Beijing residents told to stay inside as smog levels soar

Beijing’s residents have been advised to stay indoors after air pollution in the Chinese capital reached hazardous levels.

The warning comes as the governments of more than 190 nations gather in Paris to discuss a possible new global agreement on climate change.

China, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, is suffering from serious air pollution, largely attributed to smog from coal-fired power plants.

The onset of winter and the need for more heating of homes means the problem has intensified in the capital, which has an estimated population of 20 million.

At noon on Saturday, the US embassy in Beijing reported the level of the poisonous, tiny articles of PM2.5 at 391 micrograms per cubic metre.

The World Health Organisation considers the safe level to be 25 micrograms per cubic metre of the particulates.

Since Friday, the city had been shroud in grey smog, reducing visibilities to a few hundred metres.

The ministry of environmental protection has forecast severe pollution for the greater Beijing region, as well as the west part of Shandong and the northern part of Henan until Tuesday, when strong winds from the north are expected to blow away air pollutants.

The ministry has advised the public to stay indoors.

Authorities blame coal burning for winter heating as a major culprit for the air pollution. The ministry said it had sent teams to check on illegal emissions by factories in several northern Chinese cities.

In the past, authorities have shut down factories and pulled half of the vehicles off the roads to curb pollution. But such drastic measures are disruptive and only used when Beijing feels it needs to present a better image to the world, such as hosting major global leaders and events.

Earlier this month, air pollution reached almost 50 times above the recommended levels in Shenyang, in the country’s north-east.

On 9 November, levels of PM2.5 reached 1,157 micrograms per cubic metre in the city, reducing visibility to as little as 100 metres.

Officials said the dangerous smog was caused by a surge in coal-fired electricity use, as the region’s central heating systems kick into gear for winter.



Beijing, following a very long time, sees blue skies again, after banning 2.5 million cars. The authorities restricted the city’s 5 million cars to driving on every other day, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Japan’s WWII defeat on September 3rd.

The measures for the air pollution began in late August, lasted until the day after the parade and Beijing’s usually smoggy skies, becomes a perfect blue.

Zhang Dawei, head of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center, told the Beijing Times taht “This is unprecedented in the history of PM 2.5 monitoring in Beijing. Between Aug. 20 and Sept. 3, Beijing’s average levels of PM 2.5 were 73.2% lower than the same period in 2014.”


Chinese doctors remove dandelion growing inside baby-girl’s ear.

Doctors in Beijing were left shocked after discovering a blossoming dandelion inside the ear canal of a 16-month-old girl, after she was brought to hospital by worried parents.

AFP Photo / Ed Jones

The flower, which had grown about 2cm long, was successfully removed from Ranran’s ear and the girl is currently recovering from surgery, Chinese media reported.

The parents of the toddler, who live in the Tongzhou District in Beijing, said that a seed fell into her left ear about four months ago. However, they only decided it was time to take action when their daughter started crying and scratching her ear, the Shanghai Daily wrote.

Ranran’s mother had a look and saw something inside the girl’s ear, but after failing to take it out, she took the baby to the Capital Institute of Pediatrics.

Image from

Stunned medics found that a fully-formed dandelion had grown in Ranran’s ear, completely filling the canal wall. If not treated, it could have caused serious health problems for her.

It took Gu Qinglong, the chief physician in the otolaryngology department, and several assistants about 10 minutes to remove the dandelion. The doctors said it was not an easy task since the flower was rather tenacious.

Even the slightest bit of pressure put her at risk of internal bleeding so it had to come out,” Qinglong said, as quoted by the Beijing Evening News. It is likely that the warmth and humidity inside the ear canal encouraged the growth of the dandelion, the doctor observed.

This latest episode is far from being the first time that unusual things have been discovered in patients’ ears.

In July this year, a British woman, who started suffering from headaches after a holiday Peru, went to hospital to be told that her ear was filled with flesh-eating worms, reported the Daily Mail.  After maggots removed from the ear canal were sent to a lab for analysis, it was discovered that a New World Army Screw Worm had laid eggs in Rochelle Harris’ ear.

Last year, a spider was reportedly taken out of a Chinese woman’s ear. The sneaky arachnid crawled inside while she was sleeping and resided there for about five days.

China to loosen one-child policy.

