Dying for a better life: South Koreans fake their funerals for life lessons

SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean service is offering free funerals – but only to the living.

More than 25,000 people have participated in mass “living funeral” services at Hyowon Healing Center since it opened in 2012, hoping to improve their lives by simulating their deaths.

“Once you become conscious of death, and experience it, you undertake a new approach to life,” said 75-year-old Cho Jae-hee, who participated in a recent living funeral as part of a “dying well” program offered by her senior welfare center.

Dozens took part in the event, from teenagers to retirees, donning shrouds, taking funeral portraits, penning their last testaments, and lying in a closed coffin for around 10 minutes.

University student Choi Jin-kyu said his time in the coffin helped him realize that too often, he viewed others as competitors.

“When I was in the coffin, I wondered what use that is,” said the 28-year-old, adding that he plans to start his own business after graduation rather than attempting to enter a highly-competitive job market.

South Korea ranks 33 out of 40 countries surveyed in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Better Life Index. Many younger South Koreans have high hopes for education and employment, which have been dashed by a cooling economy and rising joblessness.

“It is important to learn and prepare for death even at a young age,” said Professor Yu Eun-sil, a doctor at Asan Medical Center’s pathology department, who has written a book about death.

In 2016, South Korea’s suicide rate was 20.2 per 100,000 residents, almost double the global average of 10.53, according to the World Health Organization.

Funeral company Hyowon began offering the living funerals to help people appreciate their lives, and seek forgiveness and reconciliation with family and friends, said Jeong Yong-mun, who heads the healing center.

Jeong said he is heartened when people reconcile at a relative’s funeral, but is saddened they wait that long.

“We don’t have forever,” he said. “That’s why I think this experience is so important – we can apologize and reconcile sooner and live the rest of our lives happily.”

Occasionally he has dissuaded those contemplating suicide.

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“I picked out those people who have asked themselves whether … they can actually commit suicide, and I reversed their decision,” Jeong said.

The message of personal value resounded with Choi.

“I want to let people know that they matter, and that someone else would be so sad if they were gone,” he said, wiping away tears. “Happiness is in the present.”

Reporting by Daewoung Kim and Youngseo Choi. Writing by Minwoo Park. Editing by Josh Smith and Karishma Singh

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Is South Park Joining the Marijuana Industry?

The only thing better than South Park making fun of the weed industry would be South Park entering the weed industry — with some integrity. We’re still trying to find out if that’s the case, but some online nuggets have us wondering…

Through Tegridy Farms, the name of a fictional cannabis brand that popped up in an episode of the show last year, South Park Studios posted a video on YouTube July 19 that makes fun of the suit-and-tie culture trying to profit from legal cannabis. The clip appears to take aim at MedMen, an American cannabis corporation that released a short video directed by Spike Jonze about cannabis prohibition and current legalization efforts.

The Tegridy Farms parody starts out with scenes similar to MedMen’s ad about the Founding Fathers’ hemp farms and the War on Drugs, but then starts cutting on “corporate banker types” who “hire fancy Hollywood directors” to make money off legal weed.

“But you know what? Fuck those guys. They ain’t got no integrity,” South Park character (and man of ‘tegrity) Randy Marsh says in the video.

We're here to see South Park make fun of anything, including legal weed.EXPAND

We’re here to see South Park make fun of anything, including legal weed.

MedMen has given South Park writers plenty of fodder in 2019. The company was part of the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association, an industry group that reportedly asked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to keep the home-growing of cannabis illegal if the state legislature decided to legalize recreational pot (it didn’t). Then a lawsuit against MedMen surfaced in which a former employee accused company executives of making racist and sexist comments; the NYMCIA dropped MedMen as a member shortly thereafter. The company has also reported severe losses in revenue in recent quarterly reports, despite its value being estimated as high as $ 1 billion.

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But it wasn’t all the roasting that got us hot. As first pointed out by Marijuana Moment, some online clues have surfaced suggesting that this might be more than a spoof.

For example, there’s now a Tegridy Farms website where the parody video is posted along with an option to enter your email address to “learn more” (we’ve entered several email addresses and haven’t heard back). If you go to the bottom of the page, though, you’ll find “Tegridy Farms, LLC” and a private policy page that lists several inactive but registered websites with the word “tegridy,” including ”Catatonic Tegridy Bud,” which was introduced in the South Park episode that first featured Tegridy Farms.

