100s of dogs saved from cooking pot
Hundreds of dogs being trucked to Chinese restaurants were spared a culinary fate after about 200 animal lovers mobilised to stop them ending up on dinner tables, state-run media said Monday.
A truck crammed with the dogs was forced to stop Friday on a highway in eastern Beijing by a motorist who swerved his car in front of the truck and then used his microblog to alert animal-rights activists, reports said.
The dogs, many apparently stolen from their owners, were being transported from the central Chinese province of Henan to restaurants in Jilin province in the northeast, the China Daily said. It said 430 dogs were rescued, while the Global Times put the number at 520.
Eventually, about 200 animal lovers and activists gathered around the truck in eastern Beijing and after a 15-hour standoff that jammed traffic the dogs were freed early Saturday when an animal-protection group purchased them for 115,000 yuan (ê17,600), the Global Times said.
The interception of the dogs was the latest bold action by pet-lovers in China, where growing awareness of animal rights is colliding with centuries-old culinary practices.
There have been regular reports in recent years of citizens attempting to block trucks carrying hundreds or even thousands of cats to meat markets in southern China, where cat meat is particularly popular.
The China Daily quoted activists saying many of the dogs still had collars with bells and name tags, indicating they had been stolen from their owners and that the trucking company transported a load of dogs to Jilin each week.
The consumption of dog and cat meat, both of which are believed to promote bodily warmth and are thus popular in winter, remains widespread in China despite a surge in popularity as pets.
However, earlier press reports have said authorities were looking into drafting a law that could outlaw the practice.
The reports on the dog rescue suggested the truck company was unlikely to face legal action as it had all the necessary permits to transport the animals.
The healthy dogs were to be made available for adoption in one month while the sick ones, suffering variously from dehydration and infectious diseases, were sent to pet hospitals in Beijing.
Now, coffins for free!
MUMBAI: According to a proposal by Mumbai's civic body, those who cannot afford it will be given a free coffin.
Soon it may not just be people from the Hindu and Muslim community who receive free wood to cremate their dead. If a proposal tabled by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) gets passed, the corporation will foot the bill of wooden caskets for those from the Christian community who cannot afford them.
In this month's general body meeting, BMC Corporator Dilip Shinde from Goregaon tabled a proposal to provide coffins free of cost at various BMC cemeteries in the city. Shinde said, "The BMC provides wood to Hindu and Muslims when someone from the community cannot afford it. Why should the Christian community be left out?"
The city has 43 Hindu crematoriums and seven Christian cemeteries.
It looks like the proposal will be passed. According to BMC's Standing Committee Chairperson Rahul Shewale, "It is a good proposal, and a majority of the Corporators will support it." According to Shinde, "All Christians are not well to do. Even they require assistance from the government. I've seen drastic changes in the price of coffins." The price of teak coffins range between Rs 5,000 and Rs 50,000.
Pilot refused to land over heart attack
SINGAPORE: A passenger has allegedly been left with long-term heart damage after being forced to endure a 14 hour flight while suffering a cardiac arrest.
BBC radio presenter Max Pearson is said to be considering legal action against Singapore Airlines over the incident, the UK's Daily Mail reported.
The journalist, who had been reporting on the Japanese tsunami, had flown from Tokyo to Singapore before boarding a connecting flight bound for London which landed on March 18.
Moments after the plane took off from Singapore Mr Pearson, 51, suffered a heart attack.
Cabin crew allegedly refused to divert the plane so that Mr Pearson could receive urgent medical attention.
He was rushed to hospital once the plane touched down at Heathrow. Emergency surgery saved his life.
While Mr Pearson has declined to speak of the incident yet, a BBC source said that he was lucky to be alive.
"It is lucky he managed to survive," the source said. "It looks as if he was attended to by one of the passengers, who was a doctor, during the flight.
"He says he asked for them to redirect him to hospital but it didn’t happen."
A spokesperson for the company refused to comment.
Girl locked up in library after closing hours
SIINGAPORE: A girl was locked inside Choa Chu Kang National Library at Lot 1 Shoppers' Mall after closing hours last Friday (Apr 15). The girl's family had initially tried to look for the girl in the library, but the staff refused to let them in and insisted that there was no one left inside.
