Race on to replace president
For eight years, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s provocative style raised hackles abroad and grated inside Iran as well — angering the country’s supreme leader to the point of warning the presidency could be abolished.
Now, a race is beginning to choose his successor and it looks like an anti-Ahmadinejad referendum is shaping up. Candidate registration starts Tuesday for the June 14 vote.
Leading candidates assert that they will be responsible stewards, unlike the firebrand Ahmadinejad, who cannot run again because he is limited to two terms. One criticized Ahmadinejad for “controversial but useless” statements. Others even say the country should have a less hostile relationship with the United States.
Comments from the presumed front-runners lean toward less bombast and more diplomacy.
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica
Obama backs gay recognition
President Barack Obama says he supports recognizing gay unions in a broad immigration bill pending in Congress but won’t say whether he would sign legislation that fails to do so.
Obama says that recognizing same-sex relationships in the bill is “the right thing to do.” But he says it would be premature to telegraph what he will or won’t do before lawmakers send him a bill.
Gay rights supporters are pushing for an amendment to the bill to allow gays to sponsor their partners to come to the U.S.
But Republicans have made it clear that amending the legislation in that fashion would cost their support.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia
Girls allowed in sports
Saudi Arabian girls will be allowed to play sports in private schools for the first time, according to a decision announced on Saturday, the latest in a series of incremental changes aimed at slowly increasing women’s rights in the ultraconservative kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s official press agency, SPA, reported that private girls’ schools are now allowed to hold sports activities in accordance with the rules of Shariah, or Islamic law.
The decision makes sports once again a stage for the push to improve women’s rights, nearly a year after two Saudi female athletes made an unprecedented appearance at the Olympics.
Lohan checks into rehab
Lindsay Lohan has checked into a rehab and will not face a probation violation for leaving another treatment facility after a few minutes, a prosecutor said Friday.
Santa Monica Chief Deputy City Attorney Terry White said he has received confirmation that Lohan has checked in to a rehab facility and he is satisfied with her location. He declined to say where Lohan is receiving treatment, but a source close to the actress who was not authorized to speak publicly said she has checked in to the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
The “Liz & Dick” star is required to spend 90 days in rehab as part of a plea deal in a misdemeanor case filed after a June car accident.
Attorney Mark Jay Heller told a judge during a hearing Thursday that Lohan had checked in to a different rehab facility, but the starlet left it after a few minutes.