In Brief In Brief – March 2017 Mar 2017Mar 03 2017 Rotary News Viewed: 245 Floating school in ManipurAt Champu Khangpok, a village in Manipur, children and illiterate adults find it interesting to go to school, as it floats on the Loktak fresh water lake. This elementary school is an initiative of the All Loktak Lake Fisherman’s Union, supported by an NGO — People Resources Development Association. It provides education to children of the phumdis, a fishermen community, who were evacuated from their floating huts by the Loktak Development Authority, as part of clearing the lake under the Loktak Lake Protection Act 2006. The lake is a rich source of livelihood for fishermen, and for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply, and a staging site for migratory birds. Beating the Buddha for good harvestIn a unique ceremony leading up to the traditional Lantern Festival in February, Chinese villagers beat a rock-statue of the Buddha wishing for a good New Year and abundant harvest. The idol is wrapped in a red cloth and tied to a wooden palanquin. Four men attempt to carry it across a river, while another team tries to block them with freshly-hewn bamboo sticks. After a mock struggle, the defenders relent and the Buddha is welcomed into the village with fanfare. This tradition follows a legend where a village suffered heavy floods which ruined the harvest. One of the villagers dreamt of a Buddha idol buried in the fields that could stop the flooding. When they found it, the Buddha wanted to run away and people believed that beating the statue made Buddha stay on. Udta PunjabHawai Adda is the newest attraction for foodies in Ludhiana. It is an Airbus 320-turned-restaurant created by four brothers inspired by the luxurious food and travel experience of the Maharaja Express train in New Delhi. Engineers redesigned the junked Airbus brought in parts from a scrap dealer in Delhi. All the original elements of the plane, except the furniture, has been retained and it has a bakery, café and a banquet hall. The 70-seater vegetarian restaurant initially had the municipal corporation authorities wondering if it was a new building. Pavement lights for smartphone addictsBodegraven, a Dutch town is trialling a traffic light system specially aimed at smartphone addicts. A series of LED lights in red and green, embedded into the pavement at pedestrian crossings, alert pedestrians addicted to their smartphones either on social media or mobile gaming, on when to cross the road and when to stop, depending upon the traffic signal. Though it serves to reduce traffic accidents, the system, called +Lichtlijn, has attracted criticism from a Dutch road safety organisation claiming it “rewards bad behaviour.” If this pilot proves successful, more will be rolled out across Netherlands. Similar pavement lights are being tested in the German city of Augsburg too. Cashless weddingsCouples from diverse backgrounds, including farmers, teachers and daily wagers, tied the nuptial knot at a mass marriage ceremony held at Gujarat’s Bayad town, without a single penny spent in cash. Every expense, from the priests’ dakshina, kanyadaan, the caterers’ fees, and even gifts for the newly-weds, was met through cheques or digital payment modes. Swipe machines were in place for those who wanted to give monetary gifts using plastic cards.