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Monday, January 6, 2014 - 5
Pope Francis has said men studying
for the Roman Catholic priesthood
should be properly trained or the
Church could risk "creating little
monsters" more concerned with their
careers than serving people.
In comments made in November
but published only at the weekend,
Pope Francis also said priests should
leave their comfort zone and get out
among people on the margins of
society, otherwise they may turn into
e Italian Jesuit journal Civilta
Cattolica published an exclusive
text of the comments, made in a
three-hour, closed-door meeting the
Argentinian-born Ponti had in late
November with heads of orders of
priests from around the world.
"Formation (of future priests) is a
work of art, not a police action. We
must form their hearts. Otherwise
we are creating little monsters. en
these little monsters mould the
people of God. is really gives me
goose bumps," he said.
Since his election in 2013 as
the rst non-European pope in
1300 years, Pope Francis has been
prodding priests, nuns and bishops
to think less about their careers in
the Church and to listen more to
the needs of ordinary Catholics,
especially the poor.
Taking over an institution reeling
from child sex abuse, nancial and
other scandals and losing members
to other religions, Pope Francis has
tried to refocus on the basic Christian
teachings of compassion, simplicity
His conversation with the members
of the Union of Superiors General is
important because they will transmit
his wishes directly to priests in their
religious orders around the world.
Pope Francis said men should
not enter the priesthood to seek a
comfortable life or to rise up the
clerical career ladder.
" e ghost to ght against is the
image of religious life understood
as an escape or hiding place in face
of an 'external' di cult and complex
world," he told them.
He made a brief, indirect reference
to the sexual abuse crisis, saying a
man who has been asked to leave one
seminary should not be admitted to
Pope Francis said priests had to
have "real contact with the poor"
and other marginalised members of
" is is really very important to me:
e need to become acquainted with
reality by experience, to spend time
walking on the periphery in order
really to become acquainted with
the reality and life-experiences of
people," he told them.
"If this does not happen we then run
the risk of being abstract ideologists
or fundamentalists, which is not
e leader of the world's 1.2 billion
Roman Catholics has set a new tone
in the Vatican, rejecting the lush
papal residence his predecessors
used and opting for a small suite in a
Vatican guest house, where he eats in
the common dining hall.
Civilta Cattolica is the same
periodical that ran a landmark
interview with Pope Francis in
September in which he said the
Church must shake o an obsession
with teachings on abortion,
contraception and homosexuality and
become more merciful.
Pope Francis, known as the "slum
bishop" in Argentina because of his
work among the poor, said reaching
out to marginalised people was "the
most concrete way of imitating
His own rst visits after moving
to the Vatican were to a jail for
juveniles and to the southern Italian
island of Lampedusa to pay tribute to
impoverished immigrants who have
died trying to get to Europe.
Pope Francis has said several times
since his election that he feels the
Vatican is too self-centred and needs
A committee of eight cardinals
from around the world that he
has appointed to advise him on
how to reform the central Vatican
administration, know as the Curia, is
due to submit its recommendations
next month. --- Reuters
Church must not create 'monsters' --- Pope
Pope Francis will make his rst trip
to the Holy Land, visiting Amman,
Bethlehem and Jerusalem in May.
"In the climate of joy typical of this
Christmas period, I would like to
announce that from May 24 to 26, God
willing, I will carry out a pilgrimage
to the Holy Land," Pope Francis told
crowds gathered in St Peter's Square for
the traditional Angelus prayer overnight.
e Pope said the date of the
announcement --- January 5 --- was
signi cant because it "commemorates
the historic meeting between Pope
Paul VI and patriarch Athenagoras I of
Constantinople", 50 years ago.
eir meeting in Jerusalem led to the
rescinding of the excommunications
of 1054 that caused the Great Schism
between the churches of the east and
Pope Francis said he would hold
an "ecumenical meeting with all
the representatives of the Christian
Churches in Jerusalem" at the Church
of the Holy Sepulchre in east Jerusalem,
which encloses the sites where Jesus is
believed to have been cruci ed, buried
Among those attending, he said,
would be the current patriarch of
e assembly of Catholic bishops in
the Holy Land warmly welcomed the
announcement, expressing con dence
that the trip would not be only an
international event, but "mainly a
message of love and brotherhood to
all" those living in the countries Francis
ey underlined that the meeting with
Patriarch Bartholomew would aim to
"highlight the desire for unity amongst
Pope Francis was invited to visit
the Holy Land by Israeli President
Shimon Peres and Palestinian President
Mahmud Abbas, who said he would
"walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ".
