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The News Hole

What a Wonderful World

Posted 10/11/2006

The family tree of Confucius will be updated to include 1.5 million official descendants of the legendary ancient Chinese philosopher, a roster that includes women for the first time. "We have to adapt to the times," official descendant Kong Dehong said. "Men and women are equal now. Even if a woman has to leave the family when she gets married to live with her husband, that doesn’t change the fact that she is descended from Confucius." The Confucian family tree documents 80 generations; there may be as many as 3 million of his descendants alive today. (IndiaeNews.com)

The British Local Government Association is toying with the idea of charging citizens for the amount of trash they throw away in order to encourage recycling. The success of the scheme would depend on the use of trash cans equipped with computer chips to weigh the amount of trash tossed, rather than that recycled. A "pay as you throw" fee could then be assessed. Many of these computerized cans are already in place in municipalities around Britain. (The Guardian/United Kingdom)

HIV infection in Papua New Guinea has been rising by as much as 30 percent a year. As many as 2 percent of its 6 million people may be infected. (BBC)

Pneumonic plague has killed at least 29 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo since mid-August. More than 500 are believed infected. (AllAfrica.com)

A highly infectious "superbug" has killed at least 49 British hospital patients this year. Clostridium difficile has spread through hospital wards in several areas of the country and affected surgical patients with diarrhea, fever, and inflammation. C. difficile apparently owes its virulency and strength to exposure to antibiotics and hospital cleaning techniques. (The Observer/United Kingdom)

The United Nations has assigned 125 Indian policewomen to peacekeeping duties in Liberia. The women constitute the first all-female unit assigned to such duties. (News24.com/Africa)

Female Iranian auto-racing champion Laleh Seddigh has been barred from competing in her country, despite a fatwa stating that there’s no reason she could not compete with male drivers provided she dresses appropriately. (The Guardian/United Kingdom)

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