Splashing out: Indian fans steal milk for movie poster antics

Fans spray milk on a placard displaying the picture of Bollywood actor Rajinikanth, the biggest star in the history of Tamil-language cinema, before attending the first-day release his new Tamil-language film ‘2.0’ in Mumbai. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2019
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Splashing out: Indian fans steal milk for movie poster antics

  • ‘Paal abhishekam’ is a Hindu religious practice involving pouring milk on the idols of deities
  • ‘This has been going on for 20 years ... People consider celebrities as demigods here’

NEW DELHI: Indian dairy traders have lodged a police complaint after cinema fans stole huge amounts of milk to pour on film posters for an upcoming movie to bring it good luck.
“Paal abhishekam” is a Hindu religious practice involving pouring milk on the idols of deities.
But film buffs often perform the same ritual on huge cut-outs and posters of actors, particularly in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu where temples dedicated to film stars are not uncommon.
Actor Silambarasan took it to a new level, however, with a recent video message asking fans to splash not just cartons but barrels of milk on posters for his new film, releasing February 1.
As his message went viral, milk traders started to report large losses due to theft.
“Such appeals would misguide the youth and create a law and order problem in the state,” said S.A. Ponnusamy, president of the Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers Employees Welfare Association.
The association has reported theft of nearly 10,000 liters of milk in two days across the state this week.
The custom is particularly pronounced for Rajinikanth, a former bus conductor who became the biggest star in the history of Tamil-language cinema.
He was widely credited for almost single-handedly defeating a state government in 1996 by asking his fans days before the election to vote it out.
Ponnusamy has been campaigning against the wasteful practice for many years, even reaching out to the film stars themselves.
“This has been going on for 20 years ... People consider celebrities as demigods here,” he added.


Drunk on smoke: Notre Dame’s bees survive cathedral blaze

Updated 20 April 2019
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Drunk on smoke: Notre Dame’s bees survive cathedral blaze

PARIS: Hunkered down in their hives and drunk on smoke, Notre Dame’s smallest official residents — some 180,000 bees — somehow managed to survive the inferno that consumed the cathedral’s ancient wooden roof.
Confounding officials who thought they had perished, the bees clung to life, protecting their queen.
“It’s a big day. I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn,” Notre Dame beekeeper Nicolas Geant told The Associated Press on Friday.
“Instead of killing them, the CO2 (from smoke) makes them drunk, puts them to sleep,” he explained.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Geant has overseen the bees since 2013, when three hives were installed on the roof of the stone sacristy that joins the south end of the monument. The move was part of a Paris-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers. Hives were also introduced above Paris’ gilded Opera.
The cathedral’s hives were lower than Notre Dame’s main roof and the 19th-century spire that burned and collapsed during Monday evening’s fire.
Since bees don’t have lungs, they can’t die from smoke inhalation — but they can die from excessive heat. European bees, unlike some bee species elsewhere, don’t abandon their hives when facing danger.
“When bees sense fire, they gorge themselves on honey and stay to protect their queen, who doesn’t move,” Geant said. “I saw how big the flames were, so I immediately thought it was going to kill the bees. Even though they were 30 meters (nearly 100 feet) lower than the top roof, the wax in the hives melts at 63 degrees Celsius (145.4 Fahrenheit).”

Notre Dame Cathedral’s three beehives — home to more than 180,000 bees  — survived the destructive fire. (Instagram/Beeopic)

If the wax that protects their hive melts, the bees simply die inside, Geant explained.
Smoke, on the other hand, is innocuous. Beekeepers regularly smoke out the hives to sedate the colony whenever they need access inside. The hives produce around 75 kilograms (165 pounds) of honey annually, which is sold to Notre Dame employees.
Notre Dame officials saw the bees on top of the sacristy Friday, buzzing in and out of their hives.
“I wouldn’t call it a miracle, but I’m very, very happy,” Geant added.