e 77-year-old Ponti has made
many appeals for peace in the Middle
East. During his meeting with Abbas,
he called for "a just and lasting solution"
to the con ict between Israelis and
Reacting to the announcement, Abbas
said the visit could "contribute to easing
the burden of the Palestinian people
who aspire to freedom, justice and
independence", the Palestinian news
agency Wafa reported.
e Ponti 's visit had been
anticipated by the Israeli newspaper
Yediot Aharonot, which said Pope
Francis would celebrate a high Mass in
Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of
Jesus. --- AFP
Ponti announces first
visit to Holy Land
US faces -48degC
Two people watch the waves crash in the distance during a winter nor'easter snow storm in Scituate, Massachusetts. A heavy snowstorm and danger-
ously low temperatures gripped the north-eastern United States, delaying ights, paralysing road travel, and closing schools and government o ces
across the region.
An airline pilot has reported a near-
miss with a "rugby ball-shaped" UFO
that passed within a few metres of his
airliner near Heathrow airport.
He told British aviation authorities
investigating the incident last July that
he was certain the object was going to
crash into his aircraft and that he ducked
as it headed towards him.
ey have been unable to establish the
identity of the mysterious craft, which
apparently approached the airliner at
e daylight incident occurred while
the Airbus A320 of an unnamed airline
was cruising at 34,000 feet, about 32km
west of the airport.
e investigators' report states: "He was
under the apprehension that they were
on collision course with no time to react.
His immediate reaction was to duck to
the right and reach over to alert the FO
( rst o cer); there was no time to talk to
It adds: " e captain was fully expecting
to experience some kind of impact with a
con icting aircraft."
He told investigators the object passed
"within a few feet" of the top of the
aircraft and that it was "cigar-rugby
ball-like" in shape, bright silver and
"metallic" in construction. e episode
was examined by the UK Airprox Board,
which studies "near misses" involving
aircraft in British airspace.
It checked data recordings to
establish what aircraft were in the area
but eliminated them all, along with
Military radar operators were also
unable to trace the reported object. --- PA
Millions of people in the United States
are hunkering down in anticipation of
brutal weather from a dangerous Arctic
blast that forecasters warn could send
freezing temperatures plummeting to
e north-east of the country and
parts of Canada have been in the grip
of crippling heavy snow and deadly sub-
zero temperatures since the turn of the
year and the deep freeze is now ripping
through the Mid-west and threatening
usually warmer areas further south.
e wind chill from the rare "polar
vortex" could make it feel as cold as
-48degC in places, weather forecasters
say, prompting authorities in several
towns and cities to issue warnings telling
people to stay indoors and even stock up
In such cold conditions, exposed skin
would su er frostbite in as little as ve
minutes, experts have cautioned.
In New York, which declared a state of
emergency when storm Hercules swept
in on ursday, John F Kennedy Airport
ceased operations for more than two
hours because of freezing rain and snow
after a Delta Airlines jet from Toronto
slid into a snowbank.
At least a dozen people have died in
the cold conditions since the turn of the
year and travel has been badly disrupted,
with thousands of ights canceled or
delayed, ensuring a miserable end to the
holiday season for some.
"Winter Storm Ion is spreading a
swath of heavy snow across the Midwest,
and its icy tentacles will also bring wintry
weather into the south and parts of the
east. Following closely behind Ion will
be a blast of brutally cold air," said e
Weather Channel in its Sunday morning
e Mid-western States of Minnesota,
where Governor Mark Dayton has
already announced schools will be closed
today "to protect all our children from
the dangerously cold temperatures", and
North Dakota were expected to bear the
brunt of the worst weather.
Chicago, Detroit and St Louis all
saw more snowfall overnight, while
today's National Football League
playo showdown between the Green
Bay Packers and the San Francisco
49ers at the open-air Lambeau Field in
Wisconsin looked set to be one of the
coldest NFL games in history.
e Packers say they will help fans
battle the big freeze by handing out free
co ee, hot chocolate and hand warmers,
while supporters would also be allowed
to bring blankets and sleeping bags.
