Last minute change in New York opera
Italian baritone Luca Salsi was asked to substitute for a lead role at the Metropolitan Opera only 30 minutes before the curtains went up. Placido Domingo, who was supposed to sing, had caught a cold. Fortunately, Salsi was about nine blocks from the opera house, so he walked over, donned a costume, and took the stage. The last time Salsi sang Don Carlo in Verdi’s Ernani was in 2013. He had no time to review the music. “I had to improvise everything,” Salsi said. “I didn’t have the time to think and be nervous.”
Tibetan nun sets self on fire
Tibetan nun Yeshi Khando of Nganggang Nunnery set herself on fire to protest Chinese rule of Tibet and to call for the return of the Dalai Lama from exile. She is the second woman to have done so in the past year and one of 138 Tibetans to have done so since 2009. Khando’s death was not officially confirmed, as she was doused with fire extinguishers by police and subsequently taken away; however, she is believed to be dead based on the reported intensity of the fire.
South Korean sends “The Interview” north
A South Korean activist has said he sent copies of “The Interview” into North Korea by balloon. “The Interview” is a satirical film about a CIA plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Although the film was torn to tatters by critics, it enraged Pyongyang, which allegedly hacked Sony Entertainment in response. The activist, Lee Min-bok, told AFP News that he launched thousands of DVDs and about a million leaflets criticizing the regime. Although Lee said he did not laugh at the movie and found it “vulgar,” he sent it over the border anyway.
Activists in South Korea regularly use balloons to distribute material critical of the regime inside the restrictive country.
Conviction in Boston bombing
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted of his role in the Boston bombing of April 2013. A Boston jury found Tsarnaev guilty of all 30 charges brought against him, some of which carry a death sentence.
The guilty conviction was expected, and the jury will now consider what sentences to recommend. Tsarnaev’s defense, headed by celebrity lawyer Judy Clarke, will push for life-in-prison sentences instead of death sentences.
Although Massachusetts outlawed the death penalty in 1984, Tsarnaev was convicted of federal crimes and can therefore face the death penalty.
French strike strands travelers
French air traffic controllers went on strike on Monday and Tuesday, leaving hundreds of flights disrupted and thousands of passengers stranded. The strikers were protesting a proposed increase in retirement age. All airlines servicing any French airports had to deal with the fallout.
Easyjet was forced to operate five “rescue” flights on Friday to help stranded passengers. Ryanair canceled over 500 flights. The low cost airline has no influence over the air traffic controllers.
“We sincerely apologise to all customers affected by this unwarranted strike action and we again call on the EU and French authorities to act now and prevent thousands of travellers being held to ransom by these French [air traffic control] workers,” it said. Further strikers are planned for April 16 to 18 and April 29 to May 2.