Hu's son wins hefty contract
A company headed by the son of Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) has won a hefty government deal to supply airports throughout the country with scanners to detect liquid explosives, Nuctech Co and the civil aviation officials said yesterday. Nuctech's scanners outperformed competitors, using X-rays to detect whether a liquid is harmless or potentially volatile in five seconds, they said. Financial terms for the deal were not disclosed.
Stone Age ruins discovered
Archeologists have made a rare discovery of ruins dating back 20,000 years that contain thousands of stone implements, Xinhua news agency said yesterday. Experts say the find in Shaanxi Province represents one of the most important discoveries ever from the Paleolithic period in China, it said. The sites will provide clues to human life and stone technology at the time, it said, quoting officials at the Shaanxi Provincial Archeological Institute. Relatively few decorative Stone Age tools have been found in China compared with Europe, they said. One of the key finds was a shale shovel, believed to be the earliest polished stone implement ever found in the country, Xinhua said.
Two Singaporean men were released unharmed on Sunday by kidnappers in southern Malaysia after a 2.5 million ringgit (US$704,900) ransom was paid, the Star reported yesterday. The men, a company managing director and his business consultant, both in their 50s, were abducted last Wednesday from the Senai Industrial Estate, it said. Their identity was not revealed in the report.
Hangovers prove costly
Australians have a reputation as big drinkers but a new report has found many cannot handle their hangovers, with drinkers claiming more than 2.6 million sick days a year as a result of a night on the booze. The study of 13,500 drinkers, published in this month's issue of the Medical Journal of Australia, found days lost due to alcohol sickness and injuries was costing A$437 million (US$344 million) a year. The study by Flinders University found heavy drinkers managed their hangovers better than light drinkers who claimed a higher number of sick days.
■ South Korea
Culling at farms widens
The scope of poultry culls around farms infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu will be widened, the agriculture ministry said yesterday, as it battled its third outbreak in less than three weeks. Seoul confirmed on Monday a new case of the highly pathogenic bird flu at a quail farm in North Cholla Province, 170km south of Seoul. The latest case, some 18km from the original H5N1 outbreak in the same province, raised concerns that quarantine measures had failed despite a cull of 760,000 poultry near two infected farms.
Support for PM drops
Public support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has fallen rapidly since he took office in September, newspaper polls released yesterday showed, underscoring voter disappointment over his waning leadership and reformist stance. A poll by the Mainichi Shimbun found 46 percent of respondents supported Abe's Cabinet, down 7 percentage points from a previous poll late last month. Those who disapproved of Abe rose 8 points to 30 percent.
The Asahi Shimbun poll showed support for Abe falling to 47 percent from 53 percent, with disapproval rising from 21 percent to 32 percent.