that you must be introduced by someone to be welcomed. The reason for this is it enables the restaurant to give its warmest hospitality and services to all its customers. Business cards are preferred to credit cards. Most establishments will only accept cash.

Time magazine reports that in Russia, buying carnations or roses is a prerequisite for a first date. They must be given in odd numbers, because flowers given in even numbers are reserved for funerals.

A 1989 law in Florida forbids the release of more than ten lighter-than-air balloons at a time. This is to protect marine creatures that often mistake balloons for food and can suffer intestinal injuries if they eat the balloons.

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