British office workers were warned off making declarations of love and roses were banned at a Swedish school in a series of warnings that took the romance out of Valentine's Day.
Also putting a downer on candle-lit dinners around the globe were warnings that romantic e-greetings could wreck your computer, that creepy-crawlies might lurk in cut flowers and that Valentine's balloons might cause power outages.
AdvertisementOffice politics reared its ugly head in affairs of the heart in Britain with a legal expert there warning that sending Valentine's Day "e-cards" to colleagues could result in dismissal if they get taken the wrong way.
Peter Mooney, head of consultancy at Employment Law Advisory Services in London, warned: "Sending this sort of thing to a colleague might seem like banter but it could easily be interpreted as an unwanted sexual advance.
"Even sending a traditional Valentine's Day card could result in a sexual harassment claim but the risks are increasing as more and more people send their greetings via the Internet."
A Swedish school said meanwhile it had stopped the sale of roses to students on Valentine's Day to protect the feelings of students without a sweetheart.
"Some students received dozens and others received none," the vice-principal of Gaerdes school in Stockholm, Lars Wikander, told AFP.
He said pupils who received no roses could feel excluded and suffer "from getting no attention at all throughout this special day."
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation had other worries: "If you unexpectedly receive a Valentine's Day e-card, be careful," it said.
It urged Internet users to "be on the lookout for spam emails spreading the Storm Worm malicious software (malware)."
The US Department of Homeland Security said it would be on the lookout for insects lurking in imported cut flowers, having intercepted more than 5,000 pests in plants flown into New York's Kennedy airport last year.
And Californian electrical supplier SCE warned that colorful metallic balloons -- with or without hearts and kisses on them -- could cause power outages if they drifted into high-voltage power lines.
"The electricity can arc across the balloons, causing a short circuit, which can burn down wire, damage equipment and interrupt service," the company said.
Worries about the economy also did their bit to darken the mood, prompting South Koreans to be more spendthrift when it came to Valentine's chocolates.
Imports of expensive Swiss chocolates fell 64 percent in January while imports of cheaper chocs and other candies from China rose 20 percent, according to customs figures quoted by the Korea Times.
Romance was kept alive however by more than 200 couples who got married in Bangkok's Bang Rak district, whose name translates as "the village of love."
Preecha Kamnoetsing, 36, and his new wife Atchaporn Ponsiri, 28, were among lovebirds who chose the festival as their wedding date.
"We want to register today because it is a very special day," Preecha told AFP at a hotel where district officials set up shop to handle the huge number of couples seeking marriage certificates.
In the Philippines, President Gloria Arroyo shrugged off assassination plots and political scandals to spend Valentine's Day singing with Richard Carpenter of "The Carpenters" fame.
The US singer later compared Arroyo to his late sister Karen, saying the president "sang really well. Her voice sounded lovely ... "
Ghana, meanwhile, the world's number two cocoa producer, declared Valentine's Day also Chocolate Day in a bid to boost domestic confectionery consumption.
In South Africa, the former penal colony where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 17 years was the venue for a mass Valentine's Day wedding ceremony as 25 couples tied the knot hoping to be inspired by the ex-president.
"Our father Nelson Mandela survived all those year of hardships and challenges. We have come here in the hope that we can also survive our marriage challenges and be together till death do us part," said Nandipha Getze after marrying long-time love Vuyani Penda.
In New York, hopeless romantics marked the day by tying the knot in freezing temperatures atop the Empire State Building, while health officials handed out brightly packaged condoms as part of a safe sex campaign labeled "Get Some."
Less romantically, at the United Nations, campaigners were due to highlight the poor conditions of labourers in developing countries that supply traditional gifts such as chocolate and flowers to Valentine's Day consumers.
According to the International Labor Rights Forum, which runs a Fairness in Flowers campaign, workers -- among them thousands of child labourers -- are routinely denied labor rights and forced to work in poor conditions.
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