Thaksin makes a narrow getaway

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra isn't exactly wanted in twelve star systems, but he has been doing a lot of traveling in order to avoid capture by the authorities. He's generally been successful so far, having outwitted the fuzz on multiple occasions. But, according to German reports, the man convicted on corruption charges (and sentenced to two years) in absentia may have been sighted in Bonn last week:

Thaksin's whereabouts had been a mystery since he ended a sojourn in London late last year. Friedel Frechen, a municipal spokesman in Bonn, said Thaksin showed up at the city immigration office last December 29 and applied for a residency permit."

The permit was granted, and Thaksin stayed in Germany for the better part of a year before government officials discovered his true identity. Their method? One of Thaksin's escorts at the immigration office claimed to be a member of the BND, Germany's foreign intelligence unit.

Seeing as how the BND would probably, you know, recognize a former head of state, he might have picked a better cover.



Charles Taylor converts to Judaism

Madonna was bad enough, but this is really beyond the pale.

Former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, currently imprisoned at the Hague awaiting trial for war crimes in Sierra Leone, has apparently decided to convert to Judaisim, one of his wives tells BBC radio (my transcript):

Q. So he's now a practicing Jew?

A. He's now a Jew. He's practicing Judaism. 

Q. Tells us about that? What led him to that?

A. Because of the difficulties, he always wanted to know God in a very diffent and special way. From a very small boy -- because we talk about his childhood a whole lot -- he asked himself questions about Christianity. Too many questions about why certain things happened. And why, this one and that one. Just too many question in Christianity and the whole thing about Christ because he does believe in Christ. When he got to the Hague, he got to know that he really, really wanted to be a Jew. Wanted to convert to Judaism. And that...

Q. Does that mean he has rejected Christianity then? Because that's quite a radical departure.

A. No, no, no he hasn't rejected Christianity. He has always been a Christian. He just decided to become a Jew. He wants to follow the two religions.

Least. Welcome. Convert. Ever.

I also can't help wondering if he got this idea from George Bluth on Arrested Development.

(Hat tip: Shelby Grossman via Chris Blattman)