discovered in mail
Postal workers in a Brazilian border town knew there was something suspicious about the shipments from Argentina and were stunned to find scorpions and poisonous snakes in the express mail.
The contraband animals, which also included iguanas, tortoises and lizards, were discovered when the workers had the boxes X-rayed.
Television stations broadcast images of brightly colored tropical snakes coiled and stuffed into plastic containers, the kind typically used for take-away orders at the deli counter.
The contraband animals had crossed the border from Argentina and were being express-mailed to Brazilian cities, police officer Emerson Rodrigues told TV Globo.
Police suspected the express mail case was linked to an international trafficking ring and were using the addresses on the boxes as leads.
World's tallest pagoda
Buddhist dignitaries from across China and abroad gathered to unveil the world's tallest pagoda in eastern China yesterday, a symbol of both the country's rising prosperity and a budding Buddhist revival.
The gleaming 153.79 meter-high landmark, which has so far cost more than 100 million yuan (US$13 million) to construct, boasts a bronze-tiled roof, jade blocks on its sides and a pinnacle of gold.
"The development of religion is closely linked to the development of our economy," Changzhou Mayor Wang Weicheng said after addressing a crowd of orange-robed monks and more than 8,000 devotees. "If our economy is developing well, religion would also be developing at a fast pace."
The rebuilding of the Tianning pagoda received the blessing of the local government, as well as the official Buddhist Association of China, when it was proposed in 2001. Temple officials said it drew donations of money and artefacts from all over China as well as from Chinese residing overseas.