World has first official strip poker champ
LONDON, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- A free-lance British journalist has become the world's first official champion of strip poker, escaping nudity with wily playing of Texas Hold'em.
The inaugural World Strip Poker Championships were organized by the Irish Paddy Power bookmaking company at London's Cafe Royal, where John Young beat out 194 players of both sexes in eight hours of play, ITN reported.
The top prize was $19,000 and a Golden Fig Leaf trophy.
Players were given five items of clothing which they used to buy chips, and as they lost their chips, they cashed in their clothes for more.
The UK.pokernews.com Web site reported the last standing woman went out to a loud ovation.
Scotland appoints 'woodland walk czar'
EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Scotland, a country already well-endowed with "czars," is getting a new one, a public official in charge of encouraging woodlands walking.
Kevin Lafferty is to be paid 30,000 pounds (about $57,000) to promote rambling through Scotland's forests, The Scotsman reported. The country already has czars to deal with fat, suicide and exams, among other things.
"People are increasingly fed up with government-funded busybodies telling them how to live their lives," said Murdo Fraser, deputy leader of the Scottish Conservative Party. "We are quite capable of making our own decisions about taking exercise and walking in the countryside. Wasting more taxpayers' money in order for someone to reiterate what we already know is hardly necessary."
Deputy Environment Minister Rhona Brankin defended the new post, saying that Lafferty, who has a background in healthcare, will work with medical professionals to encourage exercise to prevent disease and to improve the health of those with chronic health problems, The Scotsman reported.
Oregon man, 79, to receive doctorate
CHICAGO, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- An Oregon man who spent most of his life growing strawberries is set to become the oldest person ever to receive a doctorate from the University of Chicago.
Herbert Baum, 79, will be awarded a doctorate in economics Friday from a school known for producing many Nobel laureates in that field, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Baum, a native of Fort Wayne, Ind., received a master's degree in economics from the University of Chicago in 1951 but left academia for California after deciding he didn't have a good topic for his dissertation.
After retiring in 1991, Baum decided to turn his lifelong effort to produce the perfect strawberry into a book and forwarded the material to university Professor James Heckman, a 2000 Nobel Prize winner, the Sun-Times said.
Heckman thought Baum's book could qualify as a dissertation and formed a committee featuring three Nobel laureates, including Milton Friedman.
Baum's dissertation on the quest for the perfect strawberry was praised by Heckman as "a serious piece of research on a major agricultural industry," the newspaper said.
News viewers get hardcore bonus
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Viewers in Sweden who tuned in to a public broadcasting channel for a late-night news update got something they did not expect -- hardcore porn.
A Czech movie, "Sex Tails," that included scenes of anal and oral sex was playing on a monitor visible over the news reader's shoulder on SVT.
Apparently some staffers had been watching the Canal Plus channel earlier in the evening and forgot to turn off the monitor or at least change the station.
"I found out that sort of crap happened when I called the editorial staff," News Manager Per Yng told the newspaper Expressen. "This is unbelievable. If you decide to watch Rapport (the news program) you shouldn't have to watch some stupid hardcore porn film. This will never happen again."