Thailand Hub

Openly Gay Thai Director Takes Top Prize at Cannes Film Fest


Openly gay director Apichatpong Weerasethakul won the Palme D'Or at Cannes for his film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

The NYT reports: "On accepting the award Mr. Weerasethakul (who goes by Joe) said in English that 'this is like another world for me,' and noted that 'Uncle Boonmee' is the first Thai film to win the Palme. 'I would really like to kiss all of you,' he said to the jury, telling Mr. Burton that he liked his hairstyle. Mr. Weerasethakul thanked 'all the spirits and ghosts in Thailand,' who made it 'possible for me to be here.'"

Watch a report on the win and the trailer for the film, AFTER THE JUMP...

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'Condom Claus' is Bringing Safe Sex for Christmas


In Thailand, and in Bill Donohue's nightmares.

AIDS Vaccine Yields Limited Protective Effect for First Time


Success with an AIDS vaccine is giving researchers some hope:

"An experiment in Thailand involving 16,000 men and women has demonstrated for the first time a small but measurable protective effect of an AIDS vaccine. The vaccine, a complicated mixture of six 'prime' and 'booster' shots, reduced a person's risk of becoming infected by about one-third compared to people getting placebo injections. The results were barely significant on statistical grounds, perplexing for scientific reasons and unanticipated by most researchers. Nevertheless, the first positive results for an AIDS vaccine after two decades of experimentation was being called a milestone."


The NYT reports: "Results of the trial of the vaccine, known as RV 144, were released at 2 a.m. Eastern time Thursday in Thailand by the partners that ran the trial, by far the largest of an AIDS vaccine: the United States Army, the Thai Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Fauci’s institute, and the patent-holders in the two parts of the vaccine, Sanofi-Pasteur and Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases. Col. Jerome H. Kim, a physician who is manager of the army’s H.I.V. vaccine program, said half the 16,402 volunteers were given six doses of two vaccines in 2006 and half were given placebos. They then got regular tests for the AIDS virus for three years. Of those who got placebos, 74 became infected, while only 51 of those who got the vaccines did. Although the difference was small, Dr. Kim said it was statistically significant and meant the vaccine was 31.2 percent effective. Dr. Fauci said that scientists would seldom consider licensing a vaccine less than 70 or 80 percent effective, but he added, 'If you have a product that’s even a little bit protective, you want to look at the blood samples and figure out what particular response was effective and direct research from there.'"

Said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition: "This is a hugely exciting and, frankly, unexpected result. It changes our thinking in ways we hadn’t anticipated. We often talk about whether a vaccine is even possible. This is not the vaccine that ends the epidemic and says, ‘O.K., let’s move on to something else.’ But it’s a fabulous new step that takes us in a new direction."

An ITN video report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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News: Molecule, DJ AM, China, Thai Boxer, Marvel Comics, Tel Aviv

RoadMale Shanghai prostitute charged for knowingly spreading HIV.

Road100+ protest in Guangzhou, China over police crackdown on gay activity in public park.

Molecule RoadScientists image first close-up view of a single molecule: "To give some perspective, the space between the carbon rings is only 0.14 nanometers across, which is roughly one million times smaller than the diameter of a grain of sand."

RoadDJ AM dead of drug overdose in NYC. Blink 182 offers tribute.

RoadGay ACLU counsel Larry Frankel found dead in D.C. park.

RoadFormer first daughter Jenna Bush joins the Today show.

RoadPopbytes visits Liza at the Hollywood Bowl.

RoadDisney to acquire Marvel Comics for $4 billion.

Road"Gravity tractor" to save the Earth from killer asteroids? "The spacecraft would intercept the asteroid and position itself to fly alongside it, just 160ft from its surface. From this position, the 10 tonne craft is able to exert a small gravitational force on the rock, pulling the asteroid towards it. By gradually modifying its course, over several years, the gravity tractor is able to slowly shift the asteroid's trajectory enough to ensure it misses the Earth."

RoadShalom Sesame: Jake Gyllenhaal to teach kids about Jewish culture.

Thaiboxer RoadThai boxer suspended for three months for appearing in gay magazine photo shoot.

RoadED: NYT pushes the penis pump.

RoadLesbian couples having a child through fertility treatments can now place names of both parents on child's birth certificate: "It's brilliant that women in our situation will have full legal rights for the co-parent from the beginning. It's fantastically good news. We didn't conceive our children together, but we did conceive of them. Hopefully it will have a positive effect on society's view of lesbian and gay people, because the government are basically saying that we're OK, and perhaps people who are not gay will begin to think the same."

