Melania Trump threatens lawsuit over English class billboard in Croatia

Cars drive near a billboard advertising a language school with the image of U.S. first lady Melania Trump in Zagreb, Croatia, in this September 17, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 September 2017
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Melania Trump threatens lawsuit over English class billboard in Croatia

ZAGREB, Croatia: Billboards featuring Melania Trump and the slogan “just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English” were removed Tuesday from the Croatian capital after her lawyer threatened a lawsuit.
The billboards were part of a marketing campaign by a private English language school in Zagreb, which tried to persuade Croats to learn English by reminding them of the Slovenian-born US first lady’s personal experience.
But Mrs. Trump did not accept what was apparently meant to be a joke about her English, spoken with a heavy accent. Her Slovenian lawyer demanded that the billboards, showing Melania Trump delivering a speech standing before a fluttering American flag, be immediately removed.
“I’m satisfied with the fact that the school admitted that they violated the law and that they are ready to remove the billboards and (Facebook) ads,” lawyer Natasa Pirc-Musar told The Associated Press. “We are still analyzing possible further legal steps.”
Melania Trump has hired the law firm to protect her image, which has appeared on various products in her native Slovenia, including cakes, underwear and tourism advertisements.
Pirc-Musar said that the Croatian school has apologized for the billboards, but that the statement also needs to be published by the Croatian and Slovenian state news agencies.
“We are very sorry that the billboards were misunderstood as something intended to mock the US first lady,” Ivis Buric, a spokeswoman for the school, American Institute, said. “It was meant to be something positive, to show her as a role model.”
Buric admitted that the short advertising campaign turned out to be “very successful” because of the wide publicity it received both locally and internationally. She said that the school intends to put up new billboards, this time without Melania Trump’s image.
Melania Trump was born in neighboring Slovenia as Melanija Knavs. She left Slovenia in her 20s to pursue an international modeling career before meeting Donald Trump at a Fashion Week party in New York in 1998.


Thailand’s rescued cave boys to address media on Wednesday

Updated 26 min 51 sec ago
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Thailand’s rescued cave boys to address media on Wednesday

  • Journalists will submit questions in advance which will be vetted by a psychologist
  • Two British divers found them on July 2 squatting on a mound in a flooded chamber several kilometers inside the complex

BANGKOK: The 12 Thai boys and soccer coach who were rescued from a flooded cave will be discharged from hospital on Wednesday and hold a news conference the same day to satisfy huge media interest in their story, a government official said.
“We want to reduce public curiosity,” government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd told Reuters on Tuesday.
The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach were safely brought out of the Tham Luang mountain cave complex near the border with Myanmar last week after a perilous rescue operation that drew global media attention and hundreds of journalists to the scene.
The boys and their coach have been in hospital in the northern town of Chiang Rai since they were rescued.
The authorities have been concerned about the impact of sudden fame and media attention on the boys’ mental health, so Wednesday’s news conference will be carefully controlled.
Journalists will submit questions in advance which will be vetted by a psychologist. Approved questions will be put to the boys by a moderator.
“We arrange it so that, after that, the boys can go back to their regular lives,” Sansern said.
The boys and their coach had planned to explore the cavern for about an hour after soccer practice on June 23. But a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels, trapping them.
Two British divers found them on July 2 squatting on a mound in a flooded chamber several kilometers inside the complex. Rescuers then had to work out how to get them out through the tunnels, some of which were full of fast-flowing floodwater.
Their dramatic story is already set for a retelling by Hollywood, with two production companies looking to put together movies about the boys and their rescue.
Passakorn Bunyalak, deputy governor of the province of Chiang Rai, said the boys would be sent home after the news conference and he was requesting their parents and journalists to hold off interviews for about 30 days.
“At this early stage, we are trying to get media not to bother the boys,” he told Reuters, adding that they were protected by Thailand’s Child Protection Act.
An article in the act protects those under 18 from media coverage that would cause emotional and reputational injury.