China is to relax its policy of restricting most couples to having only a single child, state media say.

In future, families will be allowed two children if one parent is an only child, the Xinhua news agency said.

The proposal follows this week’s meeting of a key decision-making body of the governing Communist Party.

Other reforms include the abolition of “re-education through labour” camps and moves to boost the role of the private sector in the economy.

Though the scale of the Chinese leadership‘s new social and economic reforms are vast, affecting millions across China, none of these changes should come as a shock. Many of these changes have been discussed in the Chinese state media in the past, and many have been test-driven on a smaller scale in different parts of the country.For example, in some Chinese cities for the past few years, couples who are both single children have been allowed the option of having a second child. The latest change will give couples the option of having two children if just one of the parents is an only child.Though the scale of the Chinese leadership’s new social and economic reforms are vast, affecting millions across China, none of these changes should come as a shock. Many of these changes have been discussed in the Chinese state media in the past, and many have been test-driven on a smaller scale in different parts of the country.For example, in some Chinese cities for the past few years, couples who are both single children have been allowed the option of having a second child. The latest change will give couples the option of having two children if just one of the parents is an only child.Similarly, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to abolish the much-hated “re-education through labour” system when he first came to power. Quietly, officials have been winding down the system over the past few months.

The Communist government is not prone to making rash decisions. In order to gain the consensus it needs to carry out its plans at the local level, officials need to announce them well ahead of time. Surprises aren’t popular in China, it seems.

Similarly, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to abolish the much-hated “re-education through labour” system when he first came to power. Quietly, officials have been winding down the system over the past few months.

The Communist government is not prone to making rash decisions. In order to gain the consensus it needs to carry out its plans at the local level, officials need to announce them well ahead of time. Surprises aren’t popular in China, it seems.

The BBC’s Celia Hatton, in Beijing, says most of the changes have already been tested in parts of the country.

Officials announce their plans well in advance to gain the consensus they need, she adds.

Ageing population

The latest announcements are contained in a 22,000-word document released three days after the Third Plenum meeting of the Communist leadership in Beijing.

Traditionally reforms are expected from the Third Plenum, because new leaders are seen as having had time to consolidate power. President Xi Jinping took office last year.

The one-child policy would be “adjusted and improved step by step to promote ‘long-term balanced development of the population in China'”, Xinhua said.

China introduced its one-child policy at the end of the 1970s to curb rapid population growth.

But correspondents say the policy has become increasingly unpopular and that leaders fear the country’s ageing population will both reduce the labour pool and exacerbate elderly care issues.

By 2050, more than a quarter of the population will be over 65.

The one-child policy has on the whole been strictly enforced, though some exceptions already exist, including for ethnic minorities.

In some cities, both parents must be only children in order to be allowed to have a second child.

China’s one-child policy

  • China’s population-control policy was introduced in 1979 and restricts couples in urban areas to only one child
  • In rural areas, families are allowed to have two children if the first is a girl.
  • Other exceptions include ethnic minorities and couples who both lack siblings themselves
  • The policy has meant that about one-third of China’s 1.3 billion citizens cannot have a second child without incurring a fine
  • Campaigners say it has led to forced abortions, female infanticide, and the under-reporting of female births
  • It is also implicated as a cause of China’s gender imbalance

In the countryside, families are allowed to have two children if the first is a girl.

Couples who flout the rules can face heavy fines, or possibly lose their property or their jobs.

Rights groups say the law has meant some women being coerced into abortions, which Beijing denies.

The traditional preference for boys has also created a gender imbalance as some couples opt for sex-selective abortions.

By the end of the decade, demographers say China will have 24 million “leftover men” who, because of China’s gender imbalance, will not be able to find a wife.

Most of the elderly in China are still cared for by relatives, and only children from single-child parents face what is known as the 4-2-1 phenomenon.

When the child reaches working age, he or she could have to care for two parents and four grandparents in retirement.

‘Improve human rights’

On Tuesday, when the Third Plenum ended, China’s leaders also promised that the free market would play a bigger role, and farmers would have greater property rights over their land.

Ageing China


By 2050 more than a quarter of China’s population will be over 65 years old and younger generations face an unprecedented burden of care.

State firms will be required to pay larger dividends to the government, while private firms will be given a greater role in the economy.

