Friday, 15 July 2011

Pastafarian wins legal battle to wear pasta strainer on his head

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was featured here back in April but after a 
tip-off from a colleague of mine, I've come across the following story that deserves a second mention in my blog.

'Pastafarian' wins right to wear sieve on his head in driving licence photo (well, he does belong to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster)

Pasta strainers are now considered suitable religious headgear in Austria... at least as far as the transport authorities are concerned.

Three years after applying for a new driver's licence, an Austrian man has finally received the laminated card - in which he is pictured with an upturned sieve on his head.

Niko Alm was allowed to wear the unusual headgear as it is deemed a suitable accessory for his 'Pastafarian' religion, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The Austrian authorities allowed Niko Alm to wear the unusual headgear as it is deemed a suitable accessory for his 'Pastafarian' religion, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Mr Alm, an entrepreneur, said he had the idea when he read that headgear
was allowed in official pictures only for 'confessional' reasons

The atheist says he belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a light-hearted 'faith' whose members call themselves Pastafarians and whose 'only dogma ... is the rejection of dogma', according to its website.

Accordingly, Mr Alm sent his application for a new driver's licence in 2008 along with a picture of himself with a colander on his head.

The stunt got him an invitation to the doctor's to check he was mentally fit to drive, but after three years, Alm's efforts have finally paid off.

He now wants to apply for Pastafarianism to become an officially recognised faith in Austria.

How did this whole thing began.....

In 2005, a physics graduate from Oregon State wrote a letter about a 'Flying Spaghetti Monster' as a form of protest against the Kansas State Board of Education's decision to allow the teaching of Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolution in public schools.

By professing belief in a supernatural entity composed of pasta and meatballs, Bobby Henderson, 24, called on 'Pastafarianism' to be given equal time in science classrooms alongside Christian theory.

Word rapidly spread and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (CFSM) now has thousands of followers, mainly on college campuses and in Europe.
The central tenet of CFSM is that an invisible Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe 'after drinking heavily'.
Pastafarians celebrate every Friday as a holy day - and consider pirates 'absolute divine beings'.

May the Sauce be with you all!

Source: the Daily Mail

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Capitalism at its finest - Tax evasion at its best

McDonald's argues it is a supermarket rather than restaurant 
in Russia. US fast food chain McDonald's has persuaded the Russian authorities that its outlets are supermarkets rather than restaurants in a landmark lawsuit that blocked an attempt by the Russian taxman to almost double its tax bill.

In a legal battle that is likely to see dozens of other fast food chains in the world's largest country following suit, McDonald's successfully argued that it should be classified as a food retailer for tax purposes rather than as a restaurant since many of its products are pre-packaged and sold to customers in the style of a supermarket rather than a restaurant.

It is a decision that will allow McDonald's in Russia to continue paying ten per cent tax on its profits rather than the eighteen per cent tax levied on restaurants. McDonald's has led a charmed life since it opened its first outlet in Moscow in the then Soviet Union in 1990.

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 1990, hundreds of people line up around the first McDonald's
restaurant in the Soviet Union at Moscow's Pushkin Square, on its opening day. 

Its first flagship restaurant served 30,000 customers on its first day, an absolute record, and it now has a network of 276 outlets across Russia.

Still rapidly expanding to meet huge demands for its fast food, it is patronised by almost one million Russians a day who consume specially Russianised versions of McDonald's fare such as "beef a la russe" as well as the hamburgers and sandwiches sold all over the world.

In a deal that the Moscow city authorities later challenged unsuccessfully through the Russian courts the first two McDonald's stores in Russia which occupied prime locations in Moscow were granted a special 20-year rent deal which saw them pay just one rouble (less than 1p) per square metre of space. That deal is still in place.

Source: The Telegraph