Airline cuts video
Air New Zealand said yesterday it was cutting an in-flight safety video showing an All Black rugby player Richard Kahui refusing to kiss a gay flight attendant after complaints it could spur gay suicides. The flag carrier said a university professor, whom it did not name, had raised concerns the homosexual rejection could lead to gay male suicides. The light-hearted video shows All Blacks running through safety procedures for passengers boarding Air New Zealand flights. The offending scene had All Black pin-up Kahui posing for photographs with female flight attendants then shaking his head, holding up his hands and refusing to pucker up when Will Coxhead points to his cheek hoping for a kiss. Coxhead said he was “absolutely gutted” at the complaints over a scene he described as a bit of fun. “I’m proud to be gay, proud to be an Air New Zealander and extremely proud of my role in the safety video,” he said.
Cambodian PM visits
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has arrived for an official visit that’s expected to culminate in the signing of 15 agreements. Hun Sen said prior to his departure that the deals include the creation of a coal-fired power plant in a coastal province. Chinese companies have invested in Cambodia in fields such as energy and agriculture. Hun Sen is scheduled to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) and Wu Bangguo (吳邦國), chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, during his five-day stay.
Radical cleric charged
Prosecutors promised a swift trial of radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir after police charged him yesterday with inciting others to commit terrorist acts, a crime carrying the death penalty. “We want to try him very quickly,” South Jakarta prosecutors office chief Mohammed Yusuf told reporters after the aged extremist presented himself under tight security to hear the indictment. Dozens of heavily armed police and two armored vehicles were on hand as the alleged spiritual leader of Indonesian jihad was transferred from his prison where he has been on remand since August. The indictment charges Bashir, whose anti-Western tirades and conspiracy theories have made him a figurehead for local extremists, with multiple crimes under the anti-terror law.
Anwar may sue: lawyer
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim yesterday moved to stem the impact on his sodomy trial of US cables released by WikiLeaks claiming he had sex with a male aide in a honey trap set by enemies. Anwar’s lawyer, Sankara Nair, said he would file a complaint with the court hearing Anwar’s sodomy case over articles in the local media that could affect the former deputy prime minister’s ongoing trial. Most newspapers in the country carried the allegations on their front page with influential Malay daily Utusan running a headline stating: “Singapore spy agency verifies sodomy act.” “The Australians said that Singapore’s intelligence services and [former prime minister] Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀) have told ONA [Office of National Assessments] in their exchanges that opposition leader Anwar ‘did indeed commit the acts for which he is currently indicted,’” a leaked US State Department cable from November 2008 read. “ONA assessed, and their Singapore counterparts concurred, ‘it was a set-up job and he probably knew that, but walked into it anyway.’”