‘Obama’ surfs Internet from Chinese cafe

Updated 30 May 2013
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‘Obama’ surfs Internet from Chinese cafe

BEIJING: President Barack Obama appears to be a regular customer of a Chinese Internet cafe, reports said, after the manager forged an identity card in the US leader’s name to help surfers avoid China’s Web rules.
The card has a full-face picture of Obama, lists his correct birthday and gives his address as “White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC,” while stating his ethnicity as “Kenyan,” pictures showed. As part of their efforts to control the web, China’s Communist rulers require Internet cafes to register users’ identity numbers before letting them go online.
The manager of the shop in Jinan, the capital of the eastern province of Shandong, created the card by printing out Obama’s personal details and sticking them on to the front of a genuine ID lost by its holder in 2010. Doing so allowed him to give customers without documentation — such as teenagers — easy access to the Internet, the official sdnews.com.cn website reported late Tuesday. Police were “spooked” when they saw the card during a routine inspection last week, it added, and the manager, identified only by his surname Guo, was given an unspecified “punishment.”


Rickshaw pullers fade from India’s streets

Updated 27 April 2018
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Rickshaw pullers fade from India’s streets

KOLKATA: Mohammad Maqbool Ansari puffs and sweats as he pulls his rickshaw through Kolkata’s teeming streets, a veteran of a gruelling trade long outlawed in most parts of the world and slowly fading from India too.
Kolkata is one of the last places on earth where pulled rickshaws still feature in daily life, but Ansari is among a dying breed still eking a living from this back-breaking labor.
The 62-year-old has been pulling rickshaws for nearly four decades, hauling cargo and passengers by hand in drenching monsoon rains and stifling heat that envelops India’s heaving eastern metropolis.
Their numbers are declining as pulled rickshaws are relegated to history, usurped by tuk tuks, Kolkata’s signature yellow taxis and modern conveniences like Uber.
Ansari cannot imagine life for Kolkata’s thousands of rickshaw-wallahs if the job ceased to exist.
“If we don’t do it, how will we survive? We can’t read or write. We can’t do any other work. Once you start, that’s it. This is our life,” he tells AFP.
Sweating profusely on a searing hot day, his singlet soaked and face dripping, Ansari skilfully weaves his rickshaw through crowded markets and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Wearing simple shoes and a chequered sarong, the only real giveaway of his age is his long beard, snow white and frizzy, and a face weathered from a lifetime plying this disappearing trade.
Twenty minutes later, he stops, wiping his face on a rag. The passenger offers him a glass of water — a rare blessing — and hands a note over.
“When it’s hot, for a trip that costs 50 rupees ($0.75) I’ll ask for an extra 10 rupees. Some will give, some don’t,” he said.
“But I’m happy with being a rickshaw puller. I’m able to feed myself and my family.”