A Bombardier CRJ2 is seen after it skidded o a runway after landing at John F
Kennedy International Airport in this picture provided by NBC.
Plane skids into snowbank
A plane has skidded into a snowbank in
freezing conditions at New York's John
F Kennedy Airport, which temporarily
ceased operations because of the icy
e airport was closed at 8.32am
(3.32am NZT) yesterday after a Delta
Airlines Bombardier CRJ2 aircraft from
Toronto slid into snow on a taxiway,
o cials say.
ere were no injuries to the 35 people
on board, according to ABC News.
international and domestic ights and is
one of the largest in the United States,
reopened shortly before 11am.
Many ights were delayed by nearly
two hours while about 15 ights were
cancelled, according to the air tra c
monitoring website ightaware.com.
ere were also delays at the nearby
LaGuardia and Newark airports.
On Saturday, a small plane made an
emergency landing on a highway in the
Bronx borough of New York, injuring
the pilot and two passengers, as the area
battled a bitter cold snap.
e US is in the midst of a brutal cold
spell that has left at least a dozen people
dead and seen some of the coldest
weather in two decades. --- AFP
Indonesian o cials say they are
yet to perform an autopsy on a
Queensland mother and her teenage
daughter who fell fatally ill while
holidaying in Bali.
But the family has been told toxic
sh may have been the killer.
Noelene Bischo , a senior nurse
from the Sunshine Coast, and her
14-year-old daughter Yvana died in
the early hours of Saturday, less than
a day after they had checked in to
their beachfront resort on Bali's east
Grieving relatives in Australia say
the Department of Foreign A airs
and Trade has told them toxic food
caused the deaths.
"We've been told it is sh they've
eaten," Bischo 's brother-in-law
Kevin Bowe told the ABC.
Noelene's mother Jean told Network
Ten: "It's a blessing to us that they've
been taken together because one
couldn't have coped without the
A school project prepared by Yvana
last year depicts an animal-lover with
"I have one horse and love to ride.
My favourite food is mango or
anything chocolate," she wrote.
"Myhopes. . .Iwanttobean
Local sources told AAP last night
they were yet to con rm a cause
of death as they were still waiting
for permission to proceed with the
Under Indonesian law, an autopsy
can proceed without permission from
However, the sources said a search
of the hotel room where the mother
and daughter were staying had not
revealed any sign of violence.
ey also said investigators had
interviewed witnesses from the hotel,
a clinic and a restaurant in Ubud
where the pair ate dinner.
Padang Bai Beach Resort sta were
alerted early on Saturday morning
when Yvana asked for help, telling
security guards she and her mother
had fallen gravely ill.
e pair were taken by private
ambulance to a nearby medical
centre but about 1.45am local time
the mother died, according to local
e girl was rushed to BIMC
Hospital, an international clinic in
the Balinese capital of Denpasar, but
could not be saved.
Medicine found in the Bischo s'
hotel room is being tested.
One senior local police source said
the treating doctor at the rst clinic
suspected a food allergy.
"What kind of food, we don't know,"
he said then. --- AAP
Mystery over mum, daughter's deaths
Noelene and Yvana Bischo in Bali.
Iraq set to hit
rebel-held city Dhaka
ousands of protesters have
rebombed polling stations and at
least 18 people have been killed as
Bangladesh's ruling Awami League
cruised to victory in an election boycotted
by the opposition.
Police say they opened re at protesters
as they torched more than 200 polling
stations and stole and burnt ballot papers
to try to sabotage the poll.
Two of those killed were beaten to
death while guarding polling stations in
northern districts but most of the victims
were opposition supporters.
e result was not in doubt since 153
Awami League candidates or allies were
declared elected unopposed to the 300-
seat parliament before polling day.
e rst 78 results for the remaining
seats showed the Awami League
winning in 59 constituencies while allied
parties or independents mopped up in
the other 19.
But the opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party said the contest was a
farce and election commission o cials
admitted that turnout was low.
e biggest concern for the government
was the violence which underlined the
deep divisions in a country that only won
its independence in 1971.
Police put the overall death toll at 18
overnight although the opposition says
22 of its supporters have been killed.
