World briefs: Gaza talks sputtering

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CAIRO — Hamas on Saturday rejected as insufficient offers made in Cairo to Palestinian negotiators seeking to end Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip, and raised the possibility of renewed fighting when the current truce expires.

Israel said it had also not yet accepted any proposals made in the Egyptian-mediated talks but, like the Palestinians, its envoys would continue attending them on Sunday.

The cease-fire concludes Monday night.

Hamas, Gaza's dominant Islamist group, wants an Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the coastal enclave lifted, as well as the establishment of a seaport and airport, as part of any enduring cessation of hostilities with the Jewish state.

Pope honors martyrs

SEOUL, South Korea — Pope Francis beatified 124 Korean martyrs Saturday, telling hundreds of thousands of people who turned out for his open-air Mass that their ancestors’ willingness to die rather than renounce their faith two centuries ago was a model for Asian missionaries today.

The streets leading to Seoul’s iconic Gwanghwamun Gate were packed with Koreans honoring the lay Catholics who founded the church in this country in the 18th century. Korea’s church is unique in that it was founded not by foreign missionary priests — as occurred in most of the world — but by members of Korea’s own noble classes who learned of Christianity by reading about it.

These early Catholics were killed in the 18th and 19th centuries by the Joseon Dynasty, which tried to shut the Korean Peninsula off from Western influence.

U.S. calls tapped

BERLIN — The German Foreign Intelligence Agency has admitted tapping “at least one” phone call each by current Secretary of State John Kerry and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton while they were aboard U.S. government jets, according to German media reports.

The reports claim Mr. Kerry’s intercepted communication was a satellite phone call from the Middle East in 2013. Ms. Clinton’s communication was also a satellite call, in 2012, and was reportedly to then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Both calls were reported to have been intercepted accidentally while German intelligence was targeting terror suspects in the Middle East and northern Africa.

The intelligence agency (the Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND) told German media that terror groups often use the same frequencies that the secretaries’ phone calls were made over, so the calls were picked up.

U.S. pushes arms sales

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, courted Vietnam over the past several days, becoming the first chairman in more than 40 years to visit the old enemy of Washington, now envisioned as a new partner that will acquire American weapons and help offset the power of China.

A longstanding embargo on lethal weapons sales by the United States is likely to be eased, he said, and Washington would then begin discussions on what equipment Vietnam would buy, most likely in the field of maritime surveillance.

Also in the world ...

Marina Silva has been chosen by the Brazilian Socialist Party to replace Eduardo Campos as its presidential candidate after his death last week in a plane crash, according to the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. ... Decrying what they say were rigged elections last year, tens of thousands of Pakistanis gathered in their nation’s capital Saturday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government.

Compiled from news services


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