Entries in Calendar (3)


Thai Airline Calendar with "Maxim" Models Has Officials Steaming

Nok Air(BANGKOK) -- The low-cost Thai airline Nok Air is bringing new meaning to the phrase, "Fly the Friendly Skies" by hiring scantily clad Maxim models to show off its fleet of planes in a series of photos in a promotional calendar. But the Thai Ministry of Culture is speaking out against the calendar, saying it tarnishes Thailand's image.

The models are dressed as flight attendants posing in front of the planes as part of a promotion on the company's Facebook page. In one of the pictures, the models are in yellow bikinis, yellow being the official color of the airline.

Those who participate in the promotion will receive the 2013 calendar, which the airline hopes will boost ticket sales.

The airline is known for its unconventional marketing tactics to promote its flights throughout Thailand. In 2011, Nok Air admitted to hiring only flight attendants who were young in order to rejuvenate the brand.

Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin defended the calendar in an interview to news media, saying the women used in the photos were not actual Nok Air staff.

"It was supposed to be a gift to our customers, and so far the campaign has received positive feedback, increasing the number of passengers. There were so many viewers that the webpage crashed," he told a Bangkok newspaper.

"The airline business has always been seen as sexy globally," Sarasin told a travel web site. "That is why our planes...appropriately become the background of these models."

Sarasin also said, "given what the public is exposed to on a daily basis, we believe that we have not crossed the line."

But, the Ministry of Culture is trying to diminish that exposure, and change the nation's image in a society where prostitution is accepted and the ministry has lodged a complaint.

"The campaign focuses on the country's bad reputation regarding sex services, and an image that other organizations have been trying to change," said the ministry.

A 2004 estimate by Dr. Nitet Tinnakul from Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University found that Thailand had 2.8 million sex workers.

Although they're not happy with the message it sends, the ministry admits they can't take any action against Nok Air because the company hasn't broken laws by producing the calendar.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Time Travel: Samoa and Tokelau to Move a Day Ahead

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(APIA, Samoa) -- Samoa and Tokelau have decided to take the day off, but not in the traditional sense. The tiny Pacific nations will be moving to the other side of the international dateline at midnight Thursday night, jumping 24 hours ahead in time and eliminating Dec. 30 from their calendars this year.

The move is largely an attempt to streamline business dealings with neighboring Pacific nations such as Australia, New Zealand and China. "In doing business with New Zealand and Australia, we’re losing out on two working days a week,” Samoan Prime Minister Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi said in a statement. “While it’s Friday here, it’s Saturday in New Zealand, and when we’re at church on Sunday, they’re already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane.”

Samoa has been on the Eastern side of the dateline since 1892 when U.S. traders persuaded local Samoan authorities to align the country’s time with nearby U.S.-controlled American Samoa and the U.S. to assist their trading with California. But given today’s trade patterns, the government no longer feels this makes sense.

Tokelau’s parliament, the Tokelau General Fono, recently voted to go ahead with the change as well. The Ulu or Chief of Tokelau endorsed the decision, telling Radio New Zealand international that he hopes “that the people will go to sleep on Thursday night and wake up the next day, Saturday, the 31st of December, without any huge changes.”

The Samoan government has announced that although many will be missing a day of work as a result of  the move ahead, anyone who was scheduled to work Friday will still receive a full day’s pay.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


2012 End of World Countdown Based on Mayan Calendar Begins

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The countdown to the apocalypse is on. One year from Wednesday -- Dec. 21, 2012 -- is the date the ancient Mayan Long Count calendar allegedly marked as the end of an era, when the date would reset to zero and humanity would come to an end.

But will that happen?

There have been many end of times predictions over the years.  Christian radio host Harold Camping faced widespread ridicule when his predictions that the world would end twice this year -- on May 21, and then on Oct. 21 -- failed to materialize.

But in the flurry of doomsday predictions -- there have been similar dire warnings about the world coming to an end from various cultures, including Native Americans, the Chinese, Egyptians and even the Irish -- the supposed Mayan prophecy seems to have held the most sway with believers.

The Mayan civilization, which reached its height from 300 A.D. to 900 A.D., had a talent for astronomy.  Advanced mathematics and primitive astronomy flourished, creating what many have called the most accurate calendar in the world.

The Mayans predicted a final event that included a solar shift, a Venus transit and violent earthquakes.

Their Long Count calendar begins in 3,114 B.C., marking time in roughly 394-year periods known as Baktuns. Thirteen was a significant, a sacred number for the Mayans, and they wrote that the 13th Baktun ends on Dec. 21, 2012.

The doomsday theories stem from a stone tablet discovered in the 1960s at the archaeological site of Tortuguero in the Gulf of Mexico state of Tabasco that describes the return of a Mayan god at the end of a 13th period.

The blogosphere exploded with more speculation when Mexico’s archaeology institute acknowledged on Nov. 24 a second reference to Dec. 21, 2012, on a brick found at other ruins.

In southern Mexico, the heart of Mayan territory, a yearlong celebration is planned.  Mexico’s tourism agency expects to draw 52 million visitors by next year only to the regions of Chiapas, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, and Campeche. It’s selling the date as a time of renewal.

For those who are thinking about how to spend what could be their last year on earth, here's a message of hope: Many archeologists argue that the 2012 reference on a 1,300-year-old stone tablet only marks the end of a cycle in the Mayan calendar.  Recent research also suggests the mythological date of the “end of days” may be off by 50 to 100 years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio