Cubans use them to fish, ferment wine, fix punctures or tie up hair; latex condoms have become the ultimate multipurpose tool on the Communist-run island where shortages of basic goods. Decades of US trade sanctions and a dysfunctional Soviet-style, centralised economy mean the aisles of Cuba’s shops are often bare. And when available, imports that are sold at a steep markup by the state or on the black market may be too expensive. Yet condoms, both those domestically produced and imported from Asia, are in bountiful supply, partly due to the Caribbean country’s focus on sexual health. Government subsidies mean they are cheap; a box of three condoms costs just one Cuban peso (around 4 dollar cents). Strong and stretchy, they lend themselves to various industrial as well as recreational applications beyond contraception and protection against STDs, Cubans say.
In Indonesia’s Aceh, men & women can’t dine together
A district in Indonesia’s Islamic Aceh province has banned men and women from dining together unless they are married or related, an official is reported to have said, saying it would help women be “more well behaved’. Under the latest Islamic regulation, women in Bireuen district will not be able to share a table with men unless they are accompanied by their husband or a close male relative. Co-workers on their lunch break would also be forbidden from sharing a meal. “The objective is to protect women’s dignity so they will feel more comfortable, more at ease, more well behaved and will not do anything that violates sharia Islamic law,” head of the local sharia agency Jufliwan, said.