New bus link joins India, Pakistan
The first Pakistani bus left for India yesterday in a new cross border service opened amid efforts to improve ties after a half-century of hostile relations.
The bus rolled out amid the beating of drums from the eastern city of Lahore to Amritsar in India, the 26 passengers showered with rose petals as they boarded.
"It will promote tourism, understanding and stability between the two countries," said Aslam Iqbal, tourism minister in the eastern province of Punjab, of which Lahore is the capital. Iqbal saw off the bus as it left the station.
The two countries signed an agreement in December starting two buses every week between Lahore and Amritsar. The first bus from Amritsar is scheduled to leave for Lahore on January 24.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia
Good luck charms are usually worn around the neck, or on wrist. But this year, Chinese Malaysians are wearing them under their pants.
Red men's underwear emblazoned with auspicious animals and characters have become the rage among Malaysian Chinese ahead of the Chinese lunar New Year holidays, the New Straits Times reported yesterday.
Red is considered an auspicious color among the Chinese, and an essential component of feng shui, the Chinese belief of improving fortunes.
Retailers are cashing in by stocking up on these unique items for the Year of the Dog, which begins on January 29, the Times said.
"Red underwear make up three of every 10 boxes of underwear we sell daily," the Times quoted a sales assistant Nabila Ramli as saying.
Snow strands 160,000
Heavy snow in central China left at least 160,000 people stranded at three train stations including in the capital Beijing, causing chaos during one of the busiest travel periods of the year, state media said yesterday.
About 100,000 people - many of them trying to get home for the Lunar New Year holiday - were left waiting at Beijing's Western train station on Thursday as snowfall disrupted services on a key north-south route, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
In Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan province, another 60,000 people were reportedly held up as they waited to board trains out of the city, Xinhua said.
A court has spared a Thai transsexual drug dealer from caning because Singaporean law does not allow women to be sentenced to that punishment, a newspaper reported yesterday.
Thai prostitute Mongkon Pusuwan, who underwent a sex change from male to female a decade ago, was instead sentenced on Wednesday to six years in jail after a medical report concluded that she was a woman, The Straits Times reported.
District Judge Bala Reddy handed down the sentence after the long-haired Mongkon, 37, pleaded guilty to charges including trafficking in cocaine and tablets containing ketamine, the report said.
The amount of drugs in her possession was too small for her to qualify for the mandatory death penalty for some drug cases.