Dogs have their day
In a new twist on the phrase "working like a dog," a company in northern China says it will only hire candidates born in the Asian zodiac's year of the dog, Shanghai media reported yesterday. A personnel manager for Jilin Jiangshan Human Resources Development Co Ltd was quoted as saying the company craves loyalty, honesty and efficiency -- qualities associated with people born in the year of the dog. "We consider the requirement necessary to select employees who match our corporate culture," the manager was quoted by Shanghai's Youth Daily newspaper as saying.
Politician attempts suicide
A vice governor of Hunan Province has tried to kill himself after being questioned for corruption, two independent sources and an official newspaper said. The suicide attempt by Zheng Maoqing (鄭茂清), 60, came days after Zhang Chunxian, who made a name for himself by intensifying a crackdown on corruption as communications minister, was appointed Communist Party chief of Hunan. Zheng tried to kill himself at his home in Changsha, capital of Hunan, on Dec. 28 and was rushed to hospital with knife wounds, said the Beijing-based Gongyi Times published by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Koizumi envies dogs
In a sign of Japan's worries about its shrinking population as Asia enters the "Year of the Dog," Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi yesterday expressed envy at the high birthrate enjoyed by man's best friend. "It is the Year of the Dog. Dogs have lots of offspring and I hear they have an easy time giving birth," Koizumi said at his first news conference of the year. "We can't share in dogs' good luck, but I want to forge ahead by borrowing many people's wisdom to create an environment in which people can enjoy raising kids and enrich their lives by having children," added Koizumi, a divorced father of three. Japan's fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime -- fell to a postwar low of 1.2888 in 2004.
Tibetans eye rare passport
Tibetans in India have collected more than US$11,000 to buy a rare travel document from an antique dealer based in Nepal, a news agency report said yesterday. The document is said to be independent Tibet's first and only surviving passport, IANS news agency reported. It was issued to Tsepon Shakabpa, finance secretary to the independent Tibetan government in Lhasa, on Oct. 10, 1947. Shakabpa used it to get visas from several countries including Britain, France, Switzerland and the US. The passport still bears the stamps of these countries, said Tenzing Tsundue, general secretary of the Friends of Tibet.
■ Hong Kong
Man sent obscene images
A man has been convicted of sending obscene video images using a high-tech 3G video phone in the first case of its kind in the territory, a news report said yesterday. Air-conditioning mechanic Leung Kwok-chi, 23, pleaded guilty to making three obscene calls between March and June at a hearing in the city's Kwun Tong court on Tuesday. When the women -- aged 17 to 30 -- answered the calls, they saw a video of a man masturbating on the screen, the South China Morning Post reported. Leung was released on bail of US$45 after Tuesday's hearing and will return to court on Jan. 27 for sentencing.
Cuba linked to JFK murder