PARIS (AFP) -- The French government said Wednesday that its missiles had been found in Libya on a base used by rebel forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, in an embarrassing admission that raises fresh questions about its role in the conflict.
Confirming a report in the New York Times, the defense ministry said in a statement that US-made Javelin missiles discovered in a camp south of Tripoli at the end of June had been purchased by France.
But it denied supplying them to rebel commander Haftar and breaching a UN arms embargo, saying French forces operating in the war-torn country had lost track of them after they were judged to be defective.
The anti-tank missiles, worth 170,000 dollars (150,000 euros) each, were seized when forces loyal to the UN-recognized government in Tripoli overran the rebel base in Gharyan, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Tripoli.
Three of them, as well Chinese-made shells bearing the markings of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were shown off to journalists including AFP reporters on June 29.
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin questioned on Tuesday the use of wind power, saying wind turbines were harmful to birds and worms.
Russia, a world-leading producer of fossil fuel, is lagging other countries in its development of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind-powered energy.
Wind power is rarely used in the country to generate electricity. Enel Russia pledged 90 million euros to build a power generation facility by 2024 with a capacity of 71 megawatts.
"Wind-powered generation is good, but are birds being taken into account in this case? How many birds are dying?” Putin said at a televised conference on industry in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.
"They (wind turbines) shake, causing worms to come out of the soil. This is not a joke,” he said. Putin added that people would not like to live on a planet dotted with "rows of wind-powered generators and covered by several layers of solar panels”.
LONDON (AFP) -- Boris Johnson stood accused Tuesday of having nothing to offer Britain but "blind optimism" as he and his rival for the premiership clashed over Brexit in a bad-tempered TV debate.
Johnson is the runaway frontrunner to replace Theresa May later this month, wooing voters with a promise to take Britain out of the European Union on October 31 whatever happens.
But in their first and only head-to-head debate, his rival Jeremy Hunt accused him of not being honest about the risks of leaving the bloc without a deal with Brussels.
"If we want to make a success of Brexit it's not about blind optimism, it's about understanding the details that will get us the deal that's right for country," said Hunt, the current foreign minister.
Johnson, a former London mayor who preceded Hunt at the Foreign Office, is known for his rhetoric and jokes but has been accused of having only a vague plan for office.
He retorted that "we've had a bellyful of defeatism", saying he would help Britain "get back our mojo" and "off the hamster wheel of doom".
ISTANBUL (Reuters) -- Turkey said on Wednesday it rejected Greek and European Union assertions that Turkish drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus was illegitimate, and said they showed the EU could not be an impartial mediator on the Cyprus problem.
The foreign ministry said Turkey’s Fatih ship had started drilling to the west of the Mediterranean island at the start of May and its Yavuz ship had recently arrived east of Cyprus and would also carry out drilling.
Cyprus says Turkey’s actions are contrary to international law. Turkey and the internationally-recognized government of the divided island have overlapping claims in that part of the Mediterranean, an area thought to be rich in natural gas.
The Yavuz drillship dropped anchor on Monday to the south of Cyprus’ Karpasia peninsula, a jutting northeastern panhandle. It triggered a strong protest from Nicosia and a rebuke from the European Union.
In June, EU leaders warned Turkey to end drilling in waters around the island or face action from the bloc.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday criticized comments by Japanese officials who questioned the credibility of Seoul’s sanctions against North Korea while justifying Tokyo’s stricter controls on high-tech exports to South Korea.
The issue has become a full-blown diplomatic dispute between the neighboring U.S. allies.
In a meeting with South Korean business leaders at Seoul’s presidential palace, Moon said his government was committed to resolving the matter diplomatically and urged Japan to refrain from pushing the situation to a "dead-end street.”
Tokyo last week tightened the approval process for Japanese shipments of photoresists and other sensitive materials to South Korean companies, which need the chemicals to produce semiconductors and display screens used in TVs and smartphones.
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s president says the country’s government is ignoring the will of its own citizens by not adopting anti-corruption recommendations made by a European anti-graft body.
President Klaus Iohannis said Wednesday that it was "extremely worrying” that Romania was still in the focus of European institutions.
A report by the Council of Europe’s corruption monitoring division said Tuesday that Romania had fully complied with only four of 13 recommendations for handling high-level corruption.
Iohannis, a former leader of Romania’s National Liberal Party, said that the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila’s Social Democrat Party, "got a red card once again” for the "damages made by this government by modifying the justice and penal laws.”