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Royal dog tale

Bangkok, Nov. 26 (Reuters): A book written by Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej about his pet dog, Thongdaeng, has sold out on its first day in bookshops.

“It just shows how much people love the king,” said Visan Praweenthatsanee, a bookshop manager in the capital Bangkok. “People have come from all around the country today, with some leaving at 5 am to join the queue outside the shop.”

After 100,000 copies sold out within hours, publishers said they would print more copies of the book, which traces Thongdaeng’s life from her birth as a stray to being sent, crying, to the royal palace as a gift.

“Strangely enough, once she had been presented to His Majesty, she stopped crying, and crawled to nestle on his lap, as if to entrust her life to his care, and fell fast asleep, free from all worries, loneliness and fear,” the book says.

The king, 74, describes Thongdaeng, who can pick and peel coconuts to drink the juice, as intelligent, loyal and always polite.

Jamaica Inn

London (Reuters): Britain’s famed Jamaica Inn, enshrined in novelist Daphne Du Maurier’s romantic novel about Cornish smugglers, is looking for a new home for some unusual residents — several thousand stuffed animals in various poses. The collection, amassed more than a century ago by Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter and moved eventually to the tourist attraction on the edge of misty Bodmin Moor in the mid-1980s, is being put up for sale to make way for paying guests. Prospective buyers can bid for groups of stuffed kittens, frogs, mice, rabbits and squirrels taking tea, playing musical instruments or in school, British newspapers reported on Tuesday. At the time when an exhibition of flayed human corpses is attracting major audiences in east London, the collection could offer a fluffier if equally eccentric anthropomorphic take on the world. “Figures spoken about vary from £750,000 to one million and even up to two million,” Jamaica Inn owner Kevin Moore was quoted as saying in The Times newspaper, adding that the space would be turned into accommodation for living humans. “We expect that being able to provide these facilities will generate a lot more money for the business,” he added.

Too correct

Toronto (Reuters): Christmas is becoming an endangered word in parts of Canada in a rash of politically correct behaviour — such as renaming a Christmas tree a “holiday tree” — that even non-Christians dismiss as silly. Toronto city officials began the flap last week when they called the 15.2 meter tree set up outside City Hall a “holiday tree.” That sparked much derision and prompted the city's mayor to set the record straight. “Our special events staff went too far with their political correctness when they called it a holiday tree,” said mayor Mel Lastman. “They were trying to be inclusive and their hearts were in the right place, but you can’t be politically correct all the time.” The mayor plans to introduce a motion in city council this week that will officially put the word Christmas in front of the word tree in all future city documents. “To take a generic term, slap it on a symbol that really only has significance to one religion..and then say we're being multicultural does not really fit,” said a Toronto resident.

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