Valentine’s Day 2013

Many folks will pamper very unconventional valentines today: their pooches. And their felines. And even their feathered friends.
One in five Americans will show their non-human companions some love, spending a collective 815 million dollars on Valentine’s Day goodies for their pets, according to a new survey from the National Retail Federation.
In another survey, the American Pet Products Association says pet owners have treated even fish, horses and “small animals” to Valentine’s Day gifts.
It may sound strange to some, but to loving pet owners, these animals are invaluable companions and it makes those owners “feel good” to coddle them, says Kristen Levine, a pet expert and founder of pet-focused marketing firm Fetching Communications.
The physical interaction that comes with taking care of a pet is even more special – and novel – in an increasingly digital world, she says.
“You communicate digitally with most people in your life through text, e-mail and Facebook” – she says. “But you can’t do that with your pet.”

Valentine's Day 2013
Valentine's Day.

Indonesian officials and Muslim clerics have called for young people to skip Valentine’s Day, saying it’s an excuse for couples to have forbidden sex.
Idris Abdul Somad (deputy mayor of Depok – a town on the outskirts of Jakarta) said Thursday that many teenagers use the Western holiday as a time to express their love, which often leads to premarital sex.
He called on residents to instead take their children to Islamic religious activities.
Meanwhile, hundreds of students in Jambi, on Sumatra island, and Solo, in Central Java, held Valentine’s Day protests Wednesday. Muslim clerics urged youngsters to avoid celebrations in several cities in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Indonesia’s 200 million Muslims practice a moderate form of faith. Attitudes toward Valentine’s Day vary in the Muslim world.

Valentine’s Day isn’t romantic for everyone in a relationship. Especially when that relationship is a fraud.
Phone operators for MoneyGram, a money transfer company, will make more than 30 calls today to victims of romance scams. They’ll refund each victim an average of nearly $ 3.000 that otherwise would have gone to total strangers, usually overseas, for made-up emergency surgeries, supposedly sick children or non-existent customs fees.
Just weeks earlier, these strangers sparked online relationships with their victims, quickly expressing their love, and soon after, the need for money.
Instances of romance scams are the most prevalent at the beginning of a new year. Scams that occurred between January and March of 2012 accounted for nearly a third of the more than 11.000 romance scams MoneyGram detected last year.
“Scammers can prey on victims’ loneliness following the holiday season, which grows leading up to and just after Valentine’s Day” – says Kim Garner, senior vice president of global security and investigations for MoneyGram.
Most scammers are foreigners posing as U.S. citizens abroad, making up stories that range from working for the military overseas to slightly more obscure professions. The current one of choice is a “gemologist” – Garner says. The scammer will tell a victim that he or she ran out of spending money because it’s all “tied up in stones.”

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