Arms claim a ‘lie’: minister
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif yesterday sharply rejected an Israeli allegation that Tehran tried to ship missiles to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, calling it a “lie.” Israel has said it captured a Gaza-bound ship on Wednesday carrying dozens of Syrian-made rockets “capable of striking anywhere in Israel.” The raid coincided with a US trip by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Netanyahu is in Washington... and all of a sudden as a godsend, they capture a ship from Iran with missiles. Just a coincidence?” Zarif said during an official visit to Jakarta. “If Netanyahu is a saint and can produce miracles I believe the Israelis themselves will be amused by that,” he said. “So if you cannot believe in miracles by Netanyahu, the only thing that you can believe is that this is a lie. And it is a lie.”
Plane near-miss a concern
Beijing has expressed its “deep concern” to North Korea after South Korea said a Chinese airplane had crossed the path of a rocket launched by the isolated state, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. On Thursday, the South’s Ministry of National Defense said a Chinese civilian plane had “passed as the ballistic missile [from the North] was in the course of descending.” The plane was flying from Toyko’s Narita airport to the China’s Shenyang City on Tuesday, the ministry had said previously. “On this issue, we have already contacted the North Korean side to convey our deep concern,” ministry spokesman Qin Gang(秦剛) told a daily news briefing.
PM mulls Facebook ban
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara could ban Facebook and YouTube, which he says have been abused by his political enemies, after local elections on March 30. Erdogan is locked in a power struggle with the US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally who he says is behind a stream of “fabricated” audio recordings posted on the Internet allegedly revealing corruption in his inner circle. “We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook,” Erdogan said in an interview with ATV. Asked if the possible barring of these sites was included in his planned measures, he said: “Included.”
Fake composer apologizes
The man once lauded as “Japan’s Beethoven” yesterday bowed repeatedly and apologized at his first media appearance since it was revealed last month that his famed musical compositions were ghostwritten and he was not completely deaf. Mamoru Samuragochi appeared clean-shaven and minus his trademark sunglasses and long hair, in what could be seen as a sign of remorse. He apologized for the troubles he had caused his fans, producers behind his works and others. “I will speak the truth,” he said. “I will make this my last appearance on TV.”
Pope says he stole cross
Pope Francis revealed on Thursday he broke the seventh commandment by stealing. In off-the-cuff comments to Roman priests, Francis recalled when he was in his native Buenos Aires, he went to the funeral of an elderly priest whom he admired. He bought some flowers and laid them out in the coffin where the dead priest was holding a rosary in his hand. “Suddenly, that thief that all of us have inside of us came into my mind. As I was laying out the flowers, I took the cross that was on the rosary and, using some force, detached it,” he said. Francis, who did not say when the episode took place, added that he has carried the cross with him ever since in order to remember the priest and the mercy he showed to others.