Mister Donut serves bleach
At least five people who were served bleach-laced water at a Mister Donut store had to be treated by medics, the operator said yesterday. Duskin Co, a Japanese cleaning company that also operates the US fast food franchise in the country, said one of its stores in Osaka served a diluted solution of bleach as drinking water on Friday. The mishap occurred after a worker poured the solution into a pot used for drinking water as part of the cleaning procedure at closing time the previous day, the company said in a statement. On Friday, another worker who thought it had been properly cleaned poured the water out for customers. About 12 people complained about an “unpleasant sensation,” the company said. “Two people were taken to hospital directly from the store, and three others saw doctors on their own,” said a Duskin spokesman, adding none of them was in a serous condition.
Land generates big profits
Authorities have earned almost US$5 trillion in profit by selling land obtained from farmers to developers over the years, a top economist said according to state media. As the country undergoes a huge urbanization process rural land confiscations have led to numerous protests, worrying the Chinese Communist Party, which sees corruption and social unrest as threats to its power. By law, officials may provide compensation worth up to 30 times the value of the land’s output, but in practice they have skimped on payments or foregone them altogether — then sold the land to developers at much higher rates. Wu Jinglian (吳敬璉), an economist at the Development Research Center of the State Council, said: “Some [government] agencies have earned around 30 trillion yuan [US$4.8 trillion], by conservative estimates, from land price spreads in the urbanization campaign over the past decades.” Wu made the remarks at an economic forum at the weekend, Xinhua news agency said.
No prostitution for students
International students studying in the country, where prostitution is legal, have been told they are to be barred from working in the sex trade. A government immigration Web site, www.nzstudywork.com, said yesterday that overseas students have the same workplace rights as all citizens, but lists jobs they cannot do. Foreign students “can’t provide commercial sexual services. In other words, they can’t work as a prostitute, act as an operator of a New Zealand prostitution business or invest in a prostitution business,” the Web site said. Immigration New Zealand general manager Stephen Dunstan said legislation did not preclude students from working as massage therapists.
Firm sorry for Berlusconi ad
The local unit of Ford Motor Co has apologized for an advertisement depicting former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi with a trio of bound women in the trunk of a car. The image appeared over the weekend on a Web site showcasing creative ads. Featuring Ford’s logo, it showed three women bound and gagged in the trunk of a Ford Figo with Berlusconi smiling from the driver’s seat alongside the slogan “Leave your worries behind.” Never used commercially, the ad was reportedly posted online by its creators at an ad agency hired by Ford. The company yesterday said that it regrets the incident, calling the images “contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within Ford.”
‘Be perverse’: Johnny Rotten
Former Sex Pistols front man John Lydon told his fans to “be perverse” yesterday ahead of highly-anticipated concerts in the country with his band Public Image Ltd (PiL). Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten from his days as lead singer of the British punk band in the 1970s, said he would take time out from his gigs in Beijing and Shanghai this weekend to talk to fans. “Be perverse if the fancy takes ya!” he said in a short video message posted on PiL’s official Web site for “PiL fans in China.” The nation’s expanding alternative music scene is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Lydon, who in the past has been forthright in addressing political subjects. Foreign acts invited to perform in the country are usually more mainstream, and potentially less likely to upset authorities by touching on sensitive issues while on stage. The PiL shows follow a concert by British punk-funk act Gang of Four last week that drew dissident artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未) and rock star Cui Jian (崔健), who appeared at the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 before the army cleared the area in a bloody clampdown. Gang of Four’s name was derived from a political faction in the Chinese Communist Party who served as scapegoats for the decade-long chaos of the Cultural Revolution.
Mom unaware of son’s death
The mother of a boy who was killed on Friday by a falling airport sign remained unconscious in a hospital with her own injuries, still unaware of her loss. Heather Bresette and two of her sons were seriously hurt when the 136kg sign fell at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Alabama. She was in serious condition and unconscious after surgeries for broken ankles and a crushed pelvis. “She does not know that her baby is dead,” the family’s priest, the Reverend Don Farnan, said. Luke Bresette, the middle of five children, was killed. His brother, five-year-old Tyler, suffered a concussion. His eight-year-old brother, Sam, had a broken leg and nose. After the sign fell, it took six people to lift it and a dozen people to hold it up while first responders administered aid.
Lawyer suing museum
A lawyer is suing New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, claiming the famed institution is purposely misleading people about how much they have to pay to enter. Like other museums in the city, the Met has what it calls a recommended admissions charge. It is US$25 for adults. However, people do not have to pay that much to get in. They can legally enter the museum for a donation as low as US$0.01. The lawsuit says the museum fails to make this clear. It says the signs and the cashiers make people think they must pay the full US$25.
Single ticket wins millions
A single ticket sold in New Jersey matched all six numbers in Saturday night’s drawing for the US$338.3 million Powerball jackpot, lottery officials said. It was the 13th drawing held in the days since a Virginia man won a US$217 million jackpot on Feb. 6. Thirteen other tickets worth US$1 million each matched all but the final Powerball number on Saturday night. Those tickets were sold in New Jersey and 10 other states. The New Jersey Lottery said on Sunday that details about the winning ticket would be released yesterday, declining to reveal where it had been purchased and whether anyone had immediately come forward.