The BMJ Today: Sick notes for “World Cup fever” and Obama pushes health benefits of carbon cuts

With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil fast approaching, hundreds of workers in China have been struck down with a serious bout of football fever.

As Jane Parry reports, an online vendor on (China’s equivalent to eBay) has sold 440 fake sick notes in just one week, as scheming workers seek to avoid work after watching games, which are being screened between midnight and 6am (Beijing time), without using up any holiday leave.

Dozens of opportunistic/cynical entrepreneurs are using the website to sell blank or fake sick notes, which they claim have been issued by prestigious hospitals in China.

But the move could yet be an own goal for all concerned; with the hospitals quickly issuing statements reminding employers that genuine sick notes can be cross checked with them, and the sale of such notes also representing a criminal offence in China.

In the US, Mike McCarthy reports that the government is attempting to sell its plans to cut power plant carbon emissions by 30% to Joe Public by shifting the focus to the purported health benefits of the move.

The President this week delivered his weekly televised address from the National Medical Center in Washington, DC, where he had visited children with asthma and other medical conditions.

“Often, these illnesses are aggravated by air pollution—pollution from the same sources that release carbon and contribute to climate change,” the President said.

“For the sake of all our kids, we’ve got to do more to reduce it.”

And in the latest instalment of BMJ Confidential, find out which eminent psychiatrist likes to pose as a florist when encountering “talkative” strangers.

Gareth Iacobucci is news reporter for The BMJ.