China restaurant apologizes for weighing customers

The restaurant was weighing customers. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 15 August 2020

China restaurant apologizes for weighing customers

  • Customers were asked to stand on scales and scan their data into an app that recommended food choices based on their weight and the dishes’ calorific value
  • The restaurant said it was “deeply sorry” for its interpretation of the anti-waste campaign

BEIJING: A restaurant in China has apologized for its controversial policy of asking diners to weigh themselves before entry in an overzealous response to a new national campaign against food waste.
The beef restaurant in the central city of Changsha was heavily criticized on Chinese social media as soon as it unveiled the policy on Friday.
Customers were asked to stand on scales and scan their data into an app that recommended food choices based on their weight and the dishes’ calorific value, according to a report by the state-run China News Service.
President Xi Jinping this week urged the nation to stop wasting food, as the coronavirus pandemic and serious flooding last month have led to a rise in food prices.
In response, regional catering groups have urged customers to order one dish fewer than the number of diners at a table — an attempt to overturn the ingrained cultural habit of ordering extra food for group meals.
Signs were displayed in the beef restaurant reading “be thrifty and diligent, promote empty plates” and “operation empty plate” — referring to the nationwide campaign — according to photos published in local media.
In a swift backlash, hashtags related to the incident have been viewed over 300 million times on the social platform Weibo.
The restaurant said it was “deeply sorry” for its interpretation of the anti-waste campaign.
“Our original intentions were to advocate stopping waste and ordering food in a healthy way. We never forced customers to weigh themselves,” it said in an apology posted online on Saturday morning.
Chinese state media has also waged war on viral binge-eating videos, known as “mukbang,” while livestreaming platforms have promised to shut down accounts promoting excess eating and food wastage.


First UAE sighting of one of the world’s rarest birds in Abu Dhabi 

Updated 20 September 2020

First UAE sighting of one of the world’s rarest birds in Abu Dhabi 

  • Known as a Steppe Whimbrel, the bird is estimated to have a global population of only around 100
  • It is believed to have travelled in time for the autumn bird migration

DUBAI: One of the rarest birds in the world has been spotted in Abu Dhabi by two members of the Emirates Bird Records Committee (EBRC), according to state news agency WAM. 
Known as a Steppe Whimbrel, the bird - estimated to have a global population of only around 100 - was seen by Oscar Campbell and Simon Lloyd at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Course, WAM reported on Saturday.
Believed to have travelled in time for the autumn bird migration, the Steppe Whimbrel is an extremely rare sub-species of the widespread Whimbrel, which regularly passes through the Emirates in spring and autumn.
The Steppe Whimbrel seen in Abu Dhabi is believed to have been born this year, making it the first time a juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been spotted anywhere in the world, according to WAM.
“On August 29, we were studying around 20 whimbrels on the Saadiyat Beach golf course. We were stunned when one flew off showing the distinctive white wings, clearly different from the other birds,” Campbell and Lloyd told WAM. 
“We immediately realized the potential significance of this so we concentrated on observing the bird and obtaining photographs, allowing us to check the key identification features,” they said.
Campbell and Lloyd then shared their photographs with world’s top expert on Steppe Whimbrels, Gary Allport, who confirmed their findings. 
“The discovery of a Steppe Whimbrel in Abu Dhabi is remarkable in itself, and confirms our suspicion that the migration route of the sub-species passes through the Arabian peninsula region,” Allport said. 
“What is even more remarkable is that this is the first time ever, anywhere in the world, that a juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been seen in the field…It’s an amazing find,” he added. 
The Saadiyat Beach Golf Course management was delighted with the discovery. 
“When you look at the significance of sighting the Steppe Whimbrel in Abu Dhabi, its history and the subspecies actually being declared extinct in 1995, it is pretty amazing,” Clinton Southorn, Cluster Director of Agronomy for managers Troon Golf, told WAM.
“This is one of the reasons the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club has worked hard to achieve its Audubon certification and showcase the positive environmental impact the course can have on the environment,” he added.