Sick PM visiting Vietnam
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was to be discharged from hospital yesterday after an overnight stay to recover from food poisoning and head directly to the airport for a scheduled trip to Vietnam, government spokeswoman Titima Chaisang said. “She will meet with her Vietnamese counterpart and hold bilateral talks. It’s possible that she will not stay for the evening banquet,” she said. The talks will address trade, investment and tourism — including a proposal for a single tourist visa for Southeast Asian countries — Titima said, adding that Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul was set to accompany Yingluck.
BBC blocked: cable group
The president of Pakistan’s cable TV association said operators had blocked BBC World News because of a documentary critical of the country’s commitment to fighting Islamist militants. Khalid Arain said the decision was implemented on Tuesday after the network showed the documentary, Secret Pakistan, on Nov. 23. The BBC says on its Web site that the two-part documentary explores accusations by CIA officials and western diplomats that Pakistan is failing to live up to its commitments in the war on terror.
Old needles spark outbreak
More than 150 villagers, many of them children, may have been infected with hepatitis C by a clinic that reused old needles, state media and local authorities said yesterday. Nineteen people who received treatment at the privately run clinic in Henan Province have tested positive for the disease, which the WHO says can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. Another 98 are suspected to have been infected, the state-run Beijing Times reported. The paper quoted local officials as saying the clinic regularly reused needles, but that they were still trying to establish whether it was to blame for the outbreak. A statement from health authorities in neighboring Anhui Province said 43 patients who attended the clinic had been screened for the disease, and that the outbreak was “probably due to unsafe injections.”
Poverty line raised to US$1
The government has raised the official poverty line, causing more people to qualify as poor despite a booming economy. It announced a near doubling of its previous poverty line to about US$1 a day on Tuesday. That means 128 million Chinese now qualify as poor, or 100 million more than under the previous amount. The new poverty line is still below the World Bank’s level of US$1.25 a day, but the change brings China closer to international norms after three decades of buoyant growth.
HIV numbers rising
The number of people with the AIDS virus will reach 780,000 by the end of this year, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday, with most having contracted it through heterosexual sex. Xinhua said that a report from the Ministry of Health and the UN estimates there will be about 48,000 new HIV infections in the country this year. HIV gained a foothold in China largely because of unsanitary blood plasma buying schemes and tainted transfusions in hospitals. A number of of relatives of HIV or AIDS patients who contracted the virus through tainted transfusions yesterday planned to protest in front of the Ministry of Finance in Beijing, but abandoned the plan because of the tight security there.