News & Current Affairs

September 8, 2008

German FM to run for chancellor

German FM to run for chancellor

Frank-Walter Steinmeier - 7/9/2008

Opinion polls indicate the SPD are lagging far behind their CDU rivals

Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) have chosen Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as candidate for chancellor in next year’s federal election.

The choice means he will run against the current chancellor, Angela Merkel, of the Christian Democrats (CDU).

Mr Steinmeier is the foreign minister and vice-chancellor in the “grand coalition” of the SPD and CDU in Ms Merkel’s government.

Polls indicate the SPD is far behind the CDU in voter opinion.

The SPD has lost support in recent years to the Left Party, made up of defectors from the SPD and communists from the former East Germany.

In a party shake-up, former SPD chairman Franz Muentefering was chosen by party officials to resume the role after Kurt Beck announced his resignation.

“The party needs strong leadership and a strong centre and I believe that today’s decision sets the course for this,” Mr Steinmeier said after the party’s meeting.

He served as chief of staff in Gerhard Schroeder’s ruling coalition with the Greens from 1998-2005.

After the 2005 elections left neither the CDU nor the SPD with enough votes to form a government, he became foreign minister in the coalition the two parties formed.

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Silent movie star Page dies at 98

Silent movie star Page dies at 98

Anita Page

Anita Page was a key figure as the silent movie era ended

Veteran actress Anita Page, whose career dated back to the silent movie era, has died aged 98 in Los Angeles.

Page counted Buster Keaton, Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford among her co-stars during an 84-year career which saw her start out as an extra in 1924.

Her big break came in 1928 when she starred alongside Crawford in Our Dancing Daughters.

More recently, she had completed a cameo role in forthcoming horror movie Frankenstein Rising.

Page died in her sleep at home on Saturday morning, friend Randal Malone told the Associated Press news agency.

Her daughter, Linda Sterne, said her mother had been good friends with Marion Davies and Jean Harlow, and for a period in the 1930s had lived as a guest in a California castle owned by newspaper magnate William Hearst.

“She was the best mother I could have,” Sterne said. “She was wonderful.”

Page starred alongside Chaney in 1928’s While The City Sleeps, while the following years she co-starred in musical The Broadway Melody, the first talkie to win a best picture Oscar.

Her other work included two of Keaton’s sound films: Free and Easy in 1930, and the following year’s Sidewalks of New York.

She also starred alongside Walter Huston in 1932’s Night Court, and The Easiest Way, in which Clark Gable had a small role.

But Page stopped acting when she fell in love with US Navy aviator Herschel House. The couple married in 1936, six weeks after they met, and she settled down to life as an officer’s wife, hosting many parties at their home in San Diego Bay.

After House died in 1991, Page returned to acting, starring in suspense thriller Sunset After Dark in 1994.

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