There will be greater liberalisation in both interest rates and the free convertibility of the yuan. More overseas investment will be allowed.

There will also be an increase in the number of smaller banks and financial institutions funded by private capital.

Xinhua said the decision to do away with the “re-education through labour” camps was “part of efforts to improve human rights and judicial practices”.

China’s leaders had previously said they wanted to reform the system.

The network of camps created half a century ago holds tens of thousands of inmates.

Police panels have the power to sentence offenders to years in camps without trial.

Other reforms announced on Friday include a reduction in the number of crimes subject to the death penalty.

China: Pollution Blamed for 8-Year-Old’s Lung Cancer.

To the list of China’s environmental horrors, add one: an 8-year-old with lung cancer. Doctors at a hospital in coastal Jiangsu province blamed the girl’s condition on pollution, according to a state media. The child, who has not been identified, reportedly lived near a busy road and was exposed to harmful particles and dust. She is being called China’s youngest-ever lung-cancer patient.

The news comes amid growing concern about the health effects of air pollution. Last month the World Health Organization for the first time classified air pollution as a cause of cancer. The agency said air pollution caused 220,000 cancer deaths in 2010 and that more than half of lung-cancer deaths from particulate matter were in East Asia. Lung-cancer deaths in China have multiplied more than four times in the past three decades, according to government statistics.

The problem is particularly bad in northern China, where coal-powered heating systems add extra filth to the mix. These emissions have shortened the lifespans of Chinese people living north of the Huai River by an average of five years, according to a study published this year by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an American journal. In Beijing, the smog-addled capital, cancer is now the leading cause of death, with lung-cancer rates jumping 60% in a period of 10 years.

Chinese urbanites are all too familiar with chest-rattling smog. In the northern Chinese city of Harbin last month, the pollution was so thick that kids were granted a “smog day” off school, roads were closed and planes grounded. State media said the PM 2.5 reading (which measures the level of dangerous particulate matter in the air) “exceeded” 500. A Reuters report put the figure at 1,000, or 40 times higher than what the World Health Organization deems safe. Last year, Beijing endured weeks of off-the-chart pollution that English speakers now refer to as the “airpocalypse.”

Perhaps the only upside of the city-shuttering smog is that it has forced the Chinese government to own up to the problem. This fall, the government announced a new blueprint for cleaning up the air by 2017. The plan calls for 5 billion yuan, or $817 million, to fight pollution. There will also be color-coded emergency measures for bad pollution days in Beijing. On red days, for instance, half the city’s cars will be idled and schools closed. Under a code orange, factories will slow and activities like fireworks and outdoor barbecues will be restricted.


These plans are better than nothing, but many wonder why the government hasn’t done more to keep people safe. After news of the 8-year-old’s diagnosis broke, hundreds of people commented on the story, wishing the child luck and expressing their own fears about living in a region where the air quite literally kills.

Channeling the sentiment of many here, one reader invoked a Chinese idiom: “Hao hao xuexi, tian tian xiang shang,” or, roughly, “Study hard and make progress every day.” Parents and teachers have been saying it for years, urging children to work harder, do better. But to this old phrase, they added a second bit of advice that reflects the dark mood as the country heads into another toxic winter: “Study hard and make progress every day,” they wrote. “And then leave China.”

Beijing car ban to tackle pollution.

Beijing to restrict private car use to tackle pollution.

Vehicles drive on the Third Ring Road on a very hazy winter day in Beijing
Beijing has more than four million private cars, considered to be a major source of the city‘s air pollution

China’s capital, Beijing, has announced measures to combat worsening air pollution, state-run media report.

They include taking half of the city’s four million private cars off the roads on days when there are serious levels of pollution.

The system will be based on a vehicle’s licence plate – odd numbers will be allowed on the roads one day, even numbers the next.

Motor vehicles are considered a major source of pollution.

The new system will give out four different degrees of air pollution warning – blue, yellow, amber and red, Xinhua news agency reports.

On days when an amber warning is given, factories will stop production and work will be halted on construction and building sites.

Restaurants which offer an open-air barbecue will be ordered to close temporarily and fireworks will be banned throughout the city.

Anger at exemptions

When a red warning is issued, the new car restriction measure will be implemented. Schools and kindergartens will also be closed.

