Niinistoe cruises to victory
Conservative pro-European Sauli Niinistoe won the nation’s presidential election on Sunday, easily defeating Green liberal challenger Pekka Haavisto as had been widely expected. “It looks like Niinistoe has won,” Haavisto said to public television YLE. “More than 1 million people have supported me and I’m quite satisfied with that,” he added. Niinistoe was credited with 62.6 percent of voter sympathies, while Haavisto took just 37.4 percent, the justice ministry said after all votes had been counted. The definitive results will be confirmed by election officials tomorrow, but the numbers released were in line with what opinion polls had predicted. A no-nonsense career politician, Niinistoe’s victory ends a 30-year spell of Social Democratic presidents in the small Nordic country.
Accordion cover goes viral
A group of accordion players is proving to be an unlikely hit on YouTube, attracting nearly 320,000 viewings in five days with their spirited version of a 1980s pop song. Five students of Pyongyang’s Kum Song School of Music are seen performing the mid-1980s hit Take on Me by Norwegian group a-ha, a rare performance of popular Western music in the reclusive state. The performance in December last year was filmed by visiting Norwegian artist Morten Traavik, who posted the clip on the video-sharing Web site on Wednesday. He has invited the three men and two women to play a mixture of Korean and international hits during the Festival Barents Spektakel, a cultural event to be held in Norway. It could not immediately be confirmed that the accordion players had accepted the invitation.
‘Snow White’ born in village
A baby born in a village cut off by a blizzard is to be called “Snow White,” the Sata Internet news site reported on Sunday. Her mother, Marta Glavota, 30, called emergency services for help to deliver the baby, but snow, which has been falling since Thursday, closed off all access to her southern village of Vitusa. Emergency services got to within 4km of the village before being forced back. A doctor then called the pregnant woman and gave advice over the telephone to two neighbors, who assisted in Sunday’s birth of the black-haired girl Snjezana, meaning snow-white in Croatian. Both mother and daughter were doing well, Sata said.
Turbaned Torpedo runs 10km
A 100-year-old British Indian man who claims to be the world’s oldest marathoner was all smiles after completing a 10km run at the Hong Kong Marathon on Sunday. Born in 1911 and affectionately nicknamed the “Turbaned Torpedo,” Fauja Singh finished the race in just over 1 hour, 34 minutes, organizers said, raising HK$200,000 (US$25,800) for the charity Seeing Is Believing. “The weather was very pleasant, I enjoyed the race very much,” he was quoted by local media as saying, as he crossed the finishing line, arms in the air. The centenarian attributed his physical fitness to his healthy lifestyle, including abstaining from smoking and alcohol and to following a vegetarian diet, according to local reports. Singh claimed to be the first centenarian to complete a marathon after finishing the Toronto Waterfront event in October last year. A 26-year-old male runner collapsed after crossing the finishing line of the half-marathon race and was certified dead after being sent to hospital.