"We've seen thousands of protesters
attack polling booths and our personnel
at a number of locations with petrol
bombs," the police chief of the northern
district of Bogra, Syed Abu Sayem, said.
" e situation is extremely volatile," he
added after describing how thousands of
ballot papers had been ceremoniously set
Police in the town of Parbatipur said
they had responded with live re after
thousands of protesters showered them
with crude explosive devices. --- AFP
Iraq is preparing a "major attack" to
retake militant-held Fallujah, a senior
o cial said, spelling a new assault for
the city where United States forces
repeatedly battled insurgents.
Washington said it would help
Baghdad in its battle against al Qaeda-
linked militants but that there would be
no return of US troops.
e takeover of Fallujah and parts of
Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, west of
Baghdad, is the rst time that militants
have exercised such open control in
major cities since the height of the
bloody insurgency that followed the US-
led invasion of 2003.
"Iraqi forces are preparing for a major
attack in Fallujah," a senior Iraqi o cial
Special forces have already conducted
operations inside the city, the o cial
e regular army has paused on the
edge of the city to allow residents time
to leave, awaiting orders to launch "the
attack to crush the terrorists".
Fallujah is in the hands of ghters of
the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq
and the Levant (ISIL), a senior security
o cial said yesterday.
Secretary of State John Kerry said
overnight that the US would provide
assistance to Iraqi forces in their battle
against the militants but that it was
Kerry said Washington was "very, very
concerned" about the resurgence of ISIL
but said it was not contemplating any
return of US ground troops, after their
withdrawal in December 2011.
ISIL is the latest incarnation of al
Qaeda's Iraq a liate and has made a
striking comeback this year. --- AFP
Rumours are ying around the internet
that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
ordered his uncle Jang Song aek and
ve aides executed by being stripped
naked and placed in a cage with 120
starving attack dogs.
It sounds like something out of a
Quentin Tarantino movie, the BBC said.
e Singapore Straits Times quotes
a story in the Chinese Government-
controlled paper Wen Wei Po.
" e horrifying report vividly depicted
the brutality of the young North Korean
leader," Ching Cheong wrote in the
Times. " e fact that it appeared in a
Beijing-controlled newspaper showed
that China no longer cares about its
relations with the Kim regime."
Kim's uncle was the architect of closer
economic ties between China and North
Korea and there is thought to be a lot of
anger about his death.
e Washington Post's Max Fisher
wrote a ve-point takedown of the story
that almost settles the question.
" e fact that the western media have
so widely accepted a story they would
reject if it came out of any other country
tells us a lot about how North Korea is
covered," he writes.
Fisher also said the western media
have an incentive to cover these kind of
bizarre stories, as they generate attention.
"But there are ve big reasons that this
story does not seem plausible."
He wrote that a study found that, out
of Hong Kong's 21 newspapers, Wen
Wei Po ranked 19th for credibility.
It would make things easier, writes
(United States) Slate magazine's
Joshua Keating, if the North Korean
Government commented publicly on
"So given the internet's insatiable
appetite for weird North Korea stories,
it becomes a bit of a free-for-all," he
" e North Korean Government does
so many bizarre things we can con rm
that a few of these dubious rumours
must surely be true, right?" --- AP
Zimbabwe plans to
import 150,000 tonnes of
maize from its neighbour
South Africa as it faces its
worst food shortages in
four years due to drought
and a poor harvest last
year, state media reported
at the weekend.
e United Nations
World Food Programme
has since October
been working with
the government and
organisations to provide
food assistance to about
a fth of Zimbabwe's
13 million people until
the next crop harvest in
March or April.
e South African
imports will add to
another 150,000 tonnes
ordered from Zambia,
minister David Marapira
told the government-
newspaper. He was not
immediately available for
Marapira told the paper
Zimbabwe only had
30,000 tonnes of maize in
its strategic grain reserve.
e country requires
about two million tonnes
e southern African
State has grappled
with perennial seed
and fertiliser shortages,
with bad weather now
worsening the situation.
Mugabe, re-elected last
July in an election rejected
as a fraud by his main
rival, told a conference of
his ZANU-PF party last
month that some children
had dropped out of school
in rural Zimbabwe due to
hunger. --- Reuters
Death by dogs disputed
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