Tegridy Farms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages also exist, though they were created in 2018. Still, the Facebook and Instagram pages both have recent posts about Tegridy Farms T-shirt giveaways at San Diego’s Comic Con on July 19. (We’ve reached out to Comedy Central, as well as an email address listed on the Tegridy Farms website, but haven’t received a response.)

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are both Colorado boys, who met each other while attending the University of Colorado Boulder; although they moved on long before Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational pot in 2012, weed wasn’t unknown in Boulder during their time there.

Is the Tegridy Farms tease just the South Park crew fucking with us? Probably. After all, it’d be a very Cartman move if Stone and Parker did enter the pot trade: Two rich white guys making money off legal cannabis would be very similar to what they’re making fun of MedMen for trying to do.

But potheads can dream.


Toke of the Town

Cricket: Busy bees interrupt South Africa and Sri Lanka … again

Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup – Sri Lanka v South Africa – Emirates Riverside, Chester-Le-Street, Britain – June 28, 2019 The umpire, Sri Lanka and South Africa players lie on the ground to avoid bees Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

CHESTER-LE-STREET, England (Reuters) – A swarm of bees forced the players of South Africa and Sri Lanka to dive onto the ground during their Cricket World Cup clash at the Riverside Stadium on Friday — but for many on the pitch there was a sense of deja vu.

Bees halting international cricket matches is not common, yet it has now happened to the same two teams some two years and 10,000 kilometers apart.

The stoppage on Friday lasted only a few minutes, but when South Africa and Sri Lanka clashed at The Wanderers in Johannesburg in a One-Day International in February 2017, the game was halted for over an hour before the swarm moved on.

“I remember the last time, it was at Johannesburg against Sri Lanka, the same thing happened,” South Africa captain Faf du Plessis told reporters.

“It is very funny. Looks like someone’s just had a machine-gun through all the players on the field and everyone is down on the ground.

“Yeah, you are not brave when there is a bee, or a swarm of bees flying. I think I’m brave, but not that brave!”

Already eliminated South Africa beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets in the World Cup clash on Friday.

Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Lion on the lam locked-up in South African jail

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – A young lion captured after being on the run for almost a month spent the night in a South African police cell before being moved back to its national park home.

The juvenile male apparently escaped from the Karoo National Park through a hole in a perimeter fence. He was eventually tracked and darted on Wednesday before being moved by helicopter to the Sutherland police station where he ended up alone in a holding cell.

“I am sure this is the first time in the world that a lion is put in jail,” said police station commander Captain Marius Malan.

He said luckily the jail had no human guests on Wednesday night.

Curious residents of the village of Sutherland, known more for one of the southern hemisphere’s largest optical telescopes, thronged outside the police station to catch a glimpse of the locked-up lion.

“He is safe and healthy. We didn’t give him breakfast because he had enough to eat along the road,” Malan told Reuters.

Malan said the lion, believed to be two years old, would be darted again before being transported back to his natural habitat at the Karoo National Park, a hilly region of grassy scrubland about halfway between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Robert Birsel

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Painting sow Pigcasso hogs the limelight at South Africa farm

FILE PHOTO: Pigcasso, a rescued pig, paints on a canvas at the Farm Sanctuary in Franschhoek, outside Cape Town, South Africa February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham/File Photo

FRANSCHHOEK, South Africa (Reuters) – Step aside Francis Bacon.

Brandishing a paintbrush in her snout, Pigcasso enthusiastically tosses her head to create bright, bold strokes across a canvas propped up in her sty.

The sow was rescued from an abattoir as a piglet and brought to an animal sanctuary in Franschhoek, in South Africa’s Western Cape region in 2016, where her new owners noticed her love of color and paint brushes. 

“Pigs are very smart animals and so when I brought Pigcasso here to the barn, I thought how do I keep her entertained?” said Joanne Lefson, who runs Farm Sanctuary SA.

“We threw in some soccer balls, rugby balls and of course there were some paintbrushes lying around because the barn was newly build … She basically ate or destroyed everything except these paintbrushes … she loved them so much,” Lefson added.

