In Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, and other parts of the country, Valentine's Day has grown in popularity with companies, like national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, looking to cash in by offering special discounts and promotions. In Pakistan, an Islamic republic, a court banned public Valentine's Day celebrations in its capital. The Islamabad High Court also ordered the media to "ensure that nothing about the celebration of Valentine's Day and its promotion is spread". That hurt some businesses in the city of 2 million people. "I've sold at least 50 percent less flowers today than in past years. People just haven't come out to buy them," said Haider Ali, who works at the F7 flower market in Islamabad. PROMOTING LOVE In other Asian countries, authorities took the opposite position on Valentine's Day, imposing preemptive measures to protect festivities and even encouraging sex. Thailand's government, concerned with its falling birth rate, handed out vitamins to married couples to try to encourage them to have children. While in eastern India, police placed two members of the Bajrang Dal - the youth wing of the hardline World Hindu Council - and four activists from a fringe political party in preventive detention to ensure they didn't disrupt celebrations. Security in Bhubaneswar, capital of Odisha state, was stepped up in public spaces including parks, cinemas and malls to prevent activists from taking the law into their own hands, Deputy Commissioner of Police Satyabrata Roy told Reuters.

New Balance does not tolerate bigotry or hate in any form, the company said. One of our officials was recently asked to comment on a trade policy that was taken out of context. Brand loyalty While the social media firestorm has drawn attention across the globe, in Norridgewock, the companys image appears untainted. In Norridgewock we dont see New Balance as a company, we see them as a member of the community a positive, proactive presence, Norridgewock Town Manager Richard LaBelle said Wednesday. New Balance is a major employer in Maine, with about 900 people on its payroll scattered across a trio of facilities. About 400 employees punch a timecard at the New Balance plant near Norridgewocks short downtown stretch. Another 332 associates work at another facility in neighboring Skowhegan. The company employs another 170 workers at a manufacturing site in Norway. The companys footprint in Maine stretches beyond the towns where its factories are located. In 2011, New Balance gave the University of Maine $5 million to help fund an overhaul of the Orono campus field house and Memorial Gymnasium.

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