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Misinterpreted Foreign Business Gestures

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A Primer On North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains largely unknown to Americans due mainly to the secrecy and isolationism upheld by its government. The Onion provides a primer on North Korea’s people and culture

‘People Are Inherently Good,’ World Halfheartedly Mutters

NICE, FRANCE—Following yesterday’s terrorist attack in Nice, France that left over 80 people dead and scores more injured, sources reported that a dazed and utterly dejected global populace halfheartedly muttered the phrase “People are inherently good” to themselves Friday.

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PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday.

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Misinterpreted Foreign Business Gestures

When working at a foreign business, it's important to learn the customs and body language of your new associates. Here are the most commonly misinterpreted gestures in other cultures, and what they mean:

  • Nigeria: Eye contact in restroom legally transfers bicycle ownership
  • Ukraine: Smiling means you successfully fixed a national election
  • Thailand: Closed fist moved up-and-down in a "wanking" motion can be misinterpreted as "You are a good little boy and are working very hard to make the sailors happy around the 'house'"
  • Sudan: Twiddling your thumbs means you are bragging that the warlords have yet to cut off your thumbs
  • Germany: Shaking your head communicates "I was unimpressed by your avantgarde one-man show last night"
  • Dominican Republic: Scratching your forearm and adjusting your shirt-sleeve can be misinterpreted as the hit-and-run sign
  • Angola: International sign for choking equals "Hello"
  • International: While both fists thrust forward with the index and pinkie fingers extended means "Metallica!!!" in North America, it means "Sepultura!!!" in Central/South America and "Turbonegro!!!" in Europe

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