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CCTV (China), SIN CHEW DAILY(Malaysia), CHINA TIMES(Taiwan)

Worldcrunch

BEIJING - A Chinese television reporter looking into accusations that private hospitals were scamming patients with false (and costly) diagnoses applied an unusual undercover trick: he submitted tea as his urine sample. And as it turns out, the CCTV reporter is suffering from quite a number of "diseases," according to three different hospitals, and is desperately in need of costly treatments, the China Times reported.

According to the Sin Chew Daily, last weekend in a report entitled "The secret of the male urology clinic," China's CCTV exposed a common disorder among China's private hospitals in their desperate efforts to accumulate wealth. The reporter used three cups of green tea as his urine for laboratory tests at three supposedly reputable private hospitals in Shijiazhuang, Shenyang City, and Changchun City.

After the analyses, the doctor at the first hospital in Shijiazhuang told the journalist that his urine contained bacteria and fungi among other elements and he recommended a week of treatment which would cost him 546 RMB ($86) per day.

The Shenyang doctor looked at the journalist-patient in a sympathetic way and told him that he suffered from prostate calcification, and that he also had a testicular cyst that needed to be removed. The doctor told him that weekly treatment would cost him 5000 RMB ($785), without counting the extra 3000 RMB ($471) for the surgical removal of the cyst, the Sin Chew Daily wrote quoting from the CCTV report.

At the Changchun hospital, a doctor found from the tea sample that the undercover journalist was so sick he would need a high-tech "Nuclear energy proton treatment" that would cost more than 7000 RMB ($1000) daily.

According to CCTV, the special report was initiated after a man from Jianxi Province had complained to a reporter that he has spent hundreds of thousands of RMB to try to cure his venereal disease without result.

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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