RoadTwo men in India sentenced to life terms for murder of gay man who threatened to expose them.

Lansing1 RoadLansing, Michigan gay man Shawn Bennett lied about gay bashing: "But investigators say Benett admits he tortured himself. Over and over he burned his own body with a lit cigarette."

RoadLarry King: Chris Brown does not remember beating Rihanna.

RoadFLASHBACK: Madonna's eulogy for Herb Ritts.

RoadOne month later, hundreds mourn Tel Aviv gay center shooting victims: "Last week, the manager of the youth center, Shaul Asa-el Gannon, opened a temporary center in an alternate location. He noted that there were more teenagers in attendance at the center's events than there were before the shooting. This week, the gay and lesbian youth center will return to its original location on Nachmani Street - the site of the attack - where it will remain under police and security surveillance."

Young Elephant Extracted from Manhole in Thailand


A young elephant used in the tourist entertainment trade fell into a manhole in eastern Thailand's Rayong province earlier this week and had to be extracted using a power shovel and a harness. Ugh:

"Rescuers spent three hours freeing the elephant, who was unharmed, by using a bulldozer to widen the hole. While elephants are used to move large heavy objects in Thailand, many of the animals in Rayong province are trained to carry tourists on elephant treks through the jungle. Mahouts also use elephants to beg on the streets of many large Thai cities and baby elephants, with their cute eyes and hairy heads, are among the most sought after. Baby elephants are often taught tricks to appeal to tourists and, although it is illegal in many cities, work the streets with their owners from early in the morning to late at night. Mahouts control the elephants using a small number of commands and a sharp hook, known as an angkus."

Raw video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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News: Jesus Christ, Football, Susan Boyle, 100 Days, Sean Penn

 roadObama's 100 day Gay Report Card. Emma Ruby Sachs in HuffPost: "And when it comes to actual change in the lives of LGBT people, nothing has been done. Obama has failed to hand in any of his assignments."

Sims  roadBrian Sims: a gay college football story.

 roadGuess who wants to play Susan Boyle in the movie?

 roadSean Penn files for divorce.

 roadGuido Westerwelle hopes to be Germany's first openly gay foreign minister: "I am convinced that today one’s private life is no longer an obstacle. Some other countries may have had a problem with the fact that Angela Merkel became the first female chancellor of Germany. Of course she does not wear a veil on the red carpet when she visits certain Arab states. The American secretary of state (Hillary Clinton) must also hold talks in countries in which women are systematically oppressed. The decision as to who we send as a government representative rests solely with us Germans based on our political and moral standards.”

Butt  roadBUTT magazine holding open call for submissions of gay-themed video art.

 roadEstranged wife of Nevada governor wants veto override of domestic partnership legislation.

 roadGay man forced out of dying partner's room at Oregon Health and Science University hospital: "The nurse said, 'Christopher is very ill. There are some life and death decisions that have to be made and now is not the time for friends to be in the room.' I'm like, 'we don't have any friends in the room'."

Floridajesus  roadFlorida to get Jesus vanity plate.

 roadAmsterdam park notifies visitors that they are approaching a 'gay cruising area':  "The signs 'clearly indicate what is happening in each zone; also those where gay men are known to practice 'cruising',' municipal spokeswoman Manon Koffijberg said...'If you don't want to be confronted by a vision of that sort, the signs allow you to avoid specific areas,' said Ms Koffijberg."

 roadAustralian curry company denies homophobic attack at Sydney fair.

 roadChanning Tatum courted for Twilight role.

 roadVampire outtakes.

Gammablast  roadAstronomers snap the most distant object they've ever seen.

 roadA look at Trouble the Water, the documentary about Hurricane Katrina.

 roadWashington man pleads guilty in gay immigration fraud case: "A man accused of advising straight immigrants to claim homosexuality - and potential persecution in their home countries - when they applied for asylum has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud."

 roadSenior Thai monk plans to offer "manners course" for monks who wear make-up and carry pink purses.

 roadAlberta, Canada adds sexual orientation to human rights laws: "But the move to expand protections under the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act was accompanied by a provision allowing parents to pull their kids from school discussions of religion, sexuality or sexual orientation — a move that could let parents yank students from classes on such topics as evolution."


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