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THE HERALD SUN, NHMRC, AAP, THE AUSTRALIAN (Australia)

Worldcrunch

MELBOURNE – Australia is officially the meanest country EVER!

New hygiene rules mean that Australian children will be banned from blowing out birthday candles at school parties.

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Yes, you read it correctly. No this is not a cruel joke. According to the latest National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines, children at Australia's child-care centers will be banned from blowing out candles on communal birthday cakes, reports the Herald Sun.

The motivation behind the new rules: to avoid blowing germs on the cake.

"Children love to blow out their candles while their friends are singing "Happy birthday"," says the NHMRC document. "To prevent the spread of germs when the child blows out the candles, parents should either provide a separate cupcake, with a candle if they wish, for the birthday child and (either) enough cupcakes for all the other children ... (or) a large cake that can be cut and shared.”

So just how will these new rules be enforced? Will the fun police be patrolling every daycare and preschool in Australia?

According to the AAP, Health Minister Tanya told reporters: "We're not going to have the cupcake police out, but childcare centers know that whatever they can do to reduce infections in childcare centers is going to be good for the kids, good for the families they support and good for childcare workers."

The Australian Medical Association warned the clean-freak regulations place "kids in a bubble," reports the Australian. “If somebody sneezes on a cake, I probably don't want to eat it either - but if you're blowing out candles, how many organisms are transferred to a communal cake, for goodness' sake?" asks AMA president Steve Hambleton.

He added: “"If you live in a plastic bubble you're going to get infections (later in life) that you can't handle."

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Fading Flavor: Production Of Saffron Declines Sharply

Saffron is well-known for its flavor and its expense. But in Kashmir, one of the flew places it grows, cultivation has fallen dramatically thanks for climate change, industry, and farming methods.

Photo of women harvesting saffron in Kashmir

Harvesting of Saffron in Kashmir

Mubashir Naik

In northern India along the bustling Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Pampore — known as the saffron town of Kashmir —people are busy picking up saffron flowers to fill their wicker baskets.

During the autumn season, this is a common sight in the Valley as saffron harvesting is celebrated like a festival in Kashmir. The crop is harvested once a year from October 21 to mid-November.

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