A shower of rain won't put a damper on Sydney's back-out-of-the-closet annual gay and lesbian Mardi Gras parade. \nNeither will it scupper an attempt at a world record for the most people in one place dancing to the Village People's disco classic "YMCA," chief organizer Michael Woodhouse said yesterday. \nIt's the 26th anniversary edition of the world's favorite out-and-proud protest march, following two lean years in which terrorism fears and global recession thinned the ranks of both participants and spectators. \nWoodhouse said this year's full-strength parade reflected a revival in the fortunes of the month-long Mardi Gras festival and a reprise in its attractiveness to overseas visitors. \n"We've got more than 130 floats featuring more than 6,000 participants," he said. "These people have travelled to Sydney from all over Australia and we're going to show them that Sydney knows how to do a parade -- a little bit of water won't dampen our spirits." \nHe promised traditional favorites like the hard-bodied Melbourne Marching Boys in their skimpy swimming costumes and the Dykes on Bikes at the pointy end of the parade on their high-powered motorcycles. \nThe procession will be led by Monica Hingston and her lesbian partner, also a former nun. Hingston is protesting the refusal of her cousin, Cardinal George Pell, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, to bless her decades-long same-sex union. \nReflecting better times is the appointment of a creative director for the parade and a sell-out for the traditionally riotous post-parade party. \nTakings from the all-night bash at Fox Studios will clear debts that have hobbled organizers for the past two years. \n"Making that last payment will mean that we'll be in a situation where we don't have those extra one-off costs and liabilities," Woodhouse said. "It means that we can start experimenting and changing and taking new risks." \nOrganizers are hoping that 350,000 people will ignore weather forecasts of heavy rain to cheer on the marchers. \nNewly appointed parade creative director Anthony Babicci appealed for a return to a sequin-festooned recent past where revellers vied with each other to have the most outrageous float and the most over-the-top costumes. \n"We want people to go all out, be extravagant like the old days," Babicci said. "I don't want just banners and jeans." \nTipped to take top honors in the parade is a tribute to Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, who shocked his millions of fans earlier this year by feeding a snapping crocodile with his month-old son tucked under his arm.
THE ANSWER? The drug uses neutralizing antibodies produced by the human immune system, which the team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt. A drug being tested by scientists at Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the coronavirus, researchers said. Sunney Xie (謝曉亮), director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, said that the drug had been successful in animal testing. “When we injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” Xie said. “That means this potential drug has [a]
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single