Home' Greymouth Star : September 22nd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
10 - Monday, September 22, 2014
Pope Francis, in his strongest
criticism of Islamist militants to
date, said overnight no religious
group which used violence and
oppression could claim to be “the
armour of God”.
The Pope made his comments
during a one-day visit to Albania,
an impoverished Balkan country
hailed by the Pontiff as a model
of inter-faith harmony because
of good relations between its
majority Muslim community and
its Christian denominations.
“Let no one consider themselves
the ‘armour’ of God while planning
and carrying out acts of violence
and oppression,” he said in the
presidential palace in Tirana,
responding to an address by
Albanian President Bujar Nishani,
who is Muslim.
“May no one use religion as
a pretext for actions against
human dignity and against the
fundamental rights of every man
and woman, above all to the right
to life and the right of everyone to
religious freedom,” he said.
Francis, on his first trip as Pope
to a European country outside
Italy, made no direct reference to
Islamic State militants who have
seized territory in Syria and Iraq,
but it was clear he had events in the
Middle East in mind.
About 70,000 Syrian Kurds
have fled into Turkey since Friday
as Islamic State militants seized
dozens of villages close to the
border. A Kurdish politician from
Turkey said local people had told
him the militants were beheading
people as they went from village to
Islamic State has declared a
“caliphate” in the territories it
controls and has killed or driven
out large numbers of Christians,
Shi’ite Muslims and others who do
not subscribe to its hardline version
of Sunni Islam.
Asked specifically about Islamic
State last month when returning
from a trip to South Korea, Pope
Francis endorsed action by the
international community to stop
“ unjust aggression”.
In Tirana, he lauded the
mutual respect and trust between
Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox
Christians in Albania as a “precious
gift” and a powerful symbol in
today ’s world.
“This is especially the case in
these times where an authentic
religious spirit is being per verted
by extremist groups and where
religious differences are being
distorted and instrumentalised,”
Pope Francis said.
The Pope said Mass before some
250,000 people in a square in
central Tirana named after the
late Mother Teresa of Calcutta, an
ethnic Albanian who is a national
Both the Vatican and Albanian
officials dismissed media reports
of concern for the Pope’s safety.
Security appeared normal for a
papal trip overseas and in some
places lighter than in some previous
Some 60% of all Albanians are
Muslim, while Roman Catholics
account for just 10% of the
The Pope returned to the theme
of tolerance during a meeting with
leaders of other religions, telling
them that “all those forms which
present a distorted use of religion
must be firmly refuted as false.”
Earlier, aboard the plane taking
him on the short trip across the
Adriatic from Rome to Tirana,
Pope Francis said he wanted to visit
Albania because it had “suffered
very, very much”. He is the first
pope to visit Albania in 21 years.
The late communist dictator
Envier Hoxha banned religion in
1967, driving Albania’s Roman
Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim
faithful alike underground in his
drive to create what he boasted was
the world’s first atheist State.
Nearly 2000 churches, Orthodox
and Catholic, were destroyed under
Hoxha, whose paranoid rule lasted
four decades until his death in 1985.
Many were turned into cinemas or
More than 100 Catholic priests
or bishops were executed or died
under torture or in labour camps.
Just 30 sur vived in what Pope
Francis referred to in his address
as “a winter of isolation and
At a vespers ser vice last night
in Tirana’s cathedral, the Pope
wiped a tear from his eye when an
84-year-old priest, Ernest Troshani,
described how he had spent nearly
30 years in prison or forced labour
in mines, during which he was told
by his captors that he was up next
for execution as an enemy of the
The Pope was so moved that he
kissed the man’s hand, put aside his
prepared address, and delivered an
“ Today, here, we have touched
martyrs,” he said. — Reuters
Pope takes aim at Islamic extremists
Voreqe Bainimarama, the former naval
officer who has twice seized power in Fiji
via military coups, has claimed victory in
the Pacific island nation’s first election
following eight years of military rule.
The 60-year-old strongman ruler,
known as Frank Bainimarama, has
been prime minister of Fiji, a nation of
300 islands with a population of about
900,000, since 2007.
The poll conducted on Wednesday
was broadly praised by a 92-member
international obser ver group, despite
opposition accusations of fraud.