Soon the pig was dipping the brushes into pots of paint and making her mark. Her paintings can sell for almost $ 4,000, with the proceeds going to animal welfare. She has even had one of her artworks turned into a watch face for Swiss watchmaker Swatch.

Swatch announced a collaboration with the pig last month.

The limited edition “Flying Pig by Ms. Pigcasso” features green, blue and pink brush strokes and sells for $ 120.

“Pigcasso is definitely an abstract expressionist, you can’t exactly define what she’s painting but I can tell you that her style slightly changes depending on her mood like any great artist,” said Lefson.

Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Alison Williams

Reuters: Oddly Enough

South Carolina: November 6 is General Election Day!

South Carolina’s general election, set for Tuesday, November 6, is just 21 days away. The governor’s race and every House of Representatives seat is on the ballot. This is a particularly important election as lawmakers are expected to vote on a medical cannabis bill in 2019, and it will likely need the support of the governor. Those in office will have a huge impact on the future of South Carolina’s patients and their treatment options.

Our voter guide is now available online. It includes all House candidates who either co-sponsored the 2018 medical cannabis bill or who responded to our questionnaire on medical cannabis support. It also includes committee votes and the candidates for governor. While James Smith (D) is a strong supporter of allowing medical cannabis, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said he would not sign a bill unless law enforcement signs off — which they show no inclination of doing.

Voters’ choices this year will have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in the state. If you are registered to vote, know where your candidates stand, and be sure to vote!

If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you have until October 17. For more information, including polling places and other key information, check out the state’s elections website here.

 

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NoCo Hemp Expo Heading South

In the wake of another successful NoCo Hemp Expo — a hemp trade show in Loveland that drew over 6,000 attendees last year — expo production firm Colorado Hemp Company now wants to dip its toes down south.

The Loveland-based company announced its inaugural Southern Hemp Expo on Tuesday, July 10. Scheduled for September 28 and 29 at the Fairgrounds in Nashville, Tennessee, the event touts a tasty slate of attractions for hemp lovers and industry insiders, including a full-scale exhibit hall, networking opportunities, presentations, workshops and plenty of hemp-based food.

Colorado Hemp has been putting on the NoCo Hemp Expo since 2014, with the event growing in attendance each year. This is the organization’s first effort outside of Colorado, however, with the goal of working with a more accurate representation of the hemp industry, which is quickly becoming a national machine.

“Our shows are firmly grounded in the country’s strongest regions for hemp production,” NoCo Hemp Expo and Colorado Hemp co-founder Morris Beegle explains in an announcement. “The South is a leader and will continue to be a leader in hemp production.”

Although America’s southern region isn’t known for embracing cannabis, hemp is another story. States such as Tennessee and Kentucky have recently taken measures to relax laws on industrial hemp, which is still technically illegal at the federal level because it’s classified as marijuana, a Schedule I drug under the infamous Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

Tennessee passed a law allowing industrial hemp production in 2017, while Kentucky (known for its hemp production since the 1800s) created a hemp pilot program in 2014 after the FARM Bill allowed states to do so for research purposes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a long-time supporter of hemp farming, went so far as to propose the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 — a bill which would remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s definition.

According to the Hemp Business Journal, American hemp sales totaled $ 820 million in 2017 — good for 16 percent growth from the previous year. In 2018, the publication projects total sales will surpass $ 1 billion.

Colorado Hemp cofounder Arran Stephens believes the energy behind the industry’s rapid rise is discernible at their events. “I was amazed at the buzz of the show,” he says. “In some ways, it reminded me of the spirit of the early organic food trade shows. This is really the beginning of a strong new movement.”

With the Southern Hemp Expo (nicknamed “SHE” by organizers), Colorado Hemp hopes to capitalize on this momentum by “bringing balance back to mother earth” while providing a “festive and effective forum for expanding crucial dialogue about the latest developments and opportunities” in commercial hemp, according to Beegle.

Toke of the Town

South Carolina: 82% of Dems vote to support medical marijuana patients

Voters using the Democratic ballot for yesterday’s South Carolina’s primary voted in support of medical marijuana by a whopping vote of 82-18%. This is an incredibly strong showing, and clearly voters are ready for this change. No doubt lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are taking notice.

