October 6, 2008

Nick Drainey’s World View: Bangkok Reporter Feels Massage King’s Fist

By Nick Drainey


An underdog in today's election for governor of Bangkok punched and kicked a television journalist, saying he was provoked by tough questions during a live interview.

Chuwit Kamolwisit, dubbed Bangkok's massage-parlour king by the Thai press, later apologised for assaulting host Visarn Dilokwanich. "I admit I did it. I couldn't stand it when he humiliated me on air," said Chuwit, a stocky former bodybuilder who owned a strip of bars before entering politics a few years ago.


Meanwhile, in Limburg-Weilburg in western Germany, a pensioner got so angry with a taxi driver that he struck him on the head with a machete and chopped off his finger.

The 70-year-old man stormed off after remonstrating with the cab driver about his parking early on Wednesday morning, said police. Soon afterwards, the pensioner appeared at the driver's office with a 24 inch machete and attacked the 60-year-old, who suffered head injuries. The assailant fled, but later gave himself up. He is likely to be charged with attempted murder.


Problems of a different kind in Japan, where dolphins have been put on a low-fat diet after developing pot bellies and failing to look sharp in their aquatic tricks. Kinosaki Marine World in western Japan said that all its 19 dolphins have been on the diet since late August, when they started failing to hit jumping targets and keep upright while treading water.

Keepers found all had become plumper, some up to 22 pounds heavier, during the summer. All had the same menu - about 31 pounds of mackerel mixed with some white fish.

The new diet cuts down on mackerel, which is fattier, and institutes an exercise regime. It seemed to be working, said park spokesman Haruo Imazu.


Missing in Mexico: a truck carrying 5,000 condoms, 800 HIV tests and a 23ft inflatable prophylactic.

The coordinator of an HIV/Aids awareness tour, Polo Gomez, said that the "Condomovil" was parked in front of a friend's house in Mexico City when it disappeared last week. Police are investigating.

The truck should be easy to spot. It features images of a peeled banana, the exposed part shaped like a condom, and a shirtless man saying: "I protect myself. Do you?"

Gomez estimated 200,000 pesos (GBP 10,000) worth of material is missing, including the truck, its contents and sound equipment.

As many as 440,000 Mexicans are living with HIV, according to 2005 estimates from Unicef. The Condomovil program has toured Mexico since 1998, distributing 1.2 million condoms to more than 700,000 people, Gomez said.


Forget the credit crunch. Playboy is offering a new way for Wall Street workers to lose their shirts.

The adult entertainment magazine, famous for its photo spreads of nude women and lessons in living the urbane life of the well-heeled bachelor, is launching a search for models to pose for a "Women of Wall Street" feature.

"When the news gets bad then maybe that's a chance to make people smile by coming up with something that puts a different twist on it," said Gary Cole, Playboy's photo editor.

The magazine, which has published "Women of Enron" and "Women of WorldCom" in the past, is seeking current and former Wall Street employees - especially those with more senior job experience.



James Earl Jones, whose booming voice gave the world the villainous Darth Vader in Star Wars, will receive the 2008 life achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild. The award, given annually to the actor who fosters the finest ideals of the acting profession, will be presented to Jones in January when the guild honours the year's top acting achievements on television and film.


Two photographers being sued for the return of nude pictures of Marilyn Monroe have denied accusations that they had stolen the images and said they had been found in a bin.

The photographers are being sued by Bert Stern, who owns rights to thousands of Monroe images. He shot the seven images in question in 1962 and lent them to Eros magazine, according to a lawsuit filed last month in New York State Supreme Court.


Liza Minnelli, left, gave a sneak preview of her Italian tour last week by performing one of her most famous songs in front of Rome's Trevi Fountain. The 63-year-old entertainer delighted tourists by dancing and miming to 'New York, New York', the song John Kander wrote for her and the title of the 1977 musical film in which she starred with Robert De Niro.


Actress Salma Hayek last week appealed to mothers to support a global campaign to eliminate tetanus, which kills a newborn baby every three minutes in a poor country. Hayek, spokeswoman for the Pampers/Unicef campaign against tetanus, went to Sierra Leone last month to take part in an vaccination drive against the disease.


Children dressed as Mahatma Gandhi take part in a fancy dress competition in the north-eastern Indian city of Siliguri to celebrate the 139th anniversary of the birth of the father of Indian independence. Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri /Reuters

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