Beijing launches car quota to counter gridlock
For thousands of hopeful commuters in China’s capital, 2011 started with a click, not a bang. Residents hoping to snap up Beijing car license plate numbers under a new quota system aimed at easing paralysing traffic, logged onto a website that launched in the first moments of the new year. Within 10 minutes, 6,000 people had applied for new plate numbers, a Beijing newspaper reported. By 5 pm, more than 53,000 applications had been submitted online, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The applicants are competing for the first batch of 20,000 plates, which are to be awarded by lottery on January 25. Every month a new batch of plates will become available. The new system aims to reduce the number of cars in the notoriously gridlocked capital. ap
Judo deaths alarm Japanese parents
Research showing that an average of four children die each year during judo lessons in Japan has alarmed some parents as the country prepares to introduce martial arts as a compulsory school sport.
Yoshihiro Murakawa is one of those concerned about the government’s plan, because he is convinced his 12-year-old nephew died in a reckless judo practice. The Japan Judo Accident Victims Association, which Murakawa helped create with other families last March, has urged the government to set safety guidelines for judo at school.
“Many factors are involved here,” Murakawa said of his nephew Koji’s death during judo club training. “First of all, many judo instructors at Japanese schools are too ignorant about what to do when a serious incident occurs,” he said.
Murakawa also criticised some judo club instructors at Japanese schools for neglecting safety measures, such as letting children rest properly.
At least 110 children were killed in school judo practice over 27 years from 1983, according to research by Ryo Uchida, an assistant professor at Aichi University of Education. In 2009 and 2010 alone, 13 children have died and the latest case, involving a six-year-old boy, occurred in November, a local newspaper reported.
Parents have been alarmed by the statistics because Japan plans to introduce traditional martial arts, including judo, as a required subject not only for boys but also girls at middle schools from 2012. Middle school pupils are aged between 12 and 15. afp
More than 1,000 dead birds fall from sky
Wildlife officials are trying to determine what caused more than 1,000 black birds to die and fall from the sky over an Arkansas town.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said that it began receiving reports about the dead birds late at night. The birds fell over a 1-mile area of Beebe, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area.
Commission ornithologist Karen Rowe said the he birds showed physical trauma, and she speculated that “the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail.”
The commission said that New Year’s Eve revelers shooting off fireworks in the area could have startled the birds from their roost and caused them to die from stress.
Robby King, a wildlife officer for the agency, collected about 65 dead birds, which will be sent for testing to the state Livestock and Poultry Commission lab and the National Wildlife Health Center lab in Madison, Wis.
Rowe said that similar events have occurred elsewhere and that test results “usually were inconclusive.” She said she doubted the birds were poisoned. ap
Khalid’s cartoon says it all! Pakistan we MUST react to this bunch of incompetent Baboos & Political Feudals that have held this Motherland hostage while they have looted & pillaged it beyond recovery, unless we the people do something!