Pakistan celebrates National Day with military parade

Pakistani Air Force jets demonstrate an aerobatic performance during a full dress rehearsal of a military parade to mark Pakistan’s Republic Day in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 21, 2018. Pakistan will celebrate its Republic Day on Friday, March. 23, 2018. (AP/B.K. Bnagash)
Updated 23 March 2018
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Pakistan celebrates National Day with military parade

ISLAMABAD: Pakistanis are celebrating the National Day with a military parade that’s showcasing short- and long-range missiles, tanks, jets, drones and other hardware.
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain used the occasion to promise to defeat militants who have killed thousands of people in attacks over the past 10 years.
As part of security measures for Friday’s parade in Islamabad, authorities suspended mobile phone services. Many homemade bomb attacks have been triggered remotely using phone devices.
Hussain will also honor 141 Pakistanis and foreigners with civilian awards. This year’s recipients include Cuba’s Fidel Castro for the work of Cuban doctors during Pakistan’s 2005 earthquake that killed 75,000 people.
Pakistan’s right activist Asma Jahangir will also get the top civilian award. She is known for her criticism of the military’s interference in civilian affairs.


Japan minister apologizes after ‘sexy yoga’ claims

Updated 10 min 30 sec ago
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Japan minister apologizes after ‘sexy yoga’ claims

TOKYO: Japan’s education minister apologized Wednesday for using an official car to visit a yoga studio, but denied claims that the facility was offering “sexy private yoga.”
The row is the latest headache for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, which is already under fire after two cronyism scandals and sexual harassment claims against a top finance ministry bureaucrat.
The Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine on Wednesday reported that Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi visited a yoga studio in the hip Ebisu district in Tokyo using a state car and took private lessons there.
“I apologize for creating confusion amid a tense parliamentary situation,” Hayashi told reporters.
“As the government is facing severe rebuke and criticism, I will serve the public in a more disciplined manner,” he said, in an apparent reference to various scandals involving the cabinet in recent weeks.
“I should have drawn a line between the public and the private, even though this case was in line with rules,” he added.
Ministers are permitted to use government vehicles for private use in between public engagements, local media said.
The magazine described the yoga studio as a “sexy private yoga” studio run by a former porn actress that offers private lessons and oil massages.
But Hayashi said he was simply taking “regular yoga lessons and massages with finger pressure” for better health.
The president of the yoga studio has denied that she was ever a porn actress and is demanding a correction and an apology from the magazine.
“I firmly deny the article which presents an indecent image and is completely different from the facts,” she said.
The studio’s website says it offers private lessons for men or couples.
Support for Abe’s government has flagged due to two cronyism scandals and criticism of the way the finance ministry has handled claims that its top bureaucrat sexually harassed female reporters.
Around half of voters now disapprove of Abe’s administration, and a similar number want his Finance Minister Taro Aso to step down, polls published Monday found.
The polls bode ill for Abe’s bid to be reelected party chief in September in a vote he was once expected to win easily.