At last the TV stations TVB and ATV are producing live entertainment worthy of the name, but alas it is largely happening off-air. Their public spat with CTI chairman Ricky Wong over his plans to muscle in on the free-to-air TV market is frequently the stuff of farce. Take ATV's accusation that Wong walked off with its business plan when he was briefly CEO in 2008. Wong denies this, adding that in any case it wouldn't have done him any good. Elsewhere former TVB general manger Stephen Chan Chi-wan and his former assistant have been in and out of court on corruption charges. The other day we read that ATV might be prosecuted for hiring 12 mainlanders to compete in its Mr Asia show, only for six of them to overstay. ATV says this was due to "negligence". Then we see that Candy Chang Wai-man, TVB Miss Chinese International Pageant 2010 second runner-up, was arrested by police for suspected possession of drugs on Sunday night after a police car intercepted the speeding van she was travelling in with a man and found HK$8,000 worth of hashish in the vehicle. TVB has immediately suspended her from work. Chang recently achieved some popularity with her role in the drama series Hippocratic Crush. Yesterday we read of TVB's decision to drop its plan to launch an international English channel because of uncertainties in the free-to-air television market. It has to be said that English TV is not TVB's strong suit. Its English channel is only watched under sufferance in Hong Kong and it is hard to imagine what the international demand would be. If the decision to shelve the international English channel was due to Ricky Wong, they should send him a bottle of champagne as he's saved them a lot of money.
A cautionary tale
We recently came across a young lady who had succumbed to one of those e-mail scammers from Nigeria. The two met on Yahoo Messenger and after a number of exchanges "love" was in the air. He offered to send her some money as a sign that his intentions were honourable. The young lady was eventually informed that HK$27,000 had been deposited in her bank account, since she had given him the number. She reported this to her "friend" who having indicated his trust asked her to send it back via Western Union. She admits to having behaved stupidly and followed the instructions even though the name of the beneficiary differed from the one she had been communicating with. Then she received a letter from HSBC saying that a bank in Nigeria said that it had sent the money in error and HSBC wanted permission to send the money back. She did not give permission and sent the bank her Western Union receipts showing she had not profited from the transaction. There the matter rests at the moment. But its unclear how the bank intends to play this. Strictly speaking it is a criminal offence to withhold money that has been sent to your account in error. If the scam goes according to plan the scammer doubles his money. So don't even think of giving your bank account details to strange people you meet over the internet.
More cheery news for cigarette smokers. While it has been well known that smoking destroys your lungs and can often lead to cancer, a new study published in the scientific journal Age and Ageing reports that "repeated exposure to tobacco smoke significantly declined the cognitive performance of older people that had elevated cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure". The study conducted by researchers at King's College London on 8,800 people found that high blood pressure and being overweight appeared to affect the brain at an old age, but to a lesser extent than smoking. Heart attacks and strokes are associated with cognitive decline. "Those at the highest risk of a heart attack and stroke showed the greatest decline of cognitive ability," the study said. "Smoking habitually was strongly associated with lower scores on the tests. With these findings, the researchers inferred that smoking cigarettes actually rots the brain." In another study that linked cigarette smoking to mental decline, research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2010 found that smokers were more than 150 per cent more likely to experience symptoms of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia.
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