Striptease funerals banned
Striptease send-offs at funerals may become a thing of the past after five people were arrested for organizing the intimate farewells, state media reported on Wednesday. Police swooped last week after two groups of strippers gave "obscene performances" at a farmer's funeral in Donghai County, Jiangsu Province, Xinhua news agency said. The disrobing served a higher purpose, the report noted. "Striptease used to be a common practice at funerals in Donghai's rural areas to allure viewers," it said. "Local villagers believe that the more people who attend the funeral, the more the dead person is honored."
Centenarian gets pacemaker
A 107-year-old woman has become the oldest person in the country to be fitted with a pacemaker, state media said yesterday. Zhai Xiuying, whose heart rate was only 20 beats per minute, had the operation on Saturday in Xian, home to the terracotta warriors and capital of Shaanxi Province. Song Qinggang, who performed the operation, said Zhai's heart rate had increased to 60 beats per minute. "She was able to sit up for a chat with us yesterday," Song told the news agency. The patient's daughter said a sense of humor, healthy appetite and exercise had contributed to her long life.
Softer line on drugs mooted
The government is considering forbidding state drug rehabilitation centers from physically punishing or verbally humiliating drug addicts in an effort to adopt a more humanitarian approach in its anti-drug policy, state media said yesterday. The ban is part of a draft anti-drug law currently being reviewed by the legislature.
Rapist's dad hired `hitman'
The father of a rapist was jailed for 14 years yesterday for paying a "hitman," who was actually an undercover police officer, to kill his son's teenage victim. During his trial, the prosecutor said Chaouki Bou-Antoun, 51, had paid an undercover police officer a deposit of A$3,000 (US$2,280) to kill his son's 16-year-old rape victim, reported local media. The father and son planned to pay the "hitman" a total of A$23,000 to have the girl raped then shot, the prosecutor said. The son, Khater Bou-Antoun, was jailed in May for rape and for attempting to arrange his victim's murder. When he was arrested he recruited his father to hire a "hitman" to murder the girl and secure his son's release before trial.
About 1,000 cattle have been infected with foot-and-mouth disease since an outbreak began in late June, but most of the cows have since recovered, an official said yesterday. Only 20 have died of the disease in northeastern Kartie Province, said Kao Phal, the animal health director at the agriculture ministry. Hundreds more cattle have been infected in eastern and northeastern parts of the country, he said. "But most of the infected cows have recovered. Only a small number of them are still sick," Kao Phal said. "The situation is not so serious, but it has affected farming activities in some places," he said.
Marines kill militant
One Muslim militant was killed and four Marines wounded in a clash on Jolo, an official said yesterday. Troops out on patrol ran into an undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf militants near the town of Patikul at dawn, triggering the fighting, Marine spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Caculitan said. One gunman was killed, while four soldiers were wounded, Caculitan said, adding that troops were conducting follow up operations in the area. The Abu Sayyaf is on the US State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations and is blamed for the Philippines' worst terrorist attacks. It is also responsible for a spate of kidnappings, killings and bombings targeting foreigners and locals.