TV host resigns
Public television host Paul Henry resigned yesterday after his mocking of an Indian official’s name sparked a diplomatic protest of racism. Henry left his post at state broadcaster Television New Zealand (TVNZ) over his mocking of the last name of New Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. On his Breakfast show two weeks ago, Henry also called Dikshit’s name “so appropriate because she’s Indian.” India formally protested his remarks to New Zealand High Commissioner Rupert Holborow on Friday. Henry, regarded as a “shock jock,” was initially suspended from TVNZ for his remarks in questioning whether New Zealand-born Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand, the son of Fiji Indian migrants, was “even a New Zealander” and whether his successor would “look and sound like a New Zealander.” Henry said yesterday it was “no longer practical in the current environment for me to do the job I was employed to do.”
Celebrity auction does well
An old Spalding basketball signed by Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan fetched US$294,000 at an auction of celebrity memorabilia. Up to 400 items were put on the auction block, including a Marilyn Monroe black lace bra, a pair of Captain Spock’s prosthetic ears, Bruce Lee shoes, a Batman costume and Beatles memorabilia in a marathon, US$3.2 million sale that ended late on Saturday evening. Bidding picked up substantially for memorabilia linked to Jackson. The basketball — used in the 1992 music video Jam — saw ferocious raising of paddles before an US online bidder finally snared it, smashing the ball’s modest pre-sale estimate of US$600. Another star lot, a black Jackson glove and arm brace fetched US$216,000, while the Beat It jacket was sold for US$156,000, more than 19 times its pre-sale estimate. Michael Keaton’s costume in Batman Returns sold for US$43,750 and a burgundy velvet ball gown worn by Princess Diana was bought by a museum in South America for US$114,000.
Fireworks victim identified
A Singaporean woman has been confirmed killed in a fireworks blast that killed four people on Wednesday during preparations for Hanoi’s millennium festival. “The Vietnamese authorities have officially identified Madam Seah Li Sa as one of the fatalities in the fireworks explosion near My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi,” Singapore’s foreign ministry said in a statement late on Saturday. Berlin’s foreign ministry has said that two Germans died in the blast, while the fourth victim was an employee of the Ministry of Defense.
Stranded Indian woman dies
An Indian woman died after losing her passport and becoming stranded for about four days at Muscat airport, an Indian embassy official in Muscat said yesterday. Housemaid Beebi Lumada, “died of some illness” when she was being taken to hospital, the official said on condition of anonymity, adding “she was suffering from bouts of hysteria.” She had been trying to fly home to Kerala state on Qatar Airways via Doha, where officials sent her back to Muscat on Monday after she lost her passport. She was forced to stay in Muscat airport’s transit area where she was provided with food, the official said, adding that the embassy had been in contact with her, but “couldn’t get any documents ... On Friday, her health deteriorated, so she was sent to the Ibn Sina Hospital.” However, she died en route there in an ambulance, the official said.