Last week China Daily printed a front-page article on the marriage of Zeng Anquan, 45, and Pan Wenjie, 27, in a gay bar in Chengdu. The ceremony marks the first public gay marriage in China, according to the article. Same-sex marriages are currently not recognized in China, so the marriage comes without legal benefits.
Two sisters in Chengdu were hospitalized in the past month with severe cases of thallium poisoning. Guo Xiaoqin, 20, began showing symptoms in mid-December, but died on January 8 while being treated at Huaxi No. 4 Hospital. Her older sister, Guo Lijuan, 24, is currently being treated at the same hospital, where she works as a nurse. Thallium, an extremely poisonous soft metal, is not commonly found in daily life, and the cause of the poisonings is unknown.
Many Sichuanese have come forward to help and show their support in response to the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti last Tuesday. Chen Yan, a disaster-relief worker with the Sichuan provincial emergency volunteer team and a native of Suining, attempted to travel to Haiti shortly after the quake. When he was not allowed to do so, he decided to fly to New York and attempt to obtain a visa from the Haitian Embassy. Chen plans to help allocate supplies to quake survivors. Meanwhile, the teachers and some 3,000 students at Beichuan Vocational Middle School, which was severely impacted by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, raised almost 12,000 yuan to aid victims of the disaster.
Continuing the recent spate of transportation-related developments, the National Development and Reform Commission last week approved the construction of a new high-speed railway line between Chengdu and Xi'an. The line is scheduled to open in 2014 and will shorten the travel time between the two major cities from 13 hours to just three.
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