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South Korean Defense Minister Nominee Withdraws Under Cloud

South Korean President Park Geun-hye's nominee for defense minister has withdrawn his name after being pummeled by allegations of serious ethical lapses, including a link with a local arms broker, real estate speculation and stock asset disclosure.

In a brief statement Friday, retired four-star general Kim Byung-kwan apologized and said he was stepping down to help normalize government affairs.

President Park excepted the resignation and asked current Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin to extend his term.

Friday's resignation was the latest blow to the month-old government, after several Cabinet nominees, including the prime minister, resigned under harsh media scrutiny over their past careers and ethical lapses.



On Thursday, the new vice justice minister quit after local media alleged he was involved in a sex bribery scandal.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, speaks to the press after meeting with the German and French foreign ministers in separate meetings at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 28, 2015.

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