Several candidates who support medical marijuana also did well. Congressional GOP candidate Katie Arrington, who supported this year’s medical cannabis bill as a House member, won her party’s primary with 51% of the vote, defeating incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford. Meanwhile, Democrat James Smith, a strong advocate for patients while serving in the House, won the primary contest for Democratic gubernatorial candidate with 62% of the vote.

In the state House races, supportive Republican lawmaker Rep. Jonathan Hill prevailed over his challenger. And challenger and supporter William Bailey won his contest against incumbent Rep. Greg Duckworth. On the Democrat side of the aisle, incumbent Reps. Leon Howard, Jerry Govan, Jr., and Cezar McKnight each prevailed against challengers.

Medical cannabis did well yesterday, as did many candidates who are supportive of change. For comprehensive election results, click here.

If you are a South Carolina resident, be sure to ask your lawmakers in the House and Senate to support medical cannabis in South Carolina!

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US Mayors and South Carolina Democrats Clamor for Marijuana Legalization

A coalition of U.S. mayors calls on the federal government to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, South Carolina’s Democratic voters overwhelmingly approve a medical marijuana question on their primary ballot, and Oregon rakes in almost $ 9 million in legal marijuana taxes in April 2018.   A hectic few days for the week ending […]
Marijuana

South Carolina: 82% of Dems vote to support medical marijuana patients

Voters using the Democratic ballot for yesterday’s South Carolina’s primary voted in support of medical marijuana by a whopping vote of 82-18%. This is an incredibly strong showing, and clearly voters are ready for this change. No doubt lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are taking notice.

Several candidates who support medical marijuana also did well. Congressional GOP candidate Katie Arrington, who supported this year’s medical cannabis bill as a House member, won her party’s primary with 51% of the vote, defeating incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford. Meanwhile, Democrat James Smith, a strong advocate for patients while serving in the House, won the primary contest for Democratic gubernatorial candidate with 62% of the vote.

In the state House races, supportive Republican lawmaker Rep. Jonathan Hill prevailed over his challenger. And challenger and supporter William Bailey won his contest against incumbent Rep. Greg Duckworth. On the Democrat side of the aisle, incumbent Reps. Leon Howard, Jerry Govan, Jr., and Cezar McKnight each prevailed against challengers.

Medical cannabis did well yesterday, as did many candidates who are supportive of change. For comprehensive election results, click here.

If you are a South Carolina resident, be sure to ask your lawmakers in the House and Senate to support medical cannabis in South Carolina!

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AHA: Heart Disease a Hidden Threat to South Asians in U.S.

THURSDAY, May 24, 2018 (American Heart Association) — South Asians living in the United States are more likely to die from heart disease than the general population. But this risk has been largely hidden by a lack of data, researchers say.

Immigrants coming from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are one of the fastest growing populations in the U.S.

“We’ve realized that South Asians are dying of heart disease a lot earlier than other ethnic groups, and that it’s devastating to their community,” said cardiologist Dr. Annabelle Volgman, who led an expert group that on May 24 published a report on the issue for the American Heart Association in the journal Circulation.

There were around 3.4 million people of South Asian descent living in the United States as of 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But despite their numbers, the threats to South Asians’ cardiovascular health have been obscured because researchers have been looking at Asian-Americans as a monolithic group. But when examined individually, South Asians have a higher risk of heart disease than other Asian groups, especially East Asians from China, Japan and Korea.

“We need to look at the different Asian groups within the Asian community so that we’re not all lumped together,” said Volgman, whose family is originally from the Philippines. “We’re not alike in terms of cardiovascular risk factors.”

It is not clear why South Asians are more prone to heart disease than other groups. While it is clear that cardiovascular disease can be passed down in families, researchers have yet to find a specific genetic cause that would make South Asians more at risk than other groups.

“We’ve observed the increased risk, but we are still looking for the smoking gun,” said Dr. Latha Palaniappan, an internist and clinical researcher who focuses on the gap in medical knowledge about Asian subgroups. She co-chaired the new report with Volgman.

Although the genetics are not yet clear, there are some conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease among South Asians. One key connection is an increased risk of diabetes at a young age, and another is cholesterol abnormalities. Because studies indicate that South Asians develop heart disease earlier in life than other groups, doctors are working to increase awareness among the South Asian community to get tested for signs of cardiovascular problems as early as possible.

