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Laws and Customs Trivia

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No two-cycle engines are allowed in Singapore. The license fee for a new car is small, about $5, but as the vehicle grows older, the fee increases. When the auto reaches 8 years old, it is no longer allowed on the streets. This is opposite of the license-fee structure in the United States. While strict, Singapore's auto law has virtually wiped out air pollution in the country.

In Japan, some restaurants serve smaller portions to women even though the charge is the same as a men's portion.

Officials of ancient Greece decreed that mollusk shells be used as ballots, because once a vote was scratched on the shell, it couldn't be erased or altered.

In Japan, the dragonfly symbolizes good luck, courage, and manliness. Japanese warriors customarily wore the dragonfly emblem in battle.

On April 10, 1946, women voted for the first time in Japan.

In Kentucky, it is against the law to throw eggs at a public speaker.

On August 12, 1895, Minnie Dean became the first woman to be hanged in New Zealand. Her crime was "baby farming." She would adopt unwanted babies for a certain fee and then dispose of them, a "service" she began in 1889. The police caught on to Minnie after six years, and she was found to be most certainly guilty when they dug up three bodies of infants in her flower garden.

In London, England, it is illegal to drive a car without sitting in the front seat.

On average in the United States, 150,000 new laws and about 2 million new regulations from various local, state, and federal governments are put into place every year.

In London, it is a 24-hour detainment if caught sticking gum under a seat on the upper deck of a bus.

On January 21, 1908, a law was passed in New York City making it illegal for women to smoke in public.

In Massachusetts, snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are closed and securely locked and it is illegal to go to bed without first having a full bath.

On January 28, 1687, a Japanese law was imposed by the Sunayoshi forbidding the killing of animals and the eating of all fish, shellfish, and birds. Sunayoshi's only son had died, and he became a devout Buddhist.

In May 2000, China toughened its regulations against computer viruses, mandating fines and up to five years imprisonment for people who spread the bugs.

On October 6, 1932, the state of Vera Cruz in Mexico banned priests as citizens.

In medieval times, church bells were often consecrated to ward off evil spirits. Because thunderstorms were attributed to the work of demons, the bells would be rung in an attempt to stop the storms. Numerous bellringers were killed by lightning.

In Milan, Italy, there is a law on the books that requires a smile on the face of all citizens at all times. Exemptions include time spent visiting patients in hospitals or attending funerals. Otherwise, the fine is $100 if they are seen in public without a smile on their face.

Hailed as a wonder drug in the late nineteenth century, cocaine was outlawed in the United States in 1914.

Hans Christian Andersen's 1835 Wonder Stories was banned from children's reading lists in Illinois in 1954. The book was stamped “For Adult Readers” to make it “impossible for children to obtain smut.”

Horse-racing regulations state that no race horse's name may contain more than eighteen letters. Names that are too long would be cumbersome on racing sheets.

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