‘Sexist’ bank sparks outrage
A bank’s offer to automatically transfer most of a husband’s income to his wife’s account has provoked fury and been described as “the most atrocious banking service against men in history.” On its Web site, China Merchants Bank (CMB), a major financial institution, describes its “capital accumulation” service as a “time and energy-efficient” way for a couple to save money. Using fictional newlyweds Xinyan and Wenhao as an example of a couple struggling to save for a home, an advertisement for the service reads: “CMB will check Wenhao’s account balance on a daily basis. Once it goes over 1,000 yuan [US$161], the bank will automatically transfer the excess into Xinyan’s account. Ever since they started using CMB’s capital accumulation service, Xinyan and Wenhao have got on with each other even better and lived in happiness.” Traditionally, women have taken charge of household finances in China, but attitudes have changed and the advertisement set off a firestorm of controversy. One mobile phone news service described it in a headline as “the most atrocious banking service against men in history.”
Wild animal eats girl
A wild animal thought to be a jackal dragged away and devoured a two-year-old girl, police said on Sunday, in a rare fatal attack targeting humans. The toddler was snatched as she played alone by a sugarcane plantation near her home in the district of Mahottari on Saturday. She was found dead the following morning by locals who said only her head remained intact. “The body of the child was found at the bank of a river 300m from her house on Sunday morning,” local police officer Jaya Narayan Yadav said. “The remains of her body looked similar to the remains of a goat eaten by a jackal.” The Indian or Himalayan jackal, which is similar in appearance to a small wolf, is primarily a scavenger, although it is known to supplement its diet with rodents, reptiles, fruit and insects and does occasionally kill poultry, goats and lambs. While jackals frequently bite villagers, fatal attacks are rare.
‘Death Clock’ unveiled
A “Death Clock” has been unveiled in the capital Dhaka to raise awareness about smoking-related deaths in a country which ranks among the world’s highest in tobacco consumption. About 57,000 people die annually from tobacco-related diseases in Bangladesh, on average 156 people per day, said Sayed Badrul Karim from the Progga NGO, which is supported by the Washington-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The “Death Clock,” which keeps a rolling tally of people dying of tobacco-related illnesses each day, was installed on a busy road near Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s residence and on the way to the national parliament house.
Ex-Khmer Rouge leader ill
Ailing former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea has been hospitalized in Phnom Penh and is being treated for acute bronchitis. The 86-year-old is one of only three surviving leaders of the radical movement who are facing war crimes charges in a trial by a UN-backed court. Tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra says Nuon Chea was hospitalized on Sunday. Pheaktra said yesterday that hearings in Nuon Chea’s case had been postponed. Nuon Chea was known as Brother No. 2 after the late Pol Pot, leader of the extremist group whose efforts to realize a utopian society from 1975 to 1979 led to the deaths of about 1.7 million people.
Hundreds join ‘No Pants’
Hundreds of people in Mexico City shed their pants and skirts to take part in the “No Pants Subway Ride” prank that was observed on Sunday, just for laughs, around the world. Young and old of all ages participated in the stunt in the Mexican capital, held once a year in dozens of places, the movement said on its Web site. Organized by New York City-based prank collective Improv Everywhere, the annual event was launched in 2002 and has since spread to more than 60 cities. In places as far apart as Bangkok, Jerusalem, London, Sofia, Stockholm, New York and Washington, participants — fully clothed on top — rode the subway while showing off their panties, briefs and boxers, organizers said.
Christmas CDs hacked
About 50,000 CDs of Christmas carols sent to households by a children’s charity actually contained the words to pro-Nazi songs sung by the Hitler Youth movement, public radio NDR reported on Sunday. SOS Children’s Villages spokesman Roger Damm told NDR the CDs might have been hacked by a far-right group. Both the German branch of the charity and the production company that made the CD have lodged a complaint in Munich for incitement to hatred, Damm said. Hitler Youth was a paramilitary Nazi youth group aimed at training members to serve the Third Reich.
Mutilated dog recovering
A dog reportedly mutilated by drug traffickers is recovering at a sanctuary for abused and abandoned dogs. Sanctuary owner Patricia Ruiz says Pay de Limon (“Lemon Pie”) was fitted with prosthetic front legs last year. The Belgian shepherd mix now walks, jumps and runs. Ruiz says the dog was left in a trash can to die after his two front legs were cut off. She says people who asked her to help Pay de Limon told her that drug traffickers used the dog to practice for mutilating humans.
Steam engine honors Tube
Sunday morning Tube riders in London saw an unusual sight on Sunday: a 19th-century steam engine chugging down the tracks. Transit officials sent the Met Locomotive 1, built in 1898, down London’s Metropolitan Line to mark the 150th anniversary of the city’s Tube network, the world’s oldest. Hundreds of train fans, costume-wearing enthusiasts and curious onlookers gathered at platforms and bridges across the city to watch as the locomotive traveled non-stop from Kensington Olympia station to Moorgate station. London Mayor Boris Johnson was among the invited passengers. He said the trip was “romantic,” describing “thick clouds of white steam going past and then bits of soot coming through from the engine.”
Adoption ban protested
Thousands of people marched through Moscow on Sunday to protest a new law banning Americans from adopting the country’s children, a far bigger number than expected in a sign that outrage over the ban has breathed some life into the dispirited anti-Kremlin opposition movement. Shouting “shame on the scum,” protesters carried posters of President Vladimir Putin and members of parliament who overwhelmingly voted for the law last month. Up to 20,000 took part in the demonstration. Opponents of the adoption ban say it victimizes children to make a political point.