Brussels 04.04.2021 Francis called for peace in several conflict areas in Africa, including the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia and the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique. He added that the crisis in Yemen has been “met with a deafening and scandalous silence”.
The Pontifex appealed to Israelis and Palestinians to “rediscover the power of dialogue” to reach a two-state solution where both can live side by side in peace and prosperity.
In mentioning conflict areas, he singled out for praise “the young people of Myanmar committed to supporting democracy and making their voices heard peacefully”. More than 550 protesters have been killed since a February 1 military coup in Myanmar, which the pope visited in 2017.
Francis said he realised many Christians were still persecuted and called for all restrictions on freedom of worship and religion worldwide to be lifted.
At one point, nearly 9 thousand people were simultaneously celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection with the Pope on Vatican News’ English-language Facebook page alone.
Over 170 broadcast networks and media outlets picked up the Easter broadcasts, which has seen much wider coverage in recent years due to live-streaming.
Brussels 29.10.20 “I condemn the hideous and brutal attack which has just taken place in Nice and am wholeheartedly with France. My thoughts are with the victims of this heinous act” the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen wrote on her Twitter micro blog.
“The whole of Europe stands in solidarity with France. We remain united and determined in the face of barbarism and fanaticism” von der Leyen underlined.
At present, three people have died from knife attack committed in the church Notre Dame at heart of Nice. Among the victims a beheaded elderly women. It is a terrorist attack according to Mayor Christian Estrosi.
“In Nice the entire Christian world was targeted. I address my thoughts to all Christians in France and around the world” the Mayor said in his video addresse.
Only a few hours after the attack on the Notre-Dame basilica in Nice, Jean Castex launched a vigipirate plan at the “emergency bombing” level across the country. This is the highest level. The Prime Minister also announced that a Defense and Security Council was scheduled for “tomorrow morning”. Emmanuel Macron is also on his way to Nice.
According to information gathered by Europe 1 and Franceinfo, three people have died including the guardian of the church. One of them was reportedly beheaded. Several people are injured. One of them is said to be in serious condition. A police and demining operation is still in progress in the Notre-Dame basilica in Nice. “The detonations you hear are those caused by the national police services, do not panic, the situation is under control,” wrote the local national police on Twitter. According to the local daily Nice-matin, a stabbing attack therefore took place in the Notre-Dame basilica located on Avenue Jean Médecin in the heart of downtown Nice. Shots were also heard, causing panic among residents.
The mayor of Nice said the perpetrator of the knife attack has already been arrested by municipal police. He would have “repeated Allah Akbar repeatedly,” the mayor reported on BFMTV. The anti-terrorism prosecution has opened an investigation for “murder and attempted murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise” and “criminal terrorist association”.
Christian Estrosi asked “the people of Nice to avoid the area to let the police and emergency services work”. The city Councilor of Nice has also confirmed that “everything suggests a terrorist attack in the Notre-Dame basilica”. He also said on BFMTV: “It is time for France to break free from the laws of peace”.
vigipirate plan was decreed by the Prime Minister Jean Castex.
The blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday April 21 killed at least 290 people and left hundreds more injured. Search and rescue, victim identification have been carried out along with a counter-terrorist operation. The US Embassy in Colombo launched an ALERT, asking everyone to “remain vigilant, and report any suspicious activity to authorities immediately”.
- There were six suicide bombers involved in the explosions. So far, 24 suspects have been arrested in connection to the attacks.
- The FBI and Interpol are among the global agencies who are stepping in to assist the investigation.
- The Sri Lanka government may have had information about the attacks prior to the bombings. A minister claimed that US and Indian governments had warned of “something terrible,” but it’s unclear if any action was taken.
- More victims’ names and faces are emerging, among them 30 foreigners.
At Christmas Eve the Pontiff delivered a highly political speech arguing that Christians are obliged by their origins to show hospitality for today’s displaced persons, including immigrants and refugees.
“In this Child, God invites us to be messengers of hope,” Pope Francis said. “He invites us to become sentinels for all those bowed down by the despair born of encountering so many closed doors. In this child, God makes us agents of his hospitality.”
Pontiff closed by praying that the story of Christ’s birth will inspire Christians to action.
“We ask that your crying may shake us from our indifference and open our eyes to those who are suffering,” he said. “May your tenderness awaken our sensitivity and recognize our call to see you in all those who arrive in our cities, in our histories, in our lives.”
“Mary and Joseph, for whom there was no room, are the first to embrace the One who comes to give all of us our document of citizenship,” the Pope said, touching a particularly sensitive political issue in Italy at the moment.
Just days ago, the Italian Senate declined to adopt a measure that would have granted the children of immigrants and refugees citizenship by birth, rather than compelling them to apply at the age of 18 through a complicated and expensive bureaucratic procedure.
Nearly 90,000 of the faithful were killed for their beliefs in violent and gruesome attacks last year, according to a report by the Center for Studies on New Religions, making Christians the most persecuted group in the world. While some were killed as part of state-sanctioned persecution, as in places like North Korea, nearly one-third of the Christians who died in 2016 were executed at the hands of Islamic extremists like ISIS.
The study also found that as many as 600 million Christians were prevented from practicing their faith in 2016.
Today president Donald Trump is expected to sign executive orders starting onwards including a temporary ban for an indefinite period of time for the most of the refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other countries of Middle East and Africa, according to congressional aides and Washington immigration experts.
Trump, who tweeted on Tuesday night that a “big day” was planned on national security on Wednesday 25/01/2017 is expected to order a multi-month ban on allowing refugees into the United States except for religious minorities, supposedly Christians escaping persecution, until more elaborate vetting is in place.
Another order will block visas being issued to all applicants from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, according to the same unnamed inner sources.