Letta revokes equality brief
Prime Minister Enrico Letta has removed the equal opportunities brief from a deputy minister after she criticized gay rights groups. Letta said in a statement on Saturday that he was revoking Michaela Biancofiore’s portfolio for equal opportunity, sports and youth politics and assigning her to another government role. The two-line statement gave no reason for the shakeup. However, media said the move was linked to interviews in which Biancofiore, a member of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party, criticized gay rights groups for defending their own interests and not protesting the murders of women or speaking out for police injured in the line of duty.
ABBA museum to open
The world’s first museum dedicated to the iconic disco group ABBA is set to open in Stockholm tomorrow, offering visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the 1970s foursome with a little help from modern technology. In Stockholm, rental bikes and cars brandishing the museum’s logo have been crisscrossing the city for weeks. Advertisements have been running in newspapers and on television, and several of the band’s costumes are even on display at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport arrivals hall to promote the capital’s newest cultural institution.
Keira Knightley marries
British actress Keira Knightley married singer James Righton in a ceremony in Mazan on Saturday, Mazan Mayor Aime Navello said. Navello told reporters the small civil ceremony was attended by “about 15 people,” mostly family. The parents of the 28-year-old actress, known for her role in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, own a house in Mazan, a town of about 5,000 people near the medieval town of Avignon in Provence. Her husband is part of the band The Klaxons. Knightley is also known for her roles in Love Actually, Pride and Prejudice, The Duchess and Anna Karenina.
Schools to allow sports
An official press agency said private girls’ schools are now allowed to hold sports activities in the kingdom, “according to the rules of Shariah.” The country follows an ultraconservative interpretation of Shariah, or Islamic law. It still prohibits sports lessons in government-run girls’ schools, and female sports clubs are banned. The agency said on Saturday the Ministry of Education ordered private girls’ schools to provide appropriate places and equipment for sports. Students must adhere to “decent dress” codes and women teachers should be given priority in supervising.
Leaders jest over Olympics
The leaders of Turkey and Japan on Friday defended their countries’ bids to host the 2020 Olympic Games, even making jokes at each other’s expense. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit highlighted the rivalry between Istanbul and Tokyo which are in the running, alongside Madrid, to host the event in seven years’ time. “I asked the [Japanese] prime minister to let us host the next Olympics as Japan already hosted the Games,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a joint news conference. “I asked him to withdraw their bid,” he said in remarks which caused giggling in the room. Abe was not late in his answer and said: “If Tokyo is selected, we would wish to see it will be the [Turks] who are first to celebrate us.”