Climber's body identified
Chinese and US rescuers have formally identified a body found in a remote mountainous area of Sichuan Province as that of Charlie Fowler,52, who has been missing since early November, state media said yesterday. His body, buried in snow with only the legs exposed, was found on Wednesday on Genyen mountain. Search teams are still looking for Fowler's climbing partner Christine Boskoff, 39.
Weather getting extreme
The nation experienced its warmest year last year since 1951, packed with an unusually high number of natural disasters, Xinhua news agency said yesterday, putting the blame on global warming. The director of the Beijing Climate Center said there had been less rain, higher temperatures and an unusual series of storms and typhoons, plus drought during the year. The China Meteorological Administra-tion's annual report said that the amount of damage was "rare" in the country's history.
High waves lash south
Beachgoers were warned of waves up to 3m high lashing coastal areas on the Gulf of Thailand, the official Thai News Agency said yesterday. Officials urged New Year revelers to closely monitor weather forecasts before heading for beaches in the southern region of the gulf. High waves were reported on beaches in Surat Thani and Chumphon. Rescue workers are patrolling both land and sea areas, officials said. Meanwhile, Malaysia's Meteorological Department warned of waves of up to 4.5m off the eastern coast of the peninsula as well as Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo. Strong winds of 50 to 60 kph were forecasted.
Woman swallows spoon
A young woman in Sydney got more than she bargained for during a dinner conversation when she laughed so hard she accidentally swallowed a spoon. The 26-year-old ingested a teaspoon when she was overcome by the giggles while eating spaghetti, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper said. The 15cm spoon stuck in her throat at the top of her stomach. Doctors at Canterbury Hospital sedated the woman and removed it "with great difficulty" during a 90-minute operation.
Internet-cafe killer dies
A 33-year-old man who raped and murdered six children he lured off the street or from an Internet cafe was executed yesterday in Heilongjiang Province, Xinhua news agency said. Gong Runbo was sentenced to death by a court in Jiamusi on July 13 and was ordered to pay 661,840 yuan (US$84,780) to the victims' families. He assaulted and killed the children, aged between nine and 16, between March 2005 and last February. He was arrested in February when a boy, who escaped from the apartment where Gong had lured him, called the police, Xinhua said. As of today, the Supreme People's Court will reassume authority over the approval of death penalties for the first time since it was devolved to provincial higher courts during a 1980s crackdown.
Officials urged to behave
Chinese Communist Party officials have been urged to avoid corruption and practice self-restraint over the New Year holiday, banning lavish banquets and other indulgences. The party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the Ministry of Supervision issued a circular requesting that officials show "enhanced awareness" and asking them to set an example, Xinhua said. "All party officials must have a healthy, civilized and thrifty New Year holiday and Spring Festival, and economically arrange activities during the holidays," it said. The circular bans officials from spending government money on visits, tours, banquets and other expensive entertainment. It also warns them against taking bribes, gambling and "other means of collecting money such as weddings and funerals."