Bed shortage looms
Tens of thousands of tourists could find themselves without a bed in Beijing when the city hosts the 2008 summer Olympics, state media reported yesterday. The Chinese capital would be around 2.2 million hotel beds short of projected demand during the entire Games, Xinhua news agency said. To fill the gap, a tourism promotion conference would be held next April to attract international hotels and travel agencies to improve and expand accommodation, it said. "They could help to improve the services and the management of mid- and small- sized hotels in Beijing," an official with the Beijing tourism bureau said.
No marital sex, please!
A matchmaking bureau has been set up in eastern China offering platonic marriages to people who want a spouse but don't want the sex, a news report said yesterday. The service in Nanjing has been so successful it has attracted customers from hundreds of kilometers away in northern China, according to the Hong Kong edition of the China Daily. The director of the agency said the service was very popular with people who did not want to live alone but were put off marriage by the prospect of sex. "Because of physical or mental problems, some people need a type of no-sex marriage," the news-paper quoted him saying. "The agency is simply providing services for them."
■ Hong Kong
10-year-old terrors arrested
Twin brothers aged 10 have been arrested by police after holding up shops and terrorizing residents on a Hong Kong public housing estate, a news report said yesterday. The boys were arrested on Sunday after they started a fire by piling up newspapers and magazines and setting them alight in a playground in the city's Kwai Chung district. They have previously had scrapes with the law by holding up shops using toy guns, stealing supermarket trolleys and smashing windows and fire alarms on the Tai Wo Hau estate where they live. Neighbors are exasperated with the behavior of the twins, who live with their single mother and 11-year-old sister on the estate, the South China Morning Post reported.
Man found drifting on pole
An Australian fisherman who spent almost two days in shark-infested waters straddling a bamboo pole like a witch's broomstick was lucky to be alive, his rescuers said yesterday. David Richardson, 36, was fishing with his father on their trawler Star Mist II when the boat sank in rough seas late on Friday in waters off the Queensland state capital, Brisbane. Richard-son became separated from his father when the trawler went down and he clung to a bamboo pole about 5m long. He sat straddled over the bamboo pole for more than 36 hours, drifting about 102km before he was spotted on Sunday by another fisherman.
Landslide kills seven
At least seven people were killed and two were missing after a fresh landslide hit the eastern Philippines yester-day, two weeks after back-to-back storms unleashed landslides and flooding that left nearly 900 dead and hundreds missing, officials said. Continuous rains around Tinambac town in Camarines Sur Province have loosened soil, causing it to collapse onto houses. At least three boys, ages 5 and 16, were among the seven dead. Two more people were missing and seven others were injured.
Soccer stadium evacuated
Some 70,000 spectators were evacuated from Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the 88th minute of a top-flight Spanish soccer game after a bomb threat was reported to a Basque newspaper. Officials said they acted on a "credible" threat but no device was found. Referee Lizondo Cortes halted Sunday evening's game after speaking with an official. With the score at 1-1 between Real Madrid and Real Sociedad, Cortes pointed the players -- including Madrid star striker David Beckham -- toward the tunnel. In an unusual move, fans were allowed to walk across the pitch to access exits more easily.