Bird flu death confirmed
An international test has confirmed a 44-year-old fried chicken vendor who died earlier this month had bird flu, a senior health ministry official said yesterday. The man, from east Jakarta, died on July 12. His death brought to 42 the number of Indonesians killed by the bird flu virus. "The man was confirmed to have bird flu by the Hong Kong laboratory," I Nyoman Kandun, director-general of communicable disease control at the Health Ministry said. "He had contact with chicken every day when preparing fried chicken. All his family members have tested negative for bird flu," said Runizar Ruesin, the head of the health ministry's Bird Flu Information Center.
`Unhealthy songs' face ban
The government plans to ban "unhealthy songs" at karaoke bars, state media reported yesterday. "Some songs contain unhealthy content and have not been censored by cultural administrative departments," the Beijing Youth Daily quoted Liang Gang, a Ministry of Culture official, as saying. "That has a negative impact on the supervision of cultural security in our country." Liang did not elaborate on what constitutes "unhealthy content," saying only the move was aimed at protecting copyright. However karaoke bars are known to offer uncensored pop songs from Hong Kong and Taiwan, which do not conform to the Communist Party's moral and political agendas. Liang said the adoption of the government-approved system was voluntary but Karaoke operators had to be responsible for the copyright of the songs they used.
Sonia Gandhi film axed
The ruling Congress party has served a legal notice on film director Jagmohan Mundhra to stop him making a film on the party's Italian-born chief Sonia Gandhi, an official said yesterday. He did not give any details but the media reported that the notice had also been sent to the film's producer Sunanda Murli Manohar and journalist Rasheed Kidwai, on whose book the film is based. People close to the Gandhi clan say that Sonia Gandhi is very shy, which could be the main reason for the party's apprehensions over the film.
■ Hong Kong
Bars sued for illicit games
Five high-profile bars are being taken to court for screening World Cup soccer matches using unauthorized satellite feeds, industry watchdogs said yesterday. Legal action is being taken against the five unnamed bars after they used Philippine, Thai and South African TV feeds to screen matches throughout the tournament. The action was being taken by FIFA and Hong Kong Cable TV, the authorized rights holder for World Cup matches in the territory.
Sex induces labor
Having sex late in pregnancy could help some women deliver without the need to artificially induce labor, according to a research report by doctors. A study of 200 healthy, married women indicated that those who have intercourse late in their pregnancies were more likely than women who didn't to deliver at 38-40 weeks of pregnancy, said Tan Peng Chiong, an obstetrics and gynecology lecturer at the University of Malaya. A full-term pregnancy is 38-42 weeks. "We found that the women who had sex go into labor slightly earlier," Tan said.
Flavored beers taking off
Some people may feel ill at the thought of apple or orange-flavored beer, but that is the latest trend in the brewing industry. In a nation famous for its brewing traditions, a declining number of people are drinking the classic Pils beer in favor of drinks that beer-drinkers would have turned their noses up at only a few years ago. A growing number of breweries are mixing their beer with Coca-Cola, lime, caffeine or combining it with an energy drink. Anything goes and the range of pre-mixed beer products is expected to grow faster than ever before over the summer. Pre-mixed beers currently make up only 3.5 percent of the market, far less than many traditional beer brands, but it appears to be the start of a trend.