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Flocks of faithful at St. Peter’s Basilica to greet Benedict XVI

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Steph Deschamps / January 2, 2023

Thousands of faithful marched Monday under the gold of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to gather in front of the remains of Benedict XVI, who died Saturday at age 95 and whose funeral will be celebrated Thursday by Pope Francis.
 
A long line of people have been waiting since dawn in St. Peter’s Square, surrounded by Bernini’s colonnade, in the presence of many media and a thousand members of the police force.
 
“It seemed normal to come and pay homage to him after all he has done for the Church,” Sister Anna-Maria, an Italian nun, told AFP.
 
He was a great pope, profound and unique,” said Francesca Gabrielli, who came especially from Tuscany, and who appreciates the “atmosphere of recollection” in the basilica.
 
The remains of Joseph Ratzinger rest on a catafalque stretched with fabric, surrounded by two Swiss guards in ceremonial dress, in front of the main altar of the basilica dominated by a bronze canopy with twisted colonnades.
 
The deceased pope is dressed in red – the color of papal mourning – and wearing a white miter with a golden girdle, a rosary and a crucifix in his hands.
 
After passing through a security gate, worshippers and tourists enter the central aisle of the world’s largest church, most taking pictures of the former pope’s body with their smartphones. Some pray or make the sign of the cross.
 
Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was among the first visitors.
 
St. Peter’s Basilica, a masterpiece of Renaissance and Baroque architecture completed in 1626, is one of the most important places in Christianity, as it houses the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle, disciple of Christ and first bishop of Rome, whose successors are the popes.
 
A brilliant theologian and fervent guardian of dogma, Benedict XVI, who gave up his office in 2013 due to declining strength, passed away peacefully Saturday morningat the monastery where he had been living since then, located in the heart of the Vatican gardens.
 
Early Monday, his body was transferred to the basilica where a blessing ritual was held, in the presence of his close entourage, including the private secretary of the pope emeritus, Mgr Georg Gänswein.
 
It is Pope Francis who will preside over the funeral of his predecessor on Thursday, an unprecedented event in the two thousand year history of the Catholic Church that will put an end to the unusual cohabitation of the two men in white.
 
The ceremony, “solemn but sober” according to the Vatican, will be held from 09:30 in St. Peter’s Square, where the funeral of John Paul II had attracted one million people in 2005.
 
The first German pope in modern history will then be buried in the crypt of the basilica where John Paul II rested until 2011, said Monday the spokesman for the Holy See, Matteo Bruni.
 
The last words of Benedict XVI, pronounced in Italian a few hours before his death on Saturday in the presence of a nurse at his bedside, were: “Lord, I love you”, reported Archbishop Gänswein.
 
After eight years of a pontificate marked by multiple crises, Benedict XVI was caught up in early 2022 by the drama of pedocriminality in the Church. Questioned by a report in Germany on his management of sexual violence when he was Archbishop of Munich, he came out of his silence to ask for “forgiveness” but assured that he had never covered up for a pedocriminal.
 
A subject raised by Valerie Michalak, a German woman who came with her husband and their four children, originally from Dortmund, as they left the basilica: “We know that he knew certain details and he did not help to open the Pandora’s box,” she regrets.
 
Born in 1927, Joseph Ratzinger taught theology for 25 years in Germany  before being named Archbishop of Munich.
 
He then became the Church’s strict guardian of dogma for another quarter century in Rome as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
 
The last pope to participate in the Second Vatican Council, he nevertheless defended a conservative line at the head of the Church, notably on abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia.

 

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Moscow attack: Vladimir Putin promises those responsible will all be “punished”, EI says four of its fighters carried out the attack

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Moscow attack: Vladimir Putin promises those responsible will all be “punished”, EI says four of its fighters carried out the attack, Magnate Daily
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Eva Deschamps / March 23,

 

At least 133 people were killed on Friday evening in an armed attack followed by a huge fire at a concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow, which was claimed by the jihadist group Islamic State (EI).
 
The four perpetrators” of the attack were arrested “on their way to Ukraine”, said the Russian president on Saturday March 23.
 
