Antibiotic deaths mystify
Investigators are still searching for the cause of at least six deaths among patients who received the same antibiotic, a deputy health minister said yesterday. Local officials have been ordered to file daily reports on possible new victims, said Jiang Zuojun. "We can't tell what was wrong with the drug at present," Jiang said at a news conference. The government banned the drug, clindamycin phosphate glucose, last week after a six-year-old girl died and dozens of people fell ill. Five more fatalities have been reported since then, and news reports say there is a possible seventh death.
Two dozen missing in crash
Rescue workers in southern China are searching for 24 people missing after a bus plunged off a mountain road into a river, state media reported. The bus, carrying 35 passengers and traveling from Qiaojia County to Zhaotong City in Yunnan Province on Wednesday, ran off the road into the Niulan river 100m below, Xinhua said in an overnight report. Eleven people were injured, Xinhua said. China has the highest annual road death toll in the world.
Drought problems spread
A persistent drought in parts of China has affected 17.6 million hectares of farmland across the country since April, up 21 percent from the same period last year, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday. Xinhua said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) urged local and central government departments to take efforts to secure water supplies for people and cattle in some northern, southwestern and southern areas that have been hit hardest by the drought.
Rebels forego land mines
Leaders of a rebel movement fighting the country's military junta will stop using land mines in their insurgency, a small, Geneva-based group announced yesterday in disclosing the latest militant group to sign on to its campaign against targeting civilians in war zones. "It decreases our capacity, but we can find other means to fight," said Thomas Thangnou, the top political official of the Chin rebels, who have been fighting Myanmar's government for almost two decades on behalf of what it says are persecuted Christians.
Clash leaves 20 dead
A clash in southern Afghanistan left 12 Taliban militants and 8 policemen killed, a spokesman for a provincial governor said yesterday. The clash occurred on Tuesday in Shaiqh Qalander area of Panjwayi district in Kandahar Province, spokesman Dawood Ahmadi said. In the fight nine militants and seven officers were also wounded, Ahmadi said. The rebels took away their dead and wounded as they fled from the scene and police are pursuing them, he said.
Fetuses found in well
Thirty-five decomposed fetuses have been recovered from a well near a hospital in Punjab, where girls are routinely aborted despite a ban on sex-determination tests, officials said yesterday. "A nurse has made a statement saying she has been working at the hospital for one-and-a-half months, and during this period 12 or 13 female fetuses have been destroyed," Varinder Singh Mohi, a senior government doctor said. The couple who run the hospital in Patran, 115km south of the state capital, Chandigarh, had been arrested, he said. The remains had been sent for tests to determine the sex of the fetuses.
Sumos help fight flab
In their latest effort to fight the flab, overweight Japanese are turning to the behemoths of the sumo ring, who have released a DVD of simple exercises they claim keep them supple and, yes, fit. Sumo Health Exercises features professional sumo wrestlers demonstrating 12 sets of stretches, squats and splits. Despite their impressive girths, sumo wrestlers are fitter than most people think. "For their size, many wrestlers have a low fat ratio. They're professional athletes, after all," Hideki Yazaki of the Japan Sumo Association said. The sumo association says the exercises strengthen the back and legs, and can be performed by children and adults alike. "They're fun, so we hope parents can get kids to do them instead of playing computer games all day," Yazaki said.