Briefs, January 9, 2013

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2013, 3:52am

Singapore to get first woman speaker

SINGAPORE - A Muslim woman will replace the former speaker of Singapore's parliament, who was forced to step down in a sex scandal. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he would nominate Halimah Yacob, a minister of state, for the post when parliament sits next Monday. She will be the country's first female speaker. Halimah, 58, will replace Michael Palmer, 44, who abruptly resigned last month after confessing he had an extramarital affair with a community worker. AFP


Two to deny gang rape on New Delhi bus

NEW DELHI — Two of the five men accused of gang-raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in New Delhi last month will plead not guilty to all charges, a lawyer said. Prosecutors said they have evidence of bloodstains linking the men to the attack, but an advocate said he would challenge the police over their handling of evidence. At a closed-door hearing set for today, a magistrate is expected to transfer the case for trial in a special fast-track court. AFP


14 charged in Vietnam dissident crackdown

HANOI - Vietnam has put on trial 14 activists it accuses of carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the communist government amid an intensifying crackdown on dissent. Defence lawyer Tran Thu Nam said the defendants, 12 of them Catholics, were accused of working with the Viet Tan, or Vietnam Reform Party, in exile in the US, to carry out "activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration". AP


No Rain on parade after love upset

SEOUL - Pop icon Rain was confined to barracks for a week after his dating breached South Korean military service rules. A media frenzy erupted last week when it was confirmed he was dating TV drama star Kim Tae-hee. "He breached regulations against having private meetings while on official duty," a defence ministry spokesman said. AFP