Yesterday, with 90% of the vote counted,
Bainimarama delivered a victory speech
in which he thanked the military forces
for standing by him since 2000.
“I am greatly honoured and humbled
that the Fijian people put their trust in
me to lead them into our new and true
democracy,” Bainimarama said in the
speech aired by Fiji Broadcasting Corp
“My absolute promise (is) that we will
govern for the well being of all Fijians.”
Bainimarama’s Fiji First Party appeared
set to win a majority of the parliament ’s
50 seats after securing 59% of the vote,
according to the Fijian Elections Office.
The Social Democratic Party was a
distant second with 28% of the vote.
Bainimarama seized on a long-
simmering rivalry between indigenous
Fijian nationalists and minority ethnic
Indians, the economically powerful
descendants of labourers brought by
the British to work sugar cane fields, to
justify his coup in 2006.
In 2000, ethnic Fijians held the first
Indo-Fijian prime minister hostage in
parliament for 56 days, in a coup that
began with deadly riots in the streets of
the capital, Suva.
Bainimarama was brought in to
head the interim military government
installed after a counter-coup.
Keen to move on from the sour
relations that followed the coup, regional
powerhouse Australia said it looked
for ward to working with the new
government after provisional results put
Bainimarama’s party in the lead.
Pope Francis waves during his visit to Tirana, the capital of Albania, today.
Perth has had a glance into the
summer ahead with its hottest
September day on record.
But the West Australian capital
is being warned the unseasonable
weather does not plan on sticking
The thermometer hit 34.2degC
about 3pm on Saturday, passing the
record set in September 1918, when
the temperature reached 32.7degC.
But Perth’s time in the sun is
over for now with a cold front
bringing moderate to heavy rain
and damaging winds.
“The temperature will drop to
23deg and lots of rain and wind,”
Neil Bennett from the Bureau of
Residents in the south-west of
the State, including Perth, have
been urged to prepare their homes
for the bad weather, with damaging
winds up to 100kph predicted.
Bennett said the rain would
move east today and be replaced by
average September temperatures
— around the 20degC mark.
32.4degC a Perth record for September
Muslim Albania hailed as model of religious harmony
A doodle in a notebook has triggered
a security incident on a plane at
A 28-year-old man had boarded a
Gold Coast-bound Tiger Air flight on
Saturday morning, but was ejected by
AFP officers before the plane could take
Another passenger had complained
after seeing the man doodling in a
notebook, including writing in bold the
“The irony is I was writing a sentence
about the absurdity of the fearmongering
when we live in such a happy country
of ice-cream and beaches and fluffy
things,” Oliver Buckworth told Fairfax
“. . . My concern is what it looked like
to the rest of the people on the plane.
I did tell them as I was leaving, ‘I’m
not a criminal. This man simply took
something out of context that I was
writing in my book’.”
Tiger Air has confirmed it sought an
Australian Federal Police inter vention
after receiving a complaint about a
The airline had a policy of zero-
tolerance in matters of safety, it also said
in a statement.
“Safety and security of staff and
passengers underpins the operation at
all times and is never compromised,” a
Tiger Air spokesperson said.
“As per Tiger Air’s conditions
of carriage, the airline may refuse
passengers to travel for reasons of safety
or security and this may include the
enforcement of future travel bans.
“As the matter was dealt with by the
AFP and is subject to further review by
Tiger Air, we are unable to comment
further at this time.”
Earlier this month, the federal
terrorism alert level to high. — AAP
Doodling man kicked off flight
Oktoberfest welcomes 1 million people
About a million people have visited
Oktoberfest, the world’s largest festival,
on its first weekend despite bad weather.
The guests to the festival in Bavaria’s
capital drank a million mugs of beer
on Saturday and yesterday and chewed
their way through tens of thousands of
sausages, organisers say.
Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter opened
the 181st edition of the beer festival on
Saturday by tapping the first keg.
The Red Cross is deployed to help the
sick and the injured and treated more
than 700 patients on the first day of the
festival, up 30% from last year. Most of
suffered minor injuries, such as cuts, but
19 were treated for alcohol poisoning.
About six million people are expected
to visit Oktoberfest during the 16-day
event. — DPA
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