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Since 1st March, 1999
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Super Scorpio

Pattaya (Thailand), Oct. 23 (Reuters): A Thai woman emerged on Wednesday from a 12 square metre room she shared with 3,400 live scorpions for 32 days, setting a new world record.

Kanchana Ketkaew, 30, who had built up immunity to scorpion venom over six years performing with the bugs for tourists, smiled as she told reporters she had been stung nine times during her record-breaking stint.

About 400 scorpions had died, but they were replaced by new hatchlings. “Over 500 baby scorpions were born, and all the scorpions go into a frenzy late at night,” Kanchana was quoted as saying by the Nation newspaper.

The Guinness Book of World Records sent Kanchana a $1,000 reward for her feat. The record was previously held by a Malaysian woman who spent 30 days with 2,700 scorpions.

Potter pits

New York (Reuters): The young stars of the blockbuster Harry Potter films will probably call it quits after the third installment of the series, director Chris Columbus said on Tuesday. “If I were a betting man I’d say they’ll probably stop after three,” Columbus told Reuters about 12-year-old Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and his sidekicks Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), 12, and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), 13. The talented young trio, who starred in last year’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone — the second highest grossing movie of all time after Titanic — reprise their roles in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which opens on November 15. The movie was titled“Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone” outside the United States.

The Britons will portray the youthful wizards again in the film of the third book of J.K. Rowling's phenomenally successful series The Prisoner of Azkaban,” which begins filming in March and is expected to be released in June 2004.

Daring date

Berlin (Reuters): A German polic ewoman snared a wanted criminal after she arranged a blind date with him, police said. The policewoman found the 29-year-old man’s mobile phone number and landed a date after flirting with him, said a police spokesman. “It all began as a wrong number call, which then turned into a conversation, and eventually a date in a bar downtown”, he said. The criminal — wanted in the town of Recklinghausen, north of Cologne, for crimes worth a total of three years behind bars if he is convicted — not only fell for the ploy, but turned up “all dressed up”, he said.

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