“I think that accessing preventative health care has been less than optimal in South Asian populations because they aren’t aware that they’re at increased risk,” Palaniappan said.

Although cardiovascular disease can be inherited, researchers say much of the risk can be mitigated by lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise and avoiding tobacco. Exercise is especially important, as studies show that South Asians exercise less than other groups, and are also less aware of the connection between lack of exercise and heart disease.

Diet is also a key part of heart health, and although many South Asians are vegetarian, their diets include too much fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates, and these tendencies increase the longer they have lived in the United States.

In the past, researchers saw a significant difference between South Asians living in their countries of origin, who were more active and ate healthier diets than migrant groups. But now poor lifestyle habits from the U.S. are making their way back to Asia.

“The same increased risk that we were observing in worldwide diaspora (scattered) populations we’re now seeing in India because India is becoming more Westernized in terms of a more sedentary lifestyle and less healthy food choices,” Palaniappan said.

But researchers believe that these trends can be reversed with increased awareness. Now that they’re focused on the increased risk of heart disease in South Asians, researchers can target studies specifically to this group and physicians can work with their patients to address heart health at an earlier age.

“Because South Asians tend to have cardiovascular events at a younger age we really want to emphasize the need for more studies so that we don’t lose young mothers and fathers,” Volgman said.

© 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2018

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Key House Committee Advances Medical Marijuana Bill in South Carolina

The House version of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, H 3521, emerged from committee today in a landslide 14-3 vote.

Unfortunately, a key deadline has passed, and it’s too late for the medical cannabis bill to become law this year. However, it’s important to remind lawmakers that patients and those who care for them are counting on their support.

There is much to be done before the bill becomes law, but today’s vote marks a big step forward for patients. Both the House and the Senate versions made it through their committees, and the bills were sent to the full bodies in both chambers.

Thank you to bill sponsors, Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy, and the many supporters who have been active behind the scenes and at the hearings, including those who attended an educational symposium for lawmakers yesterday evening.

If you are a South Carolina resident, please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support the Compassionate Care Act in the next legislative session.

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Medical Marijuana Bill Advances to Senate in South Carolina

The Senate’s version of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act passed today in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee. Lawmakers on the committee voted 8-6 in favor of sending the amended bill to the floor.

This is a tremendous step forward, but time is short for a vote by the full Senate. Lawmakers only have until April 10 to vote and send the bill to the House before time runs out this year.

The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, introduced last year by Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy, would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to access medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it. The Department of Health and Environmental Control would regulate and license medical cannabis cultivation centers, processing facilities, dispensaries, and independent testing laboratories. The department would also issue registration cards to qualifying patients and their caregivers. Patients would not be able to smoke medical cannabis under the bill as amended by the committee. South Carolina would have one of the most carefully regulated programs in the country under this bill.

While it’s unlikely that the Senate will vote on S. 212 before the clock runs out, it’s crucial that senators hear from their constituents while the bill is on the floor. If the bill doesn’t pass this year, we can build momentum for next year.

If you are a South Carolina resident, please send an email to your senators asking them to support S. 212.

 

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South Carolina a Step Closer to Medical Marijuana Legalization

By Meg Kinnard  COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina took a step closer Thursday to becoming the latest state to allow the legalization of marijuana for treatment of critically ill patients, although the bill’s sponsor acknowledged it’s unlikely to become law this year. On an 8-6 vote, the Senate Medical Affairs Committee approved a measure […]
Marijuana

Medical Marijuana On the Move in South Carolina

MPP, our allies, and supportive lawmakers have made tremendous strides this year gaining support for a sensible and compassionate medical marijuana program in South Carolina. However, while the vast majority of South Carolinians support allowing medical marijuana, and despite strong support in the House, it’s not clear if Speaker of the House Jay Lucas will attempt to prevent a floor vote.

H3521 was assigned to committee last year, and that group of lawmakers is now ready to advance the bill to the House floor for a key vote. But insiders tell us that Speaker Lucas might delay passage by sending the bill to another committee. If that happens, it is extremely unlikely the bill will advance further before time runs out.

If you are a South Carolina resident, please urge your representative to call for a floor vote on H3521 when it is returned to the full House, and to support passage.

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