Etc...

Get us outta here!

Picture this scene: The limousine of Thailand's finance minister is stalled in sweltering Bangkok, with the official and his driver trapped inside. And outside, several men are bashing away at the car with sledgehammers. A spot of antigovernment violence? No. The computer that controls the windows, door locks, and - perhaps just as vital - the air conditioner had crashed, leaving the occupants in need of help. The guys swinging the hammers: security guards who were only doing the minister's bidding. "We really wanted the window smashed so we could crawl out," he said. "It was a harrowing experience."

Hey, give the guy a break

From Norway comes word of a research study that appears to confirm the stereotype that good-looking people are accorded more favorable treatment than the rest of us. A University of Oslo professor asked 500 students to play judge and award prison terms to criminals based on their offenses, ranging from fraud to murder. Half the participants were given written descriptions of the convicts. Result: Those cited as "handsome" or "pretty," on average, drew 20 percent lighter sentences.

Pacino, de Niro voted the best film stars ... in Britain

Al Pacino, who won an Academy Award for 1992's "Scent of a Woman" but is perhaps best known for the role of Michael Corleone in "The Godfather" trilogy, tops a poll in Britain of the 100 greatest movie stars. Anthony Hopkins is the leading vote-getter among British nationals in the survey by Channel 4 television. The late Audrey Hepburn is the highest-ranked woman, at No. 13. The top 10:

1. Al Pacino
2. Robert de Niro
3. Tom Hanks
4. Kevin Spacey
5. Harrison Ford
6. Jack Nicholson
7. Anthony Hopkins
8. Sean Connery
9. Ewan McGregor
10. Cary Grant (deceased) - Reuters

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