STOMPer Eugene, who witnessed the incident, said:
"The girl had been stuck in the library from the closing time at 9pm until about 10.45pm, when an NLB technician finally arrived to open the library doors.
"The Lot 1 staff, the girl's family and some onlookers were on the scene.
"The Lot 1 staff had to call NLB to send someone down. I spoke to the girl's family members and apparently, the girl was inside the library while her family was shopping in the Lot 1 complex, but by the time the library closed, they couldn't find their daughter.
"When the family went back to the library, the remaining library staff were closing up and insisted that they had checked and that the place was empty. They refused to let the family go inside.
"A little while later the Lot 1 management tried to check inside the library as well but the staff again insisted the library was empty. They denied the Lot 1 management entry to search the place.
"However, at about 10pm, the father of the girl walked past the library again and saw her stuck inside. How could this kind of service failure have happened?
"The library staff had certainly neglected their duties when closing up, and had not checked the library thoroughly. Also, they should not have denied the family or the Lot 1 management entry to do another search since they knew the missing girl had last been to the library.
"Furthermore, shouldn't the library branch manager or staff have been on hand to offer an explanation and apology for the incident, instead of just a technician who didn’t know what was going on?
"It was lucky that the father of the young girl went up to the library a third time, otherwise she would have been trapped inside the library overnight!"
Female doctors brawl in hospital
SYDNEY: A grudge turned into an all-out brawl when a female doctor punched and struck a colleague in the head with a tray at one of Sydney's major hospitals.
Pathologist Dr Ushma Samaraweera was sacked over the fight at Prince of Wales Hospital during which she verbally abused fellow doctor Sue Fredericks.
The punch-up was detailed in the Industrial Relations Commission where Dr Samaraweera alleged she was unfairly dismissed. She failed to win her job back.
Tensions between the two women had been simmering for more than a year over work loads and they were not on speaking terms when they bumped into each other in the pathology unit.
Despite her 17cm height disadvantage, Dr Samaraweera used a "cricket bowl action" as she broke a document tray while trying to hit Dr Fredericks in the head, the commission heard.
Dr Samaraweera denied taking a run up.
Dr Samaraweera also punched Dr Fredericks several times during the fight.
Despite the evidence, Dr Samaraweera claimed she had a calm and placid nature and deserved her job back.
The fight occurred outside the offices of other doctors who heard the two women screaming at each other.
Dr Fredericks and some of her colleagues had taken issue with the "allocation of work" to Dr Samaraweera.
The commission heard that there was an "initial bump", which was most likely accidental, but sparked the brawl.
Commissioner Elizabeth Bishop said Dr Fredericks was struck in the arm when she tried to defend herself from being hit in the head with the tray. Both women suffered bruising and cuts.
Dr Samaraweera claimed Dr Fredericks started the fight and had thrown the punches.
Ms Bishop accepted Dr Fredericks' version of the fight and said it was more likely that Dr Samaraweera had "snapped" in response to what she thought was a deliberate bump.
She also found Dr Samaraweera had an over-sensitive nature and was thin-skinned.
Unwitting audience clap and cheer as teenager stabs himself to death on stage
US: A troubled 19-year-old stabbed himself to death on stage at an open mic night after playing a song called Sorry For All the Mess.
Kipp Rusty Walker repeatedly plunged the six-inch blade into his chest as the audience clapped and cheered in the mistaken belief it was piece of performance art, reports Daily Mail.
But when he collapsed in a pool of his own blood they started screaming in horror and rushed to help him, but his wounds were too severe and he died soon after.
The bizarre suicide has left the community of Bend in Oregon stunned and wondering why he would end his life in such a public way.
The paper says questions will be asked of mental health authorities after it emerged that Walker had told friends of his plan and had threatened to kill himself before.
On that occasion he had been taken in for treatment but was released back into the community.
Walker took his own life at the Strictly Organic Coffee Company in front of around 15 people during its open mic night.
He got up on stage and performed the number on the keyboard before killing himself.
He was taken to hospital but died shortly after.
Strictly Organic's co-owner Rhonda Ealy told TV news station KTVZ of the confused reaction among the audience as the horror unfolded.