The measure to restrict the number of private cars from using the road is proving to be controversial.

Critics have aired their concern that those who can afford to buy two or more cars will able to drive any day when the restriction is in force.

Users of Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, have also criticised the restriction for targeting ordinary people as cars used by government officials and civil servants are exempted.

One user said that whenever there is a problem in Beijing, “ordinary people are the first to be forced to pay the price for it”.

Beijing has almost 21 million permanent residents, according to official estimates.

There is also a large migrant population in the city, but no exact official figures are available.

Most people relied on bicycles and public transport to get around in the city before private car ownership became popular.

Higher creatinine can occur after CT — even without contrast.

Contrast media is often blamed for what appears to be contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN) in patients getting CT scans. But Chinese researchers have found that elevated rates of serum creatinine — a marker for CIN — can occur after CT even in

There are lots of reasons why patients could have higher serum creatinine levels after CT exams, according to two studies presented by researchers from Peking University First Hospital in Beijing at the 2013 International Symposium on Multidetector-Row CT. Clarifying those reasons is critical, according to the group.

“There are many factors affecting creatinine levels, especially among inpatients,” said Dr. Xiaoying Wang in her presentation. “Many patients have severe diseases where, due to the disease, doctors find it is not appropriate for them to have contrast-enhanced CT.”

Nailing down renal impairment

The findings don’t necessarily fit with conventional wisdom on contrast-induced nephropathy; however, they do highlight the multifactorial nature of impaired renal function and remind clinicians that several factors must be present for a CIN diagnosis, Wang said.

“The definition of CIN is clear and simple, but in practice it’s not easy to define,” she said. CIN requires an absolute or relative increase in serum creatinine (SCr) compared to baseline values, a temporal relationship between the rise in SCr and exposure to a contrast agent, and the exclusion of alternative explanations for renal impairment — which means looking for these explanations.

“Generally, as radiologists it is easy for us to detect an increase in serum creatinine, but it is not very easy for us — sometimes not even easy for nephrologists — to exclude alternative reasons for renal impairment,” Wang said.

In an effort to identify at-risk patients, in Wang’s practice, patients making appointments for contrast-enhanced CT are asked about a range of factors suggestive of CIN risk. The literature shows higher levels of risk for patients with a history of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, renal impairment, liver disease, renal-toxic medications, and a few other circumstances, though the studies used to identify the risk factors involved intra-arterial injection of contrast agents, Wang said.

Study 1: Are at-risk patients really more at risk for CIN?

For patients undergoing contrast-enhanced CT between 2010 and 2012, her group analyzed the association between risk factors and the subsequent development of CIN. The researchers examined a total of 2,556 patients, of whom 1,243 formed an observation group. The patients were measured for SCr before contrast-enhanced CT as well as 48 to 72 hours after CT; if SCr levels rose by the second test, the patient was referred to a nephrologist, and SCr was measured again seven to 10 days later.

In all, 68 (5.5%) of the 1,243 patients were diagnosed with CIN, including 12 with acute renal failure. (Fifty-one patients recovered and five were lost to follow-up.) However, the study showed no statistically significant difference in the development of CIN between the patients with risk factors and those without.

Of the patients who were not at risk, 4.5% (17/375) developed CIN, while in the at-risk group, 5.9% (51/868) developed the condition (p = 0.21). Among patients with no history of chronic kidney disease, only female gender (p = 0.03) and the use of low-osmolar contrast media (p = 0.03) were associated with a significantly increased risk of CIN.

Logistic regression analysis of risk factors showed several that increased the odds of CIN, including a history of diabetes mellitus (odds ratio [OR] = 1.83), history of tumor (OR = 1.54), use of nephrotoxic drugs (OR = 1.69), frequent use of contrast media (OR = 1.13), and use of low-osmolarity contrast media (OR = 2.28). In addition, women had an odds ratio of 1.69, and those older than 75 had an odds ratio of 1.26. The difference was only statistically significant in women (p = 0.04), however.

“These [risk] factors are not very strong to [predict] the incidence of CIN,” Wang said.

Study 2: Is ‘CIN’ risk really higher after noncontrast CT?

