Beijing reintroduces mandatory exercises

China may be surpassing the United States in energy use and is catching up in the race for the world's biggest economy, but there's one superlative Beijing is trying to avoid: world's fattest country.

Starting this week, the city of Beijing has resumed mandatory daily workplace calisthenics, after a three-year break. Radio broadcast exercise regimens first began in 1951, but were suspended in 2007 so broadcasters could spend more time reporting on the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in Beijing. According to the media blog Danwei, Radio Exercise Set #8 will be broadcast on FM 102.5 every day at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Four million workers in the city are participating.

The Guardian interviewed several Beijing residents who supported the move, claiming it will benefit the city's younger workers:

"They are not lazy, they are just too busy. They have a lot of pressure at work and don't have time to exercise otherwise," said retired engineer Yang Jinrong, 55, as she took a break from playing badminton with her husband in a city centre park.

"Of course, the radio exercises will do young people good. Like they say on TV, 'Life lies in movement'," said Li Zhigang, 50, dropping to the ground to demonstrate the lotus yoga position.

Mr Sun, a 30-year-old who works in marketing, said he hoped private sector firms would adopt the drills. "I think this [resumption] is really necessary, because people's living habits are very bad now. They sit in the office the whole day," he said.

"I have my own exercise plan, but I never put it into practice because I am too busy."

Each exercise session is only 8 minutes long, meaning Chinese citizens might still need to hit the gym in order to offset the calories consumed at the country's 3,000 Kentucky Fried Chicken branches (apparently, Yum Brands opens one new KFC in mainland China nearly every day).   How do you say Double Down in Mandarin?

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Iran digs mass graves for U.S. soldiers

Following Admiral Mullen's declaration last week that the U.S. military has a plan to attack Iran but really does not want to use it, a former deputy commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard has claimed that Iran has dug mass graves for U.S. soldiers in preparation for war.  Not saying exactly how many graves have been dug, General Hossein Kana'ani Moghadam told AP:

"The mass graves that used to be for burying Saddam's soldiers have now been prepared again for U.S. soldiers, and this is the reason for digging this big number of graves," […]

If U.S. forces attack, "Iran will have no choice but to strike the American bases in the region," he said. "The heavy costs of such a war will not be just on the Islamic Republic of Iran. America and other countries should accept that this would be the start of an extensive war in the region.

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