Rabies deaths soar
Guangdong Province has reported more than 300 deaths from rabies last year, the highest number in a decade, as its increasingly affluent population buys more dogs, state media said yesterday. Rabies killed 306 people in the province last year, up 24.9 percent from 2004, the China Daily said. Last year, 330,000 people sought treatment for rabies in Guangdong and 500,000 were vaccinated. There were 1.5 million reported dog bites or scratches. Some 2,660 people died of rabies in China in 2004, according to Ministry of Health figures.
Man thrives on lizard diet
Mukesh Thakur, 25, in Gujarat state consumes up to 25 lizards a day, a news report said on Wednesday. Thakur is known locally as "the lizard boy" and has been popping the reptiles since he was five years old, IANS news agency reported. Thakur's family says he developed the addiction as a child. He came across a lizard while playing and popped it in his mouth and since then has been eating up to 25 lizards a day. They say his strange diet has had no effect on his life except that he is restless if he fails to get a lizard, the report said.
The scenic Songshan mountains surrounding the famed Shaolin Temple are being ravaged by extensive stone quarrying, the Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. More than 20 quarries in the mountains are blasting away forest cover and leaving vast shelves of exposed rock, Xinhua said. "The beautiful landscape of the mountains has been destroyed," Xinhua's report said. Protection efforts are hampered by the area's division into three jurisdictions, Xinhua said.