Lazy bureaucrats fired
Five bureaucrats have been suspended from their posts after dozing off or reading newspapers at a meeting aimed at instilling discipline in government work, state press said on Friday. The five officials, all leaders at local tax bureaus in Shanxi Province, were ousted from their posts after slacking off at a meeting on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency said. The meeting was aimed at curbing bad work practices, including unexplained absences and playing games or engaging in recreational activities at work, the report said. Shanxi Province has a history of lazy officials, with more than 300 bureaucrats punished last year after being caught gambling, visiting karaoke bars, massage parlors or tea houses during work hours, the China Daily reported.
Tehran keeping drone
A senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard said Tehran would not return a US surveillance drone captured by the armed forces. Deputy head of the guard, General Hossein Salami, said yesterday in remarks broadcast on state television that the violation of the country’s airspace by the US drone was a “hostile act” and warned of a “bigger” response. However, he didn’t elaborate on what Tehran might do. Television broadcast video on Thursday of military officials inspecting what it identified as the RQ-170 Sentinel drone, and offered the first evidence that Tehran had captured the aircraft. State radio has said the unmanned aircraft was detected over the eastern town of Kashmar, 225km from the border with Afghanistan. US officials have acknowledged losing the drone.
Early man knew their plants
Prehistoric people who lived in what today is Kwazulu-Natal Province discovered certain plants’ medicinal properties and made bedding and mats from insect-repelling leaves, researchers said on Friday. An international team, led by Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, discovered several fossilized beds in a well-known rock shelter on a cliff in Sibudu in in the province. The evidence is believed to be 77,000 years old, pre-dating by 50,000 years previous discoveries of preserved bedding. “Sibudu yielded the earliest evidence in the world for plant bedding and the use of medicinal plants,” said team leader Lyn Wadley, whose results were published on Friday in the journal Science. The fossilized bedding evidence consists of a layer of sedge stems and leaves, topped with a thin layer of river wild-quince leaves, which contained insecticidal and mosquito-repelling chemicals.