Cultural Diversity 

Over a 10-week period this summer, nearly 200 young Saudi women are auditioning for a beauty pageant, but one called "Miss Beautiful Morals," in which physical attractiveness is irrelevant, replaced by judging of the ladies' observance of traditional Saudi values, especially the honoring of their mothers. Saudi Arabia does have pageants devoted to physical beauty, as reported in News of the Weird in 2007 and 2008, but those are contests for camels and goats, based on such criteria as (according to one camel breeder) "big eyes, long lashes and a long neck."

Kailash Singh, 63, who lives in a village near the holy city of Varanasi, India, told reporters in May that he had not bathed in the last 35 years, but for a good reason: remaining water-free would improve his chances of fathering a male instead of a female. (It hasn't worked, and he has moved on to a new cause, shunning baths until India's social problems are resolved.) Singh previously owned a shop, but became a farmer because customers increasingly declined to approach him. 

Recurring Theme: According to a March dispatch in London's Observer, activists in Mauritania have protested the new military government's support for an African tribal tradition of forcibly fattening up adolescent girls to make them appear "healthier" for early marriage (traditional in, among other countries, Nigeria, mentioned in News of the Weird in 1998). In the custom of "leblouh," the size of the female indicates "the size of her place in her man's heart."

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