Pope Francis creates 20 new cardinals with power to choose papal successors

Agencies
August 28, 2022

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Vatican City, Aug 28: Pope Francis on Saturday created 20 new cardinals picked from the four corners of the world, most of whom could one day end up choosing his successor.

Francis has raised the possibility of retiring due to his declining health, a path taken by his predecessor Benedict XVI. If he were to do so, a conclave involving all cardinals aged under 80 would be called to pick a successor.

Sixteen of the 20 cardinals created Saturday would be eligible for that conclave based on their ages.

The ceremony at St Peter's Basilica was the 85-year-old pope's eighth since being elected in 2013 and included clergy known for their pastoral work and, in some cases, progressive views.

All parts of the globe were represented in his selection, including new cardinals from Brazil and Nigeria, Singapore and East Timor, among others.

They each knelt before the pontiff, who presented them with the red square cap and ring typical of their new station.

"A cardinal loves the Church... by dealing with the big issues as well as the small ones, by meeting the great people of this world as well as the smallest, who are great before God," said the pope, who arrived in a wheelchair but seemed in good shape.

All new cardinals attended the ceremony, except for Ghana's Richard Kuuia Baawobr who had to be hospitalised over a cardiac issue.

After this weekend, Francis will have chosen 83 out of the 132 cardinals currently qualified to elect a new pope.

That is nearly two-thirds of the total and precisely the percentage needed for any proposed name to pass.

In recent months, the pope has been forced to rely on a wheelchair due to knee pain, which he has said is inoperable.

He also suffers from sciatica, a chronic nerve condition that causes pain in his hip.

The new cardinals are always scrutinised by Vatican observers for clues as to the future direction of the Church and its 1.3 billion faithful.

Experts caution, however, that cardinals named by one pope do not necessarily choose successors in their likeness.

The Argentine pontiff has this year completed a major shake-up of the Vatican's powerful governing body, the Roman Curia, which makes winning new converts a priority.

In keeping with his focus on making the Church more inclusive, transparent and responsive to the needs of the poor and marginalised, Francis has chosen two Africans and five Asians, including two cardinals who hail from India.

Vatican expert Bernard Lecomte told AFP the pope's choices are "representative of the Church today, with a large spot for the southern hemisphere", where 80 percent of the world's Catholics live.

Virgilio Do Carmo Da Silva, the archbishop of Dili, will on Saturday become the first cardinal of tiny East Timor, an overwhelmingly Catholic nation in Southeast Asia.

The pope has also felt free to bypass the archbishops of major cities to choose those from less powerful seats, such as Robert McElroy, the 68-year-old bishop of San Diego, California.

McElroy has supported gay Catholics and criticised moves to deny Communion to US politicians -- like President Joe Biden -- who support abortion.

The pope will also create the youngest cardinal in the world, 48-year-old Italian missionary Giorgio Marengo, who works in Mongolia.

The new crop of cardinals also includes Nigeria's Peter Okpaleke, the bishop of Ekwulobia, and Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, archbishop of Manaus, Brazil.

The 80-year-old bishop emeritus of Ghent, Lucas Van Looy, had been nominated but asked to be exempted following criticism of his handling of child sexual abuse by priests in Belgium.

Saturday's ceremony at the Vatican will be followed by the traditional "courtesy visit," in which the general public is invited to greet the new cardinals. 

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News Network
January 27,2023

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Manglauru, Jan 27: Two dogs of Belgian Malinois breed joined the canine squad of CISF that overlooks the security of the Mangaluru International Airport (MIA). Max and Ranger are the two dogs that joined the CISF canine squad.

Max stood first and Ranger was second in the training that was held at the dog breeding and training centre of CISF at Taralu in Bengaluru, a release from the MIA here said.

The dogs were welcomed in a grand manner by the Airport Security Guards (ASG) wing of CISF.

The guards also gave a demonstration about defence tactics. Kishore Alva, executive director (projects and corporate business) was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

Chief officer of airport security Kishore Kumar and others were present.

