Liyan Chen, a grad student in New York, was chatting online recently with her cousin in China.
"He said, 'I want Abbott milk powder,' " Chen told me. " 'I want you to buy it and ship it back.' "
Her cousin wanted her to buy three boxes of Abbott baby formula, sold under the brand name Similac, and ship it to him in China. She did some research and found out the shipping alone could cost $80. "They're not from a very well-off family, and that really surprised me," she said — especially because they can buy Abbott baby formula in stores in China.
China says Japan's decision to participate in joint military exercises with the United States will not dampen its resolve to defend its claim to a disputed island chain that has been a recurring source of tension between the Asian neighbors.
In reference to the joint drills, planned for June, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said "foreign pressure" cannot sway China from protecting its territorial sovereignty in the East China Sea.
Public health authorities in Taiwan have identified the first human case of a new type of bird flu seen outside China.
The development, while not unexpected, points to the potential spread of a new type of bird flu that has, according to the World Health Organization, sickened at least 108 people and been implicated in 22 deaths.
Women hold up half the sky, China's Chairman Mao famously said. But in China, the one-child policy and the traditional preference for boys mean that 117 boys are born for every 100 baby girls. By one estimate, this means there could be 24 million Chinese men unable to find wives by the end of the decade.
As China's economy booms, the marriage market has become just that: a market, with new demands by women for apartments and cars.
But are women really benefiting from their scarcity?