Seven days


Kim Jong-un rekindles pop-star romance:Kim Jong-un has only been leader of North Korea for a few months, but he has already attracted the sort of attention that his father and grandfather never did.

It seems that he’s gone and got himself a new paramour, who just happens to be one of North Korea’s most famous pop stars. Hyon Song-wol, a former member of the jingoistic Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, was photographed with Kim Jong-un at official events last weekend (right), sparking rumours of a romance. Apparently, they dated briefly about a decade ago, before his father, Kim Jong-il, put a stop to it.

The Numbers:


Size of the austerity package announced by Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy.


Number of maternal deaths from childbirth prevented globally each year by the use of contraceptives, according to a report in the Lancet.


Proportion of the population who take regular sporting activity, up more than a third since 2009.


Estimated global economic growth this year, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs, which cut its forecast from 3.5 per cent.


The value of Google’s exports from Ireland – that’s €8.3 billion – which is a yearly increase of 55 per cent.


The unpaid debt that saw Minister for Health James Reilly’s name published in Stubbs Gazette.


Contraction in the Irish economy in first three months of this year, although domestic demand grew by 1.5 per cent.


Jack and Emily were the most common boy’s and girl’s names in Ireland last year.

The Hubble space telescope has discovered a fifth moon orbiting Pluto.

Brian Cowen has gone back to college, enrolling in a six-week executive education course, costing $58,000, at Stanford University, in California.

Most read on

1 Dance scene’s lethal mix – drink, drugs and ignorance

2 Missing concert girl (19) found

3 Man dies and seven are stabbed at Dublin concert

4 A weekend of festivals: the good, the bad and the ugly

5 Questions from the Phoenix Park

6 Gardaí investigate suspected drug deaths after concert

7 ‘Running is a luxury few can do’

8 Former hotel workers not guilty of McAreavey murder

9 Second Coming: Stone Roses kick off Phoenix Park series in style

10 Chuck Feeney winding up charitable operations

* Rankings for July 6th-13th

Next week you need to know about . . . 'The Dark Knight Rises'

It has been the summer of the superhero at the cinema, with Spandex and superpowers in plentiful supply thanks to The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man. The battle for comic-book supremacy sees the most eagerly anticipated superhero movie of all enter the ring on Friday, as Batman returns in The Dark Knight Rises.

Hollywood is no stranger to hype machines, but few films have matched the relentless marketing that has been building for the final instalment in the Batman trilogy from the acclaimed English director Christopher Nolan.

Nolan rebooted the franchise in 2005 with Christian Bale playing the lead in Batman Begins, taking the character in a darker, more serious direction than before. Its sequel The Dark Knight was a box-office and cultural phenomenon in 2008.

The third film is on course to be an even bigger juggernaut, with regular teaser trailers whetting fans’ appetite; the plot sees villain Bane, played by the versatile English actor Tom Hardy, orchestrate an uprising in Gotham.

Hollywood beancounters will be eager to see if the final part of the trilogy can top the astonishing global box office of The Avengers, which has made $1.43 billion (€1.17 billion) to become the third highest-grossing film in history. D AVIN O'DWYER

Give me a crash course in . . . Fifa corruption allegations

What sort of trouble is Fifa in now?Big trouble. A Swiss court document reveals that the former Fifa president João Havelange and a former senior Fifa executive-committee member, Ricardo Teixeira, received huge bribes from International Sport and Leisure (ISL), which won the marketing and TV rights for the soccer World Cups in 2002 and 2006.

The payments, made from 1992 to 2000, amounted to 41 million Swiss francs (more than €30 million); ISL was declared bankrupt in 2001. Prosecutions against the pair for embezzlement were stopped in 2010 after they repaid a small part of the total.

Who is João Havelange?Now 96, Havelange was one of the most influential figures in world sport for decades. He was president of soccer’s governing body from 1974 until 1998, when he was succeeded by Sepp Blatter. An Olympic swimmer for Brazil in the 1936 Berlin games and a member of its water-polo team in the 1952 games, Havelange (above) really thrived once he moved to the administrative side. He became a member of the International Olympic Committee in 1963. He resigned from it last December, after 48 years, ahead of an IOC ethics-commission verdict on the suspected ISL kickbacks.

And Ricardo Teixeira?The 65-year-old, who was married to Havelange’s daughter Lucia for 30 years – they divorced in 1997 – has long been the kingpin of Brazilian football. He stepped down as president of Brazil’s soccer federation earlier this year, ostensibly on health grounds, although the Brazilian footballing legend Romario, now a politician, had been leading an anti-corruption campaign against Teixeira for several years.

Is Sepp Blatter implicated?The court document shows Blatter knew about a large payment to Havelange that inadvertently ended up in a Fifa account in the 1990s. Not only did Blatter do nothing back then, but Fifa also made intensive efforts to halt the prosecution. “You can’t judge the past on the basis of today’s standards,” Blatter said on Thursday. “Otherwise it would end up with moral justice.”

Why would Blatter protect Havelange?Loyalty would probably play a large role. The Fifa president was Havelange’s chief acolyte for many years, serving under him as general secretary. When Havelange stepped down, he helped ensure Blatter would succeed him.

Is this the same as the last Fifa bribery scandal?No, that was a whole different kettle of corruption. Before the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar in late 2010, a number of Fifa delegates were forced to give up their votes after allegations of receiving bribes, as well as widespread allegations of voting collusion. DAVIN O'DWYER

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