Dieters trade fat for gold
Dieters going for the gold in Dubai have hit the scales at the end of a five-week challenge — with the biggest loser dropping enough to earn him more than US$3,200 worth of the precious metal. The contest drew in hundreds of people seeking to lose at least 2kg to qualify for a gold payout. Authorities are seeking to raise awareness about rising obesity rates across the Gulf region. The National newspaper yesterday quoted a weigh-off official, Mona Ossama, as saying the biggest drop was a man who lost 22kg. Anyone shedding more than 10kg earned 3g of gold per kg lost. Smaller gold payouts were given for those who lost between 2kg and 10kg.
Pioneering broadcaster dies
British journalist David Frost, best known for interviewing former US president Richard Nixon, died of a heart attack on Saturday at the age of 74, the BBC said yesterday. Frost is most famous for a 1977 interview during which Nixon apologized for the Watergate scandal — when his Republican Party staff bugged the opposition Democrats’ offices. “Sir David died of a heart attack last night aboard the Queen Elizabeth which is a Cunard [cruise] liner where he was giving a speech. His family are devastated and ask for privacy at this difficult time,” the BBC quoted from a family statement. Immortalized in the 2008 film, Frost Nixon, he was a pioneer of broadcasting for more than half a century, including the satirical program That Was The Week That Was, and appeared in several British television programs in recent years.
Train crash kills 17 cows
An official says a passenger train in the east of the country smashed into a herd of cattle, killing 17 of them. No people were injured. Martin Drapal, spokesman for Czech Rail Safety Inspection, says the train heading from the town of Krnov to the city of Olomouc hit the animals two hours before midnight on Friday. The damage to the train is estimated at about US$5,000. Drapal said in a statement on Saturday that the train track had to be closed for almost five hours after the incident. Authorities are investigating why the cows were on the track.
Berlusconi film planned
Soft porn director Tinto Brass, the subject of a documentary screening at Venice film festival on Saturday, told reporters he wants to make a film about former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s escorts. “I want to make a film about Berlusconi. I had in mind the title ‘Thank you, Daddy,’” Brass said, referring to the nickname given to Berlusconi by the girls who attended the famously bawdy parties in his villa. Brass — best known for his erotic film All Ladies Do It, a raunchy take on Mozart’s opera Cosi Fan Tutte, and the brutal cult movie Caligula — was in Venice to mark the screening of Istintobrass, a documentary about his life. Kicking back on the terrace of the luxury Excelsior hotel with his busty partner, Caterina Varzi, who he describes as his “muse,” the 80-year-old lamented “the preference today for senseless Internet porn over crafted erotic films.” “It’s television’s fault that there is a lot of violence against women,” he said. “For me on the other hand, women are fundamental because they determine the conditions in which man develops.” His would-be subject matter, Berlusconi — who denies frequenting escorts or hosting lascivious parties — was found guilty in June of buying sex from a then 17-year-old prostitute.