Inauguration to feature Psy
Gangnam Style star Psy will perform at the presidential inauguration ceremony next month, an official said yesterday, after the hit song made history as the most-watched video on YouTube. The rapper is to perform to a 60,000-strong audience during the ceremony to be held at the National Assembly in Seoul on Feb. 25, spokesman for president-elect Park Geun-hye told reporters. Park Geun-hye, 60, is the daughter of the late military strongman Park Chung-hee and won the election last month to become the country’s first-ever female president. Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, made Internet history last month when Gangnam Style clocked more than 1 billion views on YouTube.
Law against kidnap signed
Authorities on Saturday signed into law harsher measures against men who kidnap women to force them into marriage, introducing prison terms of up to 10 years. President Almazbek Atambayev signed new legislation punishing men who snatch brides with up to seven years in prison. Previously, men faced three years in jail for forcing a woman into marriage, and abduction was not considered an aggravating circumstance. The practice began as a way of avoiding paying bride money or bypassing parental disapproval. However, it has now become common for men to snatch women with whom they are not in a romantic relationship and force them into abusive marriages that often end in divorce or even suicide.
Managers held for impiety
Two hotel managers have been arrested for organizing a “nirvana-style” dinner with “Buddha Bar” music that hurt the religious feelings of locals, police said yesterday. The executives from a deluxe beach hotel at Beruwala, outside of the capital, were remanded in custody until today after allegations that their promotional material offended the nation’s Buddhists, police spokesman Prisantha Jayakody said. “The two managers were arrested on a charge of causing offence to Buddhists,” Jayakody said. The hotel management said an internal memo to staff described the dinner last week as a “nirvana-style” buffet with Buddha Bar music, but they meant no offence to any religious group. Authorities have slapped a de facto ban on albums of Buddha Bar, the trendy Paris nightspot known for its lounge music.
US ship’s apology accepted
President Benigno Aquino III has welcomed the US Navy’s apology for a minesweeper that went aground on a World Heritage-listed coral reef, but said it would not be exempt from penalties. The priority was to remove the damaged USS Guardian from Tubbataha Reef even as an investigation was under way to determine why it strayed into the area, Aquino told reporters in Davos, Switzerland. The 68m vessel has been stuck since Jan. 17. Its hull has been punctured and is now flooded. The incident has caused anger in the former US colony and ally in the Asia-Pacific. While both the embassy and the head of the US Navy’s Pacific fleet have apologized for the incident, they have not yet explained the exact cause. The head of the marine park supervising Tubbataha has said the ship ignored warnings that it was entering a protected marine sanctuary. Under the country’s law, the sanctuary is off-limits to ships except for research or tourism vessels approved by the government.