Love in the air from Bondi to Bangkok to Beijing

Love in the air from Bondi to Bangkok to Beijing

( Reuter )- Australians seeking love on Valentine's Day speed-dated in deckchairs on Bondi Beach, while Japanese trekked through snow in search of romance and Filipinos sang syrupy ballads.

Contrary to its racy reputation, Thailand told police and "student inspectors" to stake out motels, malls and parks to ensure youngsters behaved themselves on the "Day of Love," when polls say many teenagers have sex for the first time.

In the northern city of Chiang Mai, youngsters flocked to give blood in a "I'd rather lose blood than virginity" campaign.

In China, where homosexuality was listed as a mental illness until 2001, 20 gay and lesbian activists in Beijing marked the day by handing out roses to promote awareness and same-sex marriages.

More than 2,000 people signed up for 16 simultaneous speed dating events in eight Australian cities on Thursday, with the proceeds going to charity.

Australian newspapers ran pages of Valentine's Day love messages to people with nicknames like "Boo Bubby," "Pookey," "The Phantom" and "Wicked Wench." "I love 2 Things," wrote a romantic Johnny, adding "cars & u."

Mobile telephone networks were preparing for an onslaught of love over the airwaves. Top phone company Telstra expected picture messages to be up 60 percent and video calls 50 percent higher than normal.

Valentine's Day in the Philippines was celebrated traditionally, with a riot of red and pink roses, heart-shaped cards and syrupy love ballads.

But Manila's Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales warned against "exclusive moments" between unmarried couples.

"We advise everyone to be careful especially when spending time with one's boyfriend or girlfriend," Rosales said in an interview on Church-run Radio Veritas. "Sometimes, celebration of this day -- which is not really bad -- ends up in a sin."

Although a largely Roman Catholic country, where marriage is heavily emphasized, extramarital affairs are often accepted in the Philippines and teenage pregnancy is not uncommon.

The cardinal said religious pastimes such as attending Mass or saying the rosary were a good way of celebrating special days, such as Valentines. "It's best to look for honest-to-goodness entertainment," he said.

A day before Valentine's Day, more than 500 Japanese women sailed across the Ashino-ko lake at the foot of Mount Fuji, then trekked through a snow-covered forest to pray for love at the small red Kuzuryu shrine, a famous divine match-making site.

The more than 1,000-year-old shrine, whose name means "nine-headed dragon," started to attract singles after some pilgrims reported that their prayers for romance had been heard.

"I prayed for the man I love to fall in love with me," said Ayumi Sakai, a 25-year-old saleswoman who had arrived in one of two love boats ferrying more than 500 women to the shrine.

With both men and women in Japan increasingly putting off marriage to pursue their careers -- often cited as one reason behind the country's low birth rate -- lovelorn Japanese in search of a partner need all the support they can get.

In the Japanese version of Valentine's Day, women buy chocolates for their lovers and even colleagues, while men return the favor a month later, on White Day.

South Korea put a typically modern spin on the traditional festival, with a mobile phone operator promoting a "Love Detector" service that is supposed to analyze voice patterns to see if a lover is speaking honestly and with affection.

Valentine's Day, with roots in both an early Christian martyr and an ancient Roman fertility festival, was first linked to romance by Chaucer in a 1381 poem, according to some references. The exchange of cards was popularized in England not long after.

