Floods kill 28 people
Floods in central Vietnam since the weekend have killed at least 28 people and left thousands facing starvation as winter nears, officials said yesterday. Although regional rivers have started to recede, more than 187,000 houses were still inundated, the national flood and storm control committee said. Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted a senior Quang Nam Province official as saying that continuous floods since last month had left thousands of people coping with cold and hunger. The flood and storm committee said hundreds of tonnes of instant noodles and rice had been sent to flooded areas, polluted water was being cleansed and houses and infrastructure were being repaired.
Millions of partnerless men
China has 18 million more men of marriageable age than women, the result of sex-selective abortions in a country that has traditionally placed more value on boys, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday. The nation has about 119 boys born for every 100 girls, but that figure rises to about 122 in rural areas, Xinhua quoted National Population and Family Planning Commission Director Zhang Weiqing (張維慶) as saying. China has also warned that the gender imbalance -- the surplus of men is forecast to swell to 30 million by 2020 -- could raise the risks of anti-social and violent behavior among men who cannot find wives, contributing to instability.
Blind patient left in park
Hospital workers took a blind patient to a park and abandoned him, then made an anonymous phone call for an ambulance to take him away, a spokesman for the hospital in the city of Sakai admitted yesterday. The four men took the 63-year-old diabetes patient home, but then left him in a nearby park after his ex-wife refused to take care of him, the spokesman said. "We deeply regret this happened ... We find it difficult to understand why they did such a thing," he said, adding that they had no instruction to abandon him. The patient had refused to be discharged from the hospital al though he was fit enough to be treated as an outpatient, the spokesman said.
Transmission station tested
The nation's largest cellphone service provider successfully tested a transmission station on Mount Everest on Tuesday, making it possible for climbers and those on next year's Olympic torch relay to make calls, Xinhua news agency reported. China Mobile had to hire yaks and porters to help transport equipment up to the station site at 6,500m, Xinhua said. The new station, along with two other China Mobile stations at 5,200m and 5,820m, would provide phone service along the entire Mount Everest climbing route, it said. It would also be put into use during the Olympic torch relay, which will take the flame to the 8,850m summit.
Man marries dog
A man in the southern state of Tamil Naud married a female dog in a traditional Hindu ceremony to atone for killing two dogs -- an act he believes cursed him -- the Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday. P. Selvakumar married the sari-draped former stray named Selvi, chosen by family members and then bathed and clothed for the ceremony on Saturday, the Times said. Selvakumar, 33, told the paper he suffered leg and hand paralysis and lost hearing in one ear after stoning two dogs to death and hanging their bodies from a tree 15 years ago.