Valentine's Day news, good and bad, from around the world

Not everybody is as enamoured of Valentine's Day as all the bouquets, chocolates and balloons would lead you to think.

From a protest in Japan which claims "public smooching is terrorism" to virtual girlfriends in China, here are some stories that turn Valentine's Day upside down.


Japan killjoys protest Valentine's 'love capitalists'

TOKYO (AFP) - As Japan celebrated Valentine's Day on Saturday a group of killjoys marched through Tokyo protesting what it called the "passion-based capitalism" of the annual celebration of romance.

Members of 'Kakuhido', which translates as the Revolutionary Alliance of Men that Women find Unattractive and claims on its website that "public smooching is terrorism", walked through the busy Shibuya district waving banners with buzzkill slogans demanding an end to Valentine's Day.

However, the spoil-sport group was met by bemused looks from passers-by as the grumpy comrades, numbering just 10 in total, chanted: "Don't be duped by the conspiracy of chocolate makers!" READ MORE HERE

Online lovers the latest e-commerce fad in China

BEIJING (China Daily/Asia News Network) - Liang Shu applied for a very special part-time job when she was a freshman - being a virtual girlfriend, or paid online girlfriend, to total strangers.

"I thought it would be fun and make me some extra money as well," said the 19-year-old student in Shanghai.

"All the job requires is that we listen to clients and meet as many of their requests as possible," Liang said. READ MORE HERE

Valentine 'police' to offer roses, even weddings for Indians caught kissing, hugging

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - Right-wing Hindus in India are offering white roses, free counselling and a chance to get married for couples caught kissing or hugging in public places on Valentine's Day.

Roving three-person teams of volunteers from the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha will fan out across India on Feb 14, scanning parks and public spaces for couples exhibiting "inappropriate behaviour".

"We'll explain the meaning of love to them," said Chander Prakash Kaushik, the group's president. "We are against any vulgarity, not against love." READ MORE HERE

Indian students to protest at right-wing group's vow to marry unwed canoodling couples

NEW DELHI (AFP) - A right-wing Hindu group that has vowed to marry off unwed Indian couples indulging in public displays of affection may get more than it bargained for this Valentine's Day.

Hundreds of Delhi university students are planning to descend on the offices of the Akhil Bhart Hindu Mahasabha on Saturday and demand a mass wedding, in what they say is a protest against the "politics of oppression".

Some Hindu hardliners view Valentine's Day as a Western import that goes against Indian culture, and have in the past threatened to forcibly marry couples found together. The Akhil Bhart Hindu Mahasabha, or All-India Hindu Assembly, said it would dispatch teams to parks and shopping malls across the Indian capital on Saturday to target canoodling couples. READ MORE HERE

Bangkok tells young people to keep minds off sex on Valentine's Day

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Bangkok city officials are urging young Thais to forgo sex on Valentine's Day this weekend and visit temples instead, as a far better way to mark the day of love.

Thailand has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Southeast Asia, public health officials say, and faces HIV infection rates among its gays comparable to those in Africa's Aids hotspots.

The Feb 14 celebrations are a popular Western import in tourist-friendly Thailand, but the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is worried about teenagers making love. READ MORE HERE

Japanese women throng stores as they splurge on chocolate for men on Valentine's Day

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese women jostled feverishly for elbow room at stores on Friday to buy Valentine's Day chocolates for the men in their lives - guys who do sweet nothing in return.

While the ladies splurge on the object of their desire - as well as friends, colleagues and bosses - men simply wait for the goodies to pour in on Feb 14 and gorge to their heart's content.

It's a far cry from the Western version of Valentine's Day with its saucy commercials featuring handsome hunks swooping in to leave a box of chocolates on a lover's bed. READ MORE HERE