Strange News

The 10-12kg chunk of ice fell on Fazilpur Badli village in Gurgaon district on Saturday with a "big thud".Image copyrightGURGAON POLICE
Image captionThe 10-12kg chunk of ice fell on Fazilpur Badli village in Gurgaon district

Indian officials suspect an icy ball which fell on a village in the northern state of Haryana is frozen human waste leaked from an aeroplane overhead.

The 10-12kg (22lbs – 26lbs) chunk of ice fell on Fazilpur Badli village with a “big thud”, startling residents on Saturday.

Senior Gurgaon official Vivek Kalia told the BBC some villagers thought it was an “extra-terrestrial” object.

Plane toilets store human waste in special tanks.

These are normally disposed of once the plane has landed. But international aviation authorities acknowledge that lavatory leaks can occur in the air.

Mr Kalia told the BBC that a sample of the projectile had been sent for chemical analysis, but “we suspect strongly” that it is frozen airline excrement.

“It was a very heavy icy ball of ice which dropped from the skies early on Saturday morning. There was big thud and people of the village came running out of their homes to find out what had happened,” he said.

“Some villagers thought it was an extra-terrestrial object. Others thought it was some celestial rock and I’ve heard that they took samples home,” he said.

The view from above the clouds from the left side of an unidentified airplane, with the left wing visible in the foreground and white clouds separating to show the mountainous ground below
Image captionHuman waste occasionally forms around the overflow outlets for aeroplane toilets before plummeting to the ground

A senior official of the Indian Meteorological Department, who examined a small sample, said the projectile was “definitely not a meteorological phenomenon”.

In December 2016, a court in India ruled that airlines in India would be fined if their planes release human waste from toilets in the air

In January 2016, a woman in central Madhya Pradesh state suffered a severe shoulder injury when she was hit by a football-sized chunk of ice which fell from the air and crashed into the roof of her house.

A newspaper said that she may have been hit by frozen airline waste.

Why is human waste falling from India’s skies?

Modern commercial aircraft cruise at high altitudes, and the sub-zero temperatures outside cause any liquid to freeze immediately.

The resulting ice then breaks off the plane, gaining speed as it falls to the ground far below. Most ice will break up on descent.

Frozen human waste very occasionally forms around the overflow outlets for aeroplane toilets, and then falls to earth.

Map

They are often called “blue ice”, because of the chemicals added to the toilets in planes to reduce odour and break down the waste.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, for example, has said that around 25 falls of “blue ice” are reported every year from the 2.5 million flights a year over UK airspace.

 

Chinese staff paid in bricks to top up unpaid wages

A man at a brick factory in ChinaImage copyrigh tKEREN SU/CHINA SPAN
Image caption Many of the migrants were from mountainous regions of southwest China and lived “by candlelight and with wood fire heating”.

Employees at a brick factory in southeast China who were collectively owed some 90,000 yuan (US $14,050; £10,080) had their unpaid wages topped up in bricks, it’s reported.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, some 30 factory workers in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, agreed to receive 290,000 bricks in exchange for 80,000 yuan of their owed earnings.

Jiangxi Daily reports that the workers, all of whom were migrants, came from mountainous regions of Yunnan province in the southwest, and had no choice but to live “by candlelight, with wood fire heating”.

After their local labour department intervened with the help of the courts, the employees agreed to receive bricks from the factory in exchange for their unpaid earnings.

Xinhua says that their employer, who has not been named by local media, is still trying to figure out a way to repay staff the remaining 10,000 yuan that they are owed.

The story has ignited lively debate on Chinese social media, with many users of the Sina Weibo microblog expressing concern. “Why is it always rural migrant workers that are paid in arrears?” asks one.

Others make jokes at the expense of China’s housing bubble, saying that the situation has become so bad that bricks constitute a decent substitute for finances.

Disputes between migrant workers and their employers are particularly common during the winter months, especially in the lead-up to Chinese New Year, which this year falls on 16 February.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions says that it has helped more than five million migrant workers in China receive unpaid wages totalling 30bn yuan ($4.5bn; £3.36bn) in the last five years.

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