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News Network
January 30,2023

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Dubai/Washington, Jan 30: Israel appears to have been behind an overnight drone attack on a military factory in Iran, a US official said on Sunday.

Iran claimed to have intercepted drones that struck a military industry target near the central city of Isfahan, and said there were no casualties or serious damage.

The extent of damage could not be independently ascertained. Iranian state media released footage showing a flash in the sky and emergency vehicles at the scene.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military declined to comment. Arch-foe Israel has long said it is willing to strike Iranian targets if diplomacy fails to curb Tehran’s nuclear or missile programs, but it has a policy of withholding comment on specific incidents.

Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said no US military forces were involved in strikes in Iran, but declined to comment further.

That US officials were pointing to an Israeli role in the attack was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, citing several unidentified sources. One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters it did appear that Israel was involved. Several other US officials declined to comment, beyond saying that Washington played no role.

Tehran did not formally ascribe blame for what Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian called a “cowardly” attack aimed at creating “insecurity” in Iran. But state TV broadcast comments by a lawmaker, Hossein Mirzaie, saying there was “strong speculation” Israel was behind it.

The attack came amid tension between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear activity and its supply of arms — including long-range “suicide drones” — for Russia’s war in Ukraine, as well as months of anti-government demonstrations at home.

The extent of the damage could not be independently confirmed. Iran’s Defense Ministry said the explosion caused only minor damage and no casualties.

“Such actions will not impact our experts’ determination to progress in our peaceful nuclear work,” Amirabdollahian told reporters in televised remarks.

An Israeli strike on Iran would be the first under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since he returned to office last month at the helm of the most right-wing government in Israeli history.

In Ukraine, which accuses Iran of supplying hundreds of drones to Russia to attack civilian targets in Ukrainian cities far from the front, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky linked the incident directly to the war there.

“Explosive night in Iran,” Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. “Did warn you.”

Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but says they were sent before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Moscow denies its forces use Iranian drones in Ukraine, although many have been shot down and recovered there.

“Minor damage”

“Around 23:30 (2000 GMT) on Saturday night, an unsuccessful attack was carried out using micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) on one of the ministry’s workshop sites,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement carried by state TV.

It said one drone was shot down “and the other two were caught in defense traps and blew up. It caused only minor damage to the roof of a workshop building. There were no casualties.”

A military official in the region said given the location of the strike in central Iran and the size of the drones, it was likely that the attack was staged from within Iran’s borders.

Separately, IRNA reported early on Sunday a massive fire at a motor oil factory in an industrial zone near the northwestern city of Tabriz. It later said oil leakage caused that blaze, citing a local official.

Iran has accused Israel in the past of planning attacks using agents inside Iranian territory. In July, Tehran said it had arrested a sabotage team made up of Kurdish militants working for Israel who planned to blow up a “sensitive” defense industry center in Isfahan.

Several Iranian nuclear sites are located in Isfahan province, including Natanz, centerpiece of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, which Iran accuses Israel of sabotaging in 2021. There have been a number of explosions and fires around Iranian military, nuclear and industrial sites in recent years.

Talks between Iran and world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal have stalled since September. Under the pact, abandoned by Washington in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, Tehran agreed to limit nuclear work in return for easing of sanctions.

Iran’s clerical rulers have also faced internal turmoil in recent months, with a crackdown on widespread anti-establishment demonstrations spurred by the death in custody of a woman held for allegedly violating its strict Islamic dress code.

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News Network
January 27,2023

Raichur: A 37-year-old staff nurse of the government hospital died of heart attack while performing a dance during the Republic Day function at Sindhanur taluk stadium on Thursday.

Mahantesh Pujar, a staffer at ART centre in the taluk hospital, collapsed while performing Kolata (a traditional folk dance of the state) at the 74th Republic Day programme. 

Sindhanur CMC commissioner Manjunath Gundur rushed Pujar to the hospital in his car. Pujar was declared dead upon arrival by the doctors.

Pujar is survived by his wife and three daughters. His final rites were performed at his native Diddagi village in the taluk on Thursday evening.

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