To continue to refine risk-factor prediction, the group recently completed a prospective cohort study of 623 patients who underwent CT with and without contrast. Of the 623 patients, 171 formed an observation group that received multiple SCr tests to allow the nephrologist to confirm a temporal association between increased SCr and contrast administration.

Among these 171 patients, 99 underwent contrast-enhanced CT and 72 had CT without contrast. There was no statistically significant difference in demographics and CIN-related risk factors between the 171 patients and the remaining 452, Wang said.

In all, 17 (9.9%) of the 171 patients developed what appeared to be CIN. Dividing up the patients between those who received contrast and those who did not, seven (7.1%) of the 99 who got contrast developed CIN. Meanwhile, 10 (13.9%) of the 72 patients who did not receive contrast developed “CIN.” Again, the difference in CIN rates between those who did and did not receive contrast was not statistically significant (p = 1.414).

Many factors affect creatinine levels, especially among those like the inpatients in this study, who have a wide range of medical conditions and are prescribed a variety of medications, Wang concluded. Even factors ranging from higher muscle mass to recent ingestion of cooked meat can result in higher SCr levels.

“That’s how we explain the higher SCr levels among noncontrast CT patients,” she said. “The increase of serum creatinine level after CT examination may occur without iodine contrast administration.”

She cautioned, though, that the sample sizes were small in both studies.

Excluding alternative explanations for renal impairment is crucial for diagnosing CIN, Wang concluded, and large, prospective cohort studies are needed to determine the true incidence of CIN in contrast-enhanced CT.


New China law says children ‘must visit parents’.

Grown children in China must visit their parents or potentially face fines or jail, a new law that came into effect on Monday says.

old china

China’s new “Elderly Rights Law” deals with the growing problem of lonely elderly people by ordering adult children to visit their ageing parents.

The law says adults should care about their parents “spiritual needs” and “never neglect or snub elderly people”.

The regulation has been ridiculed by tens of thousands of Chinese web users.

Many across China are questioning how the law could be enforced, since it fails to spell out a detailed schedule dictating the frequency with which children should make parental house calls.

“Those who live far away from parents should go home often,” it says.

However, that does not mean the law is toothless.

Instead, it serves as an “educational message” to the public, while also serving as a starting point for law suits, explained Zhang Yan Feng, a lawyer with Beijing’s King & Capital Law Firm.

“It’s hard to put this law into practice, but not impossible,” Mr Zhang explained.

“If a case is brought to court on the basis of this law, I think it’ll probably end up in a peaceful settlement. But if no settlement is reached, technically speaking, court rulings can force the person to visit home certain times a month.”

“If this person disobeys court rulings, he could be fined or detained.”

‘Spontaneous emotions’

 “Start Quote

We all know to cherish our elderly parents, but sometimes we are just too busy trying to make a living”

Weibo user

But few in China seem to fear they will end up behind bars if they fail to log visits home.

“Who doesn’t want to visit home often? What is considered “often”? Who will oversee the process?” complained one poster on weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

“We all know to cherish our elderly parents, but sometimes we are just too busy trying to make a living and the pressure is too much.”

“It’s fine that no-one is paying for us to visit our parents, but is there someone who can give us time off to do it?” asked another.

The question of how to deal with ageing parents is a mounting problem in China.

According to Chinese government statistics, more than 178 million people in China were 60 years or older in 2010. By 2030, that figure will double.

As China’s population goes grey, the Chinese media fills with stories of neglected old people.

Many were shocked by the story of a 91-year-old grandmother who was beaten and forced out of her home in China’s southern Jiangsu province after she asked her daughter-in-law for a bowl of rice porridge.

Two days later, internet forums were filled with a similar story of farmers in the same province who allowed their family’s 100-year-old matriarch to sleep in a pig sty, sharing close quarters with a pungent pig.

But those stories have not lead most people to support the new Elderly Rights Law.

“Family bonds should be based on spontaneous emotions,” argued one weibo user.

“It’s funny to make it part of a law; it’s like requiring couples to have a harmonious sex life after marriage.”

Source: BBC



Why Chinese Couples Are Divorcing Before Buying a Home.

Long queues of happy couples waiting to get married might be a common sight in Las Vegas. But lines of happily married couples waiting to get divorced? Only in China.

