Pandas to get pornography
A Thai zoo that has hosted a couple of pandas for four years will play "porn" videos for the male next month to encourage him to breed in captivity, the project manager said yesterday. The pair -- who have been living chastely together at the zoo in the northern city of Chiang Mai since arriving from China in 2003 -- would be separated next month, but stay close enough for occasional glimpses of each other, said panda project chief Prasertsak Buntrakoonpoontawee.
Poker makes its debut
Singapore will lay its cards on the table today when it hosts an international poker tournament billed by organizers as the first-ever in the city-state. Britain-based Betfair, a betting exchange, says it has teamed up with local operator Capital Events for the six-day Betfair Asian Poker Tour. "This is the largest poker tournament to take place in Asia and the first poker event in Singapore," Betfair's head of poker, Ben Fried, said in a statement. Qualifying starts today. Last year Singapore lifted a four-decade ban on casinos despite strong domestic opposition, saying two planned casino projects would boost the tourism sector.
Malay purified on TV
The state-owned television station will drop programs that use a mishmash of Malay and other languages, a newspaper reported yesterday. The Star quoted the information minister, Zainuddin Maidin, as saying that the government-owned station RTM will take "stern measures" to uphold the Malay language's purity in its programming. The government has long promoted a Malay identity.
Mahathir moved from ICU
Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has been moved out of an intensive care unit as he continues to make a speedy recovery from a heart attack, his son said yesterday. "He has progressed tremendously and has been moved to a normal ward in just two days," Mokhzani Mahathir said. The 81-year-old Mahathir shocked the country after he was taken to the National Heart Institute on Thursday after suffering a mild heart attack. He previously suffered a heart attack in 1989 and had bypass surgery. Mokhzani said Mahathir was already talking and meeting with visitors.
Policemen killed in south
Suspected Muslim insurgents fatally shot two policemen yesterday in the country's restive south, police said. The attackers fled with the officers' guns after killing them in the Yaha district of Yala Province, said Yala police chief Major General Phaitoon Chuchaiya, who blamed the attack on insurgents. The killings were the latest in three years of almost daily violence that has continued despite efforts by Thailand's post-coup government to halt the deadly insurgency. Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, who visited the region on Wednesday, has apologized for the hard-line approach of his predecessor Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in September.
Stiff blamed for speeding
A dead man has been blamed for hundreds of speeding offenses in what police believe is a major fraud designed to help motorists avoid traffic fines. Police in Sydney said 240 people were under investigation over the speeding scam, where hundreds of motorists blamed either the same dead man, or a person living in another state, for driving their cars at the time of the speeding offenses. "These offenses amount to fraud and, if proven, those involved could face stiff penalties including imprisonment," New South Wales Police Superintendent Daryl Donnolly said in a statement yesterday.