Scores of dead pigs in river
Authorities have found 157 dead pigs in a river, Xinhua news agency said yesterday, a year after 16,000 carcasses were discovered in Shanghai’s main waterway. The dead porkers were recovered from the Gan River in Jiangxi Province, which supplies drinking water to the provincial capital, Nanchang, and is a tributary of the Yangtze River, one of the nation’s main waterways, Xinhua said. Tests showed that the tap water remains “safe for drinking,” it said, citing Nanchang authorities. Ear tags indicated the animals came from Zhangshu, state broadcaster CCTV said, citing Jiangxi’s agriculture department.
Protesters torch bus
Students protesting against fuel price rises yesterday set a parked bus on fire and vandalized other vehicles during a strike in Kathmandu, leading police to make more than 60 arrests. The city-wide strike, called by student unions to protest at an increase in the price of gasoline, diesel, kerosene and aviation fuel last week, saw schools and colleges shut and most government vehicles stay off the roads. About 2,000 police patrolled the streets, detaining protesters as they tried to enforce the strike by stopping vehicles. The government has refused to roll back increases of up to 7.6 percent in the fuel prices, announced to offset the rising cost of oil imports.
Blogger jailed for dissent
The government yesterday jailed a prominent blogger for 15 months on a charge of anti-state activity. Pham Viet Dao, 61, a Communist Party member and a former official at the Ministry of Culture, was charged with “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state” after a half-day trial in Hanoi. His blog attracted thousands of hits between February 2012 and May last year. Dao, who appeared calm in court, apologized for “having posted some incorrect information,” but added that he did not think his posts had “badly influenced society.”
Smog insurance on offer
Local companies have offered up a fresh idea to help pollution-weary travelers while cashing in on public concerns over dirty air at the same time — smog insurance. The country’s top online travel agency, Ctrip.com, and leading insurer Ping An have “started to sell haze travel insurance,” the state-run China Daily reported. In exchange for premiums of 10 yuan to 15 yuan (US$1.60 to US$2.40), Ctrip and Ping An have promised to cough up as much as 50 yuan a day to travelers subjected to hazardous skies. Terms and conditions apply — for example, the tourist must have booked a tour through Ctrip lasting three to seven days. The insurance so far only covers six major cities.
Puppy sells for US$1.9m
A Tibetan mastiff puppy has been sold for almost US$2 million, Qianjiang Evening News reported yesterday. A property developer paid 12 million yuan (US$1.9 million) for the one-year-old golden-haired mastiff at a “luxury pet” fair on Tuesday in Zhejiang Province, the paper said. “They have lion’s blood and are top-of-the-range mastiff studs,” the dog’s breeder was quoted as telling the paper. “Pure Tibetan mastiffs are very rare, just like our nationally treasured pandas, so the prices are so high.” However, an industry insider told the paper that the high prices may be the result of agreements among breeders to boost their dogs’ worth.