China's factory activity expands at a slower pace in February, misses expectations
China's factory activity expands at a slower pace in February, misses expectations
Australia receives AstraZeneca vials as it ramps up vaccination drive
Australia receives AstraZeneca vials as it ramps up vaccination drive
5.5-magnitude quake hits 81 km SW of Islay (Matarani), Peru
5.5-magnitude quake hits 81 km SW of Islay (Matarani), Peru
Loading Bars
Georgia's export of vegetables down year-on-year
Russia and Azerbaijan are friendly countries - President Aliyev
Russian-Turkish Monitoring Center will function as very important instrument for post-war period - President Aliyev
Armenian soldiers fled leaving two lonely elderly Armenian people behind - President Aliyev
We have no problems with Armenian people - President of Azerbaijan
“Smart village” project will be implemented in three villages of Zangilan district - President Aliyev
When Khojaly genocide was committed, world was silent - President of Azerbaijan
Turkey to open tender for Canal Istanbul in 2021
Armenian side did not provide us with maps of minefields, this can be considered crime - President of Azerbaijan
I can't understand why poster 'Welcome to Azerbaijan!' irritates Armenia in any way - President Aliyev
There cannot be prisoner of war 20 days after war, these are terrorists and saboteurs - President Aliyev
Armenia must fully implement the statement of 10 November - President of Azerbaijan
Some countries purchased three to four times more vaccines than they need - President of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan - first country in South Caucasus to start vaccination, says President Aliyev
We have avenged victims of Khojaly on battlefield - President of Azerbaijan
Whole world sees and knows that Azerbaijani people were subjected to genocide at end of 20th century - President Aliyev
Russia’s COVID-19 case tally rises by 11,359
Azerbaijan reports 117 more COVID-19 recoveries
European Council President to visit Georgia today
Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with Arktika-M satellite blasts off from Baikonur spaceport
Certain villages in Iran to be supplied with gas
Bloody events in Sumgayit city - planned provocation against Azerbaijan - Foreign Ministry
Azerbaijan shares Eyvazkhanbeyli village of Aghdam district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran's Tehran Oil Refining Company signs contract to increase refining
China's factory activity expands at a slower pace in February, misses expectations
Turkey set to support Croatia's post-quake revival: Turkish FM
COVID-19 Update: 83,179 Kyrgyzstanis recovered
Georgia reports 248 coronavirus cases, 525 recoveries, 11 deaths
Iran's Gorgan-Mashhad railway to be built
Trade relations between Azerbaijan and Russian Ulyanovsk region expanding
Weekly review of Azerbaijani ICT sector highlights
UK's Sunak will set out plans to raise income tax by 6 billion sterling
Australia receives AstraZeneca vials as it ramps up vaccination drive
January 2021 value of mortgage loans in Azerbaijan grows in absolute terms
Kazakhstan adds 791 new COVID-19 cases
5.5-magnitude quake hits 81 km SW of Islay (Matarani), Peru
Iranian Minister unveils ports' infrastructure dev't plans
Turkey confirms 9,193 new COVID-19 cases, 2,693,164 in total
S&P Global affirms Georgia’s sovereign credit rating at ‘BB’
Razi COVID-19 vaccine to begin clinical trial: Minister
5 died after accident in northeast China chemical fiber plant
US regulator approves Johnson&Johnson coronavirus vaccine
Kazakhstan twofold decreases exports to Norway amid COVID-19
Iraq reports 3,543 new COVID-19 cases, 692,241 in total
5.3-magnitude quake hits 3 km SW of Point MacKenzie, Alaska
Qatar reports 460 new COVID-19 cases, 163,197 in total
Weekly review of highlights in Azerbaijani financial market
UK records another 7,434 coronavirus cases, 290 deaths
It is necessary to end deployment of Armenian armed forces on territory of Azerbaijan - Foreign Ministry
WHO reports over 420,000 new daily cases of COVID-19
Istanbul’s major Galataport project to go live in April
0.03% of pupils and 0.1% of school staff in Georgia confirmed with Covid-19 this week
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on February 28
Uzbekistan's largest share in formation of GDP falls on Tashkent
Azerbaijan's revenues from tea, coffee exports double in Jan.2021
Cargo movements in Iran's Khalij-e-Fars port increase
China conditionally approves one-shot recombinant COVID-19 vaccine
Stock gains power Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway to higher profit
More than 165,000 apply for Turkey’s most popular scholarship
Georgian Railway resumes passenger transfers
Kazakhstan reports value increase in all types of deposits
New road put into operation in Iran's Golestan Province
Azerbaijan sets up working subgroups to prepare 2021-2025 Development Strategy
Bahar Azadi gold coin price falling in Iran
Azerbaijan reports 172 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Finance to put up medium-term bonds for auction
Azerbaijan's banking sector ends January 2021 with profit
Foundation of several manufacturing enterprises laid in Iran's Qazvin Province
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy spare parts for metal detector via tender
USAID to promote start-up dev’t in Turkmenistan
President Aliyev: Any attempt to violate implementation of November 10th declaration will be very harmful for Armenia (VIDEO)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for February 27
Bosnian TV channel visits liberated Azerbaijani Aghdam, reminds of Khojaly genocide
Azerbaijani police officers find ordnances left by Armenians in Khojavand (PHOTO)
Long-term energy demand impact of COVID-19 is modest
President Aliyev to Iranian reporter: Your question is a kind of an accusation (VIDEO)
New Zealand's largest city Auckland back to lockdown after COVID-19 case
Iran pins hopes on Swiss financial channel to purchase COVID-19 vaccines
Foreign journalists visit village where two-year-old Azerbaijani girl was killed by Armenians
Volume of cargo loaded, unloaded in Iran’s Chabahar port revealed
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for catering, housekeeping services
Kazakhstan boosts imports of Switzerland-made products
Uzbek ministry, German Society for International Cooperation sign agreement
Uzbekistan, China expand mutual trade despite COVID-19
Georgia reports 373 new cases of coronavirus on Feb.27
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange soar
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Baku Metro continues preparatory work for commissioning of new 'November' 8 station
Iran's exports to Russia increase
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy spare parts for pumps via tender
Kazakh airlines eye to launch several flights on Turkestan-Istanbul route
UNDP in Turkmenistan opens tender for services on seismic work
Volume of electricity generated by renewable energy power plants in Iran announced
Researcher talks monuments on ancient Azerbaijani lands vandalized by Armenians (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan reveals COVID-19 data for Feb. 27
Azerbaijan's MoD shares footage from Gubadly's Afandilar village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iranian currency rates for February 27
Remittances from Azerbaijan to Georgia show highest growth rate
Belarus considering possibility of supplying agricultural machinery to Turkmenistan
All news