A screen grab taken from a video shows Pope Francis walking out of a record shop in Rome on Jan.11, 2022. AFP
The visit on Tuesday night was to have remained secret but Javier Martinez-Brocal of the Rome Reports television news agency was in the area in central Rome by chance. He filmed it with his smart phone, posted it on Twitter, and it went viral.
In a letter sent to Martinez-Brocal on Thursday, Francis, 85, congratulated him on his work and lamented his own misfortune.
"You can't deny that it was a case of bad luck ... that after taking all the precautions, there was a reporter there at the taxi rank," Francis said in the letter Martinez-Brocal shared with colleagues on Friday.
"One should not lose one's sense of humour," Francis said. "Thanks for doing your job, even if it did put the Pope in difficulty."
Francis, who shuns bulletproof cars and visible police escorts, arrived at the StereoSound record shop near the ancient Pantheon in a simple white Fiat 500 driven by a Vatican employee. He stayed inside the for about 15 minutes.
The shop's owners later said they had become friends with him years ago when he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires.
He would visit their shop to buy classical music records and CDs when he was in Rome on Church business and stayed at a nearby residence for visiting clerics.
"What I miss the most (since he became Pope) s not being able to walk around the streets, as I did in Buenos Aires, walking from one parish to another," Francis wrote.
The shop owners later said they gave the Pope a boxed-set of classical music CDs but declined to be more specific. Francis is known to like Beethoven, Mozart and Bach — and even tango music from his native Argentina.
It was not the first time the Pope has visited a Rome shop. In 2015, two years after his election, he ordered a new pair of eyeglasses from a Rome optician. They were to have been delivered to the Vatican but he decided to go pick them up himself. He also once went to a store to pick up a pair of orthopaedic shoes.
The Rawalpindi police, taking notice of the incident, arrested the teacher involved in the gruesome act on Friday.
A video by Bengaluru-based artist Baadal Nanjundaswamy, showing a man dressed as an astronaut walking on potholes in the city shown as the Moon's surface has gone viral on the social media.
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has filed a case against the journalist, who shot the video of school children being served roti with salt for mid-day meal in Mirzapur.
Schools in the UAE resumed in-person learning on Monday, after two weeks of using an online learning system as a precautionary measure, coinciding with the International Day of Education, which falls on Jan.24.
The dispute has led to the grounding of 21 planes out of 53 A350s operated by Qatar Airways and cast a pall over the airline's preparations for the World Cup later this year.
Authorities in Tonga, hit by a massive volcanic eruption and a tsunami on Jan. 15, have asked for aid to be delivered without human contact amid concerns a COVID outbreak would be devastating for the tiny Pacific island nation.
The World Bank ranks the crisis as among the most severe globally since the mid-19th century, devastating a country once seen as a wealthy and liberal outpost in the Middle East before civil war broke out from 1975 to 1990.