Some 100,000 people in Nanjing turned out to commemorate a teacher who was killed by a speeding car after pushing her pupils out of its way, while thousands lined the streets to pay their respects as her hearse passed by. She was credited with pushing "six or seven students" out of the way of the speeding car that sent her flying 25 meters down the road. Yin, 52, was escorting several hundred pupils to cross a street on the way to a cinema. On Thursday, several hundred children from her school knelt down at the spot where she was killed and cried for her.
■ Papua New Guinea
PM demands an apology
Papua New Guinea has frozen a US$613 million dollar aid package it is receiving from Australia to protest the treatment of its prime minister by security staff at a Brisbane airport. Papua New Guinea has demanded Canberra apologize after security staff ordered Prime Minister Michael Somare to remove his shoes as he transited through Brisbane airport last month on his way home from New Zealand. Australian Prime Minister John Howard refused to apologize, saying his wife Janette always removed her shoes at Australian airports.
Man handles baggage badly
Qantas Airways yesterday suspended a baggage handler who was caught on video opening a passenger's bag which contained a camel costume, donning the head and wandering around the airport tarmac. The costume's owner, David Cox, said he was waiting inside the terminal at Sydney Airport when he glanced outside and saw the baggage handler wearing his camel head. "I obviously was flabbergasted, my jaw dropped to the ground," Cox said. Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said a security camera had recorded the baggage handler, who had been suspended and could be fired pending further investigation.
Unlucky name causes strife
The husband of Su Danhong, the same Chinese name for the cancer-causing Sudan 1 red dye, came home one day and told his wife "Your name is unlucky and would bring disasters to our family. I heard the whole country is after people who are called Su Danhong." The couple had a heated argument after Su refused to go to the registry office to get a divorce. The couple's noisy row drew the attention of neighbors and local officials, who explained to them the news surrounding the food scare. Su Danhong's husband expressed his regret over his ignorance, hit himself on his ear and said he won't listen to hearsay anymore.
■ Hong Kong
Nose yields odd creature
A woman went to her doctor complaining of nose bleeds and an occasional sensation that something was blocking her left nostril. Her family doctor noticed a "brownish mass'' in her nostril but couldn't remove the 5cm creature because of heavy bleeding. In the emergency room, doctors identified the problem as a bloodsucking leech but had trouble pulling it out because it retracted into the nostril and disappeared in a passage of her nasal and sinus cavity. Doctors used a nasal spray to anesthetize it. After two minutes, the leech moved slowly out of the sinus and was retrieved with forceps. A month before, the woman swam and washed her face in a stream while hiking. The leech could have caused suffocation if it moved into the patients' larynx.
■ United States
Pope off the head table
Diners at Italian-themed US restaurant chain Buca di Beppo can no longer enjoy their meals in the presence of the late Pope John Paul II. The chain's parent company, BUCA Inc, has asked its restaurant managers to send decorative busts of the deceased pontiff back to the company's corporate headquarters. "We're very sensitive to offending anyone," said Buca spokesman Bob Kleiber. The plaster busts of John Paul were in most of the chain's 107 US restaurants, Kleiber said. The busts sat on the popular "Pope's Table," which is reserved for large groups, but were removed last Friday as the pontiff's health waned. The busts will likely be replaced with images of another recognizable pope from history and not with a bust of John Paul's successor.
■ United States
Lasers control fly behavior
Meet the Stepford flies. US scientists have created genetically modified flies they can remotely control with laser light. At the flick of a switch the researchers use the laser to make the flies jump, beat their wings and fly on command -- echoing the way the Stepford husbands use a handheld device to control their wives in last year's remake of the classic film. The scientists hope the freakish experiments will show them how nerve activity relates to behavior, perhaps one day helping to restore feelings and movement to people who have lost nerve cells through injury or disease.
■ United Nations
US also opposes reforms
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's sweeping plan for UN reform ran into new problems when the US joined Russia and China in opposing his call for adoption of the entire package at a summit of world leaders in September. The three veto-wielding members of the Security Council -- whose support for the UN overhaul is considered crucial -- said on Thursday that there should be no "artificial deadlines" and made it clear that it would be impossible to accept all of Annan's proposals. They also stressed the importance of getting broad agreement on the divisive issue of Security Council expansion.
Watch out for taxis, buses
Anyone climbing aboard a bus or taxi in Peru should think twice because many drivers have psychopathic tendencies, a university study said on Wednesday. Some 40 percent of the 640 taxi and bus drivers surveyed by Lima's San Marcos University suffered from psychological problems and showed psychopathic tendencies, such as aggressive, anxious and antisocial behavior, the study said. "Drivers showed they would not feel any guilt in injuring or running over a pedestrian," the study added. Hundreds of people die each year in bus and taxi crashes in Peru because of bad roads, poorly maintained vehicles and recklessness by drivers.
■ United States
Mammoth found at work site
The remarkably well-preserved remnants of an estimated half-million-year-old mammoth -- including both tusks -- were discovered at a new housing development in Moorpark, California. An on-site paleontologist found the remains, which include 50 percent to 70 percent of the Ice Age creature, as crews cleared away hillsides to prepare for building, Mayor Pro Tem Clint Harper said. Paleontologist Mark Roeder estimated the mammoth was about 3.7m tall, Harper said. Roeder believed it was not a pygmy or imperial mammoth, but he had not yet determined its exact type, Harper said.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and