The Russian president spoke at a time of terrible tragedy in Russia. “The four perpetrators” of the attack near Moscow were arrested “on their way to Ukraine”, he said in a televised speech broadcast the day after the murderous attack. “According to initial data [from investigators], on the Ukrainian side, a passage had been prepared for them to cross the border”, he continued, notes Le Monde.
 
The attack, which killed at least 133 people near Moscow, was in the eyes of the Kremlin leader a “bloody and barbaric act of terrorism”. “Peaceful, innocent people […] including children, teenagers and women” were killed, he continued, adding, “I express my deepest and most sincere condolences to those who have lost their loved ones.” A national day of mourning will be observed on March 24.
 
“War”. In his speech, Vladimir Putin assured that “those behind these terrorists will be punished” and that they “will have no future”. On Saturday, the Kremlin announced that eleven people had been arrested, including the four suspects who carried out the attack.

 
As a reminder, the Islamic State (EI) claimed responsibility for the attack. Its Afghan branch, the Islamic State in Khorassan, known as “EI-K”, is suspected of being behind the attack. According to EI, the attack is part of a “raging war” between the organization and countries fighting Islam, its Amaq news agency said in a statement.
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Princess Kate announces cancer diagnosis

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Princess Kate announces cancer diagnosis, Magnate Daily
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Sylvie Claire / March 23,

 

After weeks of silence from the British royal family, cancer-stricken Princess Kate has announced that she has begun chemotherapy.

 
Princess Kate has been diagnosed with cancer, Kensington Palace announced on Friday evening. The wife of the heir to the British throne has begun chemotherapy. “I’m fine,” assured the 42-year-old princess after her cancer diagnosis was announced. In a video, the princess explained, “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for all the wonderful messages of support and for your understanding. While I was recovering from surgery, it was an incredibly difficult two months for the whole family. But I had the benefit of a fantastic medical team who took great care of me, for which I am very grateful. In January, I underwent a major domino operation in London and, at the time, my condition was not thought to be cancerous“.
 
She continues: “The operation was successful, but tests carried out after the operation revealed the presence of cancer. My medical team therefore advised me to undergo preventive chemotherapy, and I am now in the early stages of this treatment. William and I have done everything in our power to manage this situation privately, in the best interests of our young family“.
 

Princess Kate explains that it has taken them some time to explain the situation to their children George, Charlotte and Louis. She concludes her message: “But for now, I need to focus on my full recovery. I am also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For anyone facing this disease in any form, don’t lose faith or hide. You are not alone.

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She underwent major abdominal surgery on January 16 at the London Clinic, where she was hospitalized for ten days. For weeks, rumors had been circulating about the princess’s state of health.
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Dragon Ball: a theme park inspired by Toriyama’s universe is coming soon!

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Dragon Ball: a theme park inspired by Toriyama’s universe is coming soon!, Magnate Daily
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Steph Deschamps / March 23,

 

The world’s first theme park inspired by the world of the famous Japanese manga and anime series Dragon Ball is to be built in a future leisure city in Saudi Arabia, the developer of this colossal project announced on Friday.
 
The planned opening date of this 500,000 m2 theme park was not specified, nor was its cost, as is usually the case for the Saudi kingdom’s tourism megaprojects.
 
Located in Qiddiya, near the capital Riyadh, the park will feature seven different zones from the Dragon Ball universe, around 30 attractions as well as hotels and restaurants, according to a press release from Qiddiya Investment Company, also issued by Japanese studio Toei Animation, producer of the franchise’s cartoons.
 
The death of Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama on March 1 at the age of 68 provoked a worldwide wave of emotion, reflecting the immense popularity of his work.

 
First published in 1984, Dragon Ball is one of the best-selling mangas of all time, and has spawned countless animated series, films and video games. It recounts the adventures of Son Goku, a young martial arts prodigy in search of seven crystal balls to help him and his allies protect the Earth from evil enemies.
 
The new town of Qiddiya is one of the pharaonic projects in Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” program, designed to develop the country’s tourism industry and reduce its economy’s heavy dependence on hydrocarbons.
 
Qiddiya will eventually house several theme parks, sports facilities and cultural venues. Construction of the city began in 2019, but its completion date is not known.
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