DP elects new leader
The main opposition Democratic Party (DP), previously known as the Democratic United Party, elected four-term lawmaker Kim Han-gil, 60, as its new leader on Saturday. Kim defeated rival Lee Yong-sup and pledged to end factional infighting and move to the right towards more centrist policies. “I will bring an end to factional politics ... We will build a new DP, a bigger DP and a winning DP,” Kim said in an acceptance speech. Earlier on Saturday, the center-left party officially changed its name to the DP and amended its constitution, adopting more centrist policies. The DP has been in disarray since its presidential candidate Moon Jae-in lost to President Park Geun-hye of the ruling New Frontier Party in elections in December last year. It failed to win any seats in last month’s parliamentary and council by-elections.
Aerosmith cancel concert
An Aerosmith concert promoter says the band has canceled next week’s show in the country over security concerns, one day after news surfaced about an alleged bomb plot. Helmi Sugara, a spokesman for the event organizer, yesterday said that the US rockers were scheduled to perform on Saturday before a nearly sold-out crowd of 15,000 in Jakarta. On Friday, the government announced it had arrested two suspected militants with bombs who were allegedly planning to attack the Myanmar embassy to protest that nation’s treatment of Muslims. It is unclear if the concert’s cancelation was directly related to the terror plot or if there was some other threat. In a statement on promoter Ismaya Live’s Web site, Aerosmith’s management apologized to fans.
Netanyahu visits China
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will arrive in China today in a rare visit Israeli officials hope will increase exports to the Asian economic giant. Netanyahu will also reiterate his concerns over Iran’s nuclear program with the Chinese leadership and discuss the peace talks with the Palestinians. “We hope the visit serves to upgrade the level of cooperation between the two countries,” Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev told reporters. “China and Israel have both much to gain from enhanced cooperation and that’s our goal.” The last prime minister to visit China was Ehud Olmert in 2007.
US pastor death probed
Police are investigating the death of an US pastor found at his home with his hands and legs bound and a cellphone charger cable around his neck. Kuala Lumpur District Police chief Amiruddin Jamaluddin said officials believe Reverend David Ginter was murdered, but have not identified any suspects or motive. Ginter’s wife, who was visiting her home country of Australia, asked a neighbor to check on him on Saturday when she could not contact him. He was found dead and his car was missing.
Civil servants to pilot planes
The government has started training civil servants to become flight instructors to meet demand for pilots in the fast-growing aviation industry, Ministry of Transportation spokesman Bambang Ervan said on Saturday. The nation has 6,000 to 7,000 pilots, dozens of flight instructors and produces between 400 and 500 pilots a year, but falls short of the industry demand of up to 800 pilots. The shortage has raised concerns that exhaustion and inexperience may lead to accidents. Last month, a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea, highlighting the country’s lack of experienced crew.
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.”