Names in the news, April 5

Posted April 04, 2012, at 5:02 p.m.

Guenter Grass, the Nobel Prize winning author of “The Tin Drum,” attacked Israel’s nuclear capacity and the threat it poses to Iran in a poem published in Wednesday’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. In the poem titled “What Has to Be Said,” Grass says that Israel, as a nuclear power “is endangering already-fragile world peace.” He describes its nuclear potential as “out of control, because no one can examine it.” He criticizes Germany for promising to deliver a submarine to Israel whose specialty is “directing warheads of mass destruction to a place where the existence of a single nuclear bomb is unproven.” Israel, he says, maintains its right of first strike against the Iranian people, whom he describes as “enslaved by a braggart, forced into organized jubilation.” Grass, 84, unleashed a storm of criticism with his poem. Germany’s best-known author last provoked an uproar in 2006, when he revealed — after 61 years of silence — that he joined a Waffen SS unit in 1944. The Israeli Embassy in Berlin said in a statement that Grass’ comment “is part of a European tradition to accuse the Jews of ritual murder before Passover.” Grass’s poem urges the global community to call on Israel as the “cause of recognizable danger” to abstain from violence and both countries to allow “unhindered and permanent inspections by an international authority of Israel’s nuclear potential and the Iranian nuclear facilities.” … Bruce Willis says he’s willing to give away his central Idaho ski resort to a nonprofit. His lavish home in nearby Hailey, Idaho, on the market listed at $15 million along with his local bar and nightclub, The Mint, listed at about $4 million. Willis, best known for the “Die Hard” series and “Sixth Sense,” has owned the ski area since the late 1990s.

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