Zurich Bank Asks Employees to Trim their Nose Hair

Wow, I hope they pay well at this bank.   UBS has tried to downplay a new dress code widely reported  in the international press, it offered detailed instructions to staff extending as far as the colour of their underwear and the care of nasal hair.

In an internal memo seen by Reuters, The Swiss bank said “inaccuracies and misunderstandings” had arisen as a result of press coverage, which included irreverent headlines such as “Dress Test” (FT Deutschland) and “No Sexiness in the City” (Daily Mail).

“The key element of the dress code is the requirement for staff to wear a dark suit, white shirt/blouse, red tie/scarf and black shoes. This requirement comes into effect for staff once … renovated branches reopen,” the UBS memo said.

The memo said the dress code was first created in 2009 for reception staff, event attendants and chauffeurs, but was being extended to customer-facing staff in Switzerland to help the bank present a consistent image.

The effort to smarten up staff is part of a wider campaign to improve the public image of the country’s top bank, bailed out by the government after writing down more than 50 billion Swiss francs ($52.2 billion) of toxic assets in the crisis.

In pilot branches UBS is also developing a corporate identity by looking to standardise layout and decor.

The drive to develop a consistent corporate image is widely seen as the brainchild of UBS Switzerland CEO Lukas Gaehwiler, lured in March from Credit Suisse by UBS supremo Oswald Gruebel, a former colleague.

“The dress code also contains a number of other general tips and hints,” added the memo.

These tips and hints run to 44 pages and include advice to avoid eating garlic and onion and a discussion on the benefits of well-trimmed toenails.

Other instructions include: “When you are in corporate wear you must never wear the blouse or shirt too tight: no part of your bosom must be visible, as this would look vulgar.”

Can you Hold it In for a Week

No wonder George Castanza didn’t go to the bathroom in India and it costs the country 54 Billion dollars a year!  A lack of toilets and poor hygiene practices in India cost Asia’s third largest economy almost $54 billion every year, the World Bank said on Monday.

Premature deaths, treatment for the sick, wasted time and productivity, as well as lost tourism revenues, are the main reasons for the high economic losses, the bank said in a report.

“For decades, we have been aware of the significant impacts of inadequate sanitation in India,” Christopher Juan Costain, the World Bank’s head for South Asia’s water and sanitation programme, told a news conference.

“The report quantifies the economic losses to India, and shows that children and poor households bear the brunt of poor sanitation.”

The study “Economic impacts of inadequate sanitation in India” is based on figures taken from 2006, but experts say these remain similar now. It said the largest economic loss was as a result of poor public health.

World Bank experts say there are 450,000 deaths out of 575 million cases of diarrhoea in every year in India, where millions of people in both rural and urban areas still have to defecate in the open, do not wash their hands and cope with poor drainage systems.

The premature deaths, treatment of the sick for illnesses like diarrhoea, malaria, trachoma and intestinal worms, as well as the time lost due to illness is costing $38.5 billion alone.

A further $10.7 million is lost in “access time”, the report said — time spent looking to access a shared toilet or open defecation site compared to having a toilet in one’s own home.

Inadequate toilets in schools and work places also incurred losses as women and girls are often absent or refuse to attend due to the indignity of lack of privacy.

Tourism revenues suffered from the lack of proper sanitation and costing the country about $260 million, Costain said.  It all sounds very crappy to me.

Dying Sucks but How About Twice?

An 88-year-old Brazilian woman has died just two days she woke up in a coffin after being pronounced dead.

The woman was pronounced dead at 4:50 p.m. on Dec. 22 and sent to a funeral home, the O Globo newspaper reported. But when the woman woke up at 8:30 p.m., she was rushed back to the intensive care unit at the hospital in Ipatinga, located 550 km north of Rio de Janeiro.

The woman, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, hypertension, and vascular disease, died Friday.  Nothing like a 100 mile drive to cure all your ills.

Hiring New Cops at $2 a Piece?

Authorities say that life-sized cardboards of female police officers in miniskirts placed alongside roads have managed to slow down speeding drivers in several central Czech towns.

The mayor of the town of Mrakotin, Miroslav Pozar, said Thursday drivers, including him, automatically slow down when they see such officers.

Pozar dismissed allegations this was because the drivers want to look at the officer’s legs, rather than her uniform.

In nearby Myslotin, a local radio recently provided a hat and an anorak to help such officer get warm, but they were stolen in a day.

Others made it away with the cardboard officer itself.  I still think it is a great idea, perhaps they should have some sort of alarms built in if someone tries to steal them?  Btw I have seen these around the USA as well.

German City Places Sex Tax on Prostitutes

Faced with a 100 million euro ($133 million) deficit, one western German city has introduced a day tax on prostitutes to help bring down its budget gap.

The new “pleasure tax” requires prostitutes in Dortmund to purchase a 6 euro “day ticket” for each day they work, or face a potential fine. The city estimates that the new tax will add some 750,000 euros to its coffers each year.

“Dortmund has financial problems like many cities in Germany,” city spokesman Michael Meinders told Reuters. “We considered several sex taxes but this was the most practical proposal.”  The new tax went into effect in August but the day tickets have not been available until this week.

An alternative proposal was to charge a 1 or 2 euro fee to anyone entering Dortmund’s red-light district, but this idea got little political support, Meinders said.

Such taxes are not unusual in Germany where prostitution is legal and sex workers must pay tax on their income. Cologne introduced a 150 euro “pleasure tax” on sex workers in 2004 and later added a 6 euro day tax option for part-time prostitutes.  I am all for a sex tax for those that earn a living this way.

Ice Cream Stoners

Wow man, this is totally cool. Three flavours of marijuana-laced ice cream went on sale in California last week.  Dubbed High Scream, the dopey dessert was introduced at a medical marijuana dispensary in Santa Cruz as an alternative to smoking pot.

Only medical patients who have prescriptions allowing them to use marijuana for pain control and other treatments can buy the new product.

Officially known as Creme De Canna, the marijuana-infused ice cream now comes in three flavours — Banannabis Foster, Straw-Mari Cheesecake and TRIPle Chocolate Brownie — with more flavours on the way.

“It’s been my passion to make medical marijuana not only highly effective, but deliciously amazing,” creator Jonathan Kolodinski told the San Jose Mercury News. “I’ve wanted to bring my product line to the market for a long time.”

The ice cream sells for $15 per half-pint and contains the equivalent of two to four does of marijuana, according to the label.

Kolodinski hopes to sell his product to legal marijuana dispensaries across North America, but his biggest market will likely remain California.

Voters there will decide in November on Proposition 19, a referendum which will determine whether marijuana can be legalized in the state.

Kolodinski said future edible cannabis products include sherbets and vegan options.