10 bizarre laws from around the world

What happens when lawmakers take things a little too far?

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Here we're looking at 10 weird laws from around the world, including everything from a ban on chewing gum to fines for feeding the homeless.

10. Obesity ban - Japan

In 2008 the 'metabo law' went into effect in Japan, with the goal at the time of reducing the country's overweight population by 25% by 2015. Japanese citizens between the ages of 40 and 74 must adhere to government-mandated waistline limits or face consequences. Men must maintain a waistline of 85cm and for women the limit is 89cm. The government's anti-obesity campaign aims to reduce the risk of its citizens developing diabetes and vascular diseases, while minimising the health care costs of Japan's massive aging population.

9. No sex toys allowed - Alabaam.

If you're looking to experiment then it's probably best to steer clear of Alabama as it's illegal to buy or sell sex toys in the American state. In 1998 the supreme court outlawed the sale of 'any device designed... primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs'. If a person is caught buying such a product they can be fined up to $10,000 and multiple offenders could serve up to 10 years in prison.

8. The $12.5 million speeding ticket - Finland

In Finland speeding fines are calculated in relation to income, so higher earners get hit with bigger penalties for breaking the law. In 2002 Anssi Vanjoki, director of the Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia, received what is believed to be the most expensive speeding fine ever for driving his motorbike at 75kmph in a 50kmph zone.

7. Posthumous matrimony - France

Under French law, posthumous marriages are possible as long as there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the deceased person had the intention to wed their partner when they were alive. This bizarre law dates back to the First World War when the fiancees and girlfriends of soldiers would tie the knot with their fallen partners by proxy.

6. Baby naming laws - Scandinavia

Countries in Scandinavia have strict laws when it comes to naming your children. In Denmark the 'Law on Personal Names' is in place to protect children from being given strange names. Danish parents are provided with a list of just 7,000 pre-approved names to choose from for their newborn. If you wish to name your child something else you have to get special permission from your local church and then the name is reviewed by governmental officials.

5. Short change - Canada

According to the Canadian currency act of 1985, there is a cap on the number of coins you can use in a single transaction. So, for example, in pennies one can actually only pay to a maximum of 25 cents. Vendors have the right to deny any purchase made by a customer who gives them a handful of change.

4. No flip-flops allowed - Capri

On the island of Capri, a popular holiday destination, there is a ban on flip-flops. In fact, it's not just flip flops causing controversy, but noisy footwear in general, because the locals love their peace and quiet. Elsewhere in Spain it's illegal for people to drive while wearing flip flops as it could diminish the driver's capacity to control the vehicle.

3. No PDA

Despite what couples may think, public displays of affection are not very well accepted in many places around the world. In Eureka, Nevada, it is illegal for men with moustaches to kiss women. Meanwhile in Eboli, Italy, you could face a fine of up to $520 for kissing in a moving vehicle. On trains in Austria the same offence could cost you $50 because the Wiener Linien, the company that run's the transport network, has been inundated with complaints.

2. Gum control - Singapore

Since 1992 the distribution of chewing gum has been banned in Singapore. The punishment for illegal gum trafficking can include a fine of around $70,000 and up to two years in prison. Those caught chewing gum and spitting it onto the pavement face fines of up to $1,000.

1. Don't feed the homeless - USA

Amazingly it is illegal to feed the homeless in more than 33 US cities. In 2014 Arnold Abbott, a 90-year-old WW2 veteran, and two church ministers were arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for feeding the homeless. Despite the fact that Abbott had been feeding the homeless every day for the past 23 years, a newly passed law in the city meant that he and ministers faced up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine every time they violated it.

Strange driving laws around the world
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Strange driving laws around the world
The next time you’re in Belarus, be sure to keep your car clean as driving a dirty one is against the law.
In France, although the law imposing an 11 euro fine has been postponed indefinitely, you are legally required to carry an unused  self-test breathalyser in your vehicle.
Expect spot checks of your GPS system in Germany. Police check to see whether it has been set up to alert drivers to where  speed cameras are - if it is you’ll be asked to turn it off.
In Cyprus, you are not allowed to eat or drink anything while driving – the “no drinking and driving rule” doesn’t just apply to alcohol, but soft drinks too.

In Italy, you will be fined for driving into a historic zone, or Zone Traffico Limitato (ZTL), without the correct permit.

If you require prescription glasses to drive, you'd better ensure you have a spare pair in your car next time you’re driving in Spain, otherwise you are breaking the law.
You can be given a ticket for driving too slowly in the USA.

It is strictly taboo to drive without a shirt in Thailand, and doing so could result in a fine.

In Denmark, it’s compulsory to check under your car for people before setting off on your journey

Traffic in Manila, Philippines, is so bad that you are not allowed to drive your car on certain weekdays. Registration plates ending in a 1 or 2 are banned on Mondays, 3 or 4 Tuesdays, 5 or 6 Wednesdays, 7 or 8 Thursdays and 9 or 0 Fridays.
In California, it is illegal for female motorists to wear a dressing gown behind the wheel.

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