In major cities across the country last month, thousands of couples rushed to their local divorce registry office to dissolve their marriages in order to benefit from fast-expiring tax breaks on property investments for unmarried individuals. Local media reported long waits at registries in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and elsewhere as savvy investors sought to buy or sell a second home before the government introduced strict new regulations that would force married homeowners to pay hefty taxes on the sale of second properties.

The new regulations are designed to cool speculation in China’s feverish property market and are part of a package of measures that would require couples to pay up to 20% capital gains tax on the sale of second homes. But for determined investors, nothing gets in the way of a good bargain, and some quickly noticed that the 20% impost didn’t apply if the second home was bought before the couple were married — or after they got divorced.

China’s marriage law allows for divorce if couples simply sign an agreement to divorce, present themselves at the registry office and pay a fee of just $1.50. Weighed against the prospect of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of profit from property investments, many couples are deciding the $1.50 charge is worth it.

According to media reports, in March the number of couples getting divorced in Tianjin, a large city on the eastern seaboard, soared to 300 per day — more than triple the normal amount. In Beijing, too, realtors reported a boom in divorcing couples seeking out new houses. “Half of the deals I made last month were cases where the couples were getting divorced,” a Mr. Jin, who works as an agent at one of the biggest realtors in Beijing, tells TIME. “These were all young couples between 25 and 35 years old, and all of them were looking to buy another house as an investment.”

As an emerging middle class accumulates wealth, more and more young families are finding that they have limited options to make good use of their money. With overseas investment options closed off by complex regulatory barriers, banks offering measly interest-rate returns on deposits and the stock markets on a never ending losing streak, there aren’t many attractive investment choices.

Some choose to invest in gold and other precious metals. Indeed, when gold prices fell sharply last week, shops in mainland China and Hong Kong quickly reported stock shortages and empty shelves. But China’s savvy purchasers have long had an affinity for putting their money into bricks and mortar, not least because property prices in most cities have soared over the past decade and continue to rise sharply.

With a seemingly endless supply of money flowing into the country’s property sector, and prices on a constant upward trajectory, regulators have long been worried about the frothy market giving rise to major property bubbles, especially in the most populous cities like Beijing and Shanghai. But it seems that canny investors are quick to spot ways around the cooling measures, hence the new vogue for divorce.

It’s not only profiteers who are choosing the divorce route. Many couples who simply want to trade up from their current home have realized that they can save tens of thousands of dollars by splitting up before making their next purchase. According to media reports, one couple in the southern city of Guangzhou, who already owned two apartments, saved $32,000 by getting divorced and selling one of their houses before buying another.

The divorce solution is extreme but it’s the kind of solution to which China’s put-upon middle classes have become accustomed. Civil-servant couples, for example, are subject to a particularly strict version of the one-child policy that would require them to give up their jobs if they had a second child. Some have decided to circumvent those rules by getting divorced and having a second child out of wedlock, registered under either parent’s name as a “first” child.

Of course, the country’s regulators have also taken notice of the long queues outside divorce registries and have acted to put a stop to the practice. In recent weeks, the government revised its regulations to increase the taxes payable by unmarried individuals selling a secondhand property, effectively cutting the most speculative investors out of the market.

Others, though, are still happy to break the knot, if only because they need not stay divorced for long. Realtor Jin advises his clients who are considering the process that they can be back in happy matrimonial bliss within as little as three weeks. “If you pay the full price in cash up front, the whole transaction can be completed in as little as 10 days — and even if you’re taking out a mortgage, it only takes about six weeks,” Jin says. “Once that’s done, you can go and get remarried right away.”



Blaine goes for shock-factor with latest stunt.

Daredevil stuntman David Blaine lit up New York’s Pier 54 on Friday for his latest high voltage feat.

The illusionist is scheduled to spend three days and nights standing in the middle of a million volts of electric currents streamed by tesla coils.

The stunt is called “Electrified: One Million Volts Always On.”

“Electrified” also is being streamed on YouTube, thanks to computing company Intel. Viewing stations are located in London, Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney. Viewers at the stations are able to control the coils.

The 39-year-old Blaine is wearing a chainmail bodysuit as a barrier between himself and the electric currents.

Blaine’s past stunts include hanging upside down over Central Park, being buried alive and encased in a block of ice.

Source: Yahoo news.