Pope leads 90-minute Mass
Looking tired but relaxed, Pope Francis led his first major public ceremony Sunday after a series of canceled appointments for health problems. Francis appeared to hold up well during the more than 90-minute Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to honor Saints Peter and Paul. The Vatican played down the previous cancellations, including one at the last-minute on Friday because 77-year-old Francis had an unspecified “mild” health problem. Francis, often laughing or smiling, chatted with each of the 24 archbishops kneeling before him to receive a white woolen band symbolizing shared episcopal power. An hour after the ceremony, he appeared to people in St. Peter’s Square from an Apostolic Palace window.
Voters support say on future
An informal referendum aimed at bolstering support for greater democracy in Hong Kong wound down Sunday after drawing nearly 800,000 votes and the ire of Beijing, China, which denounced it as a political farce. Hong Kong citizens used the straw poll to express their desire for greater say in choosing their leader. The vote is part of a campaign by activists in the southern Chinese city to ratchet up the pressure on authorities for democratic reform that could ultimately lead to a mass protest paralyzing the city’s financial district. Hong Kong, a freewheeling capitalist enclave of 7.2 million, passed from British to Chinese control in 1997 with the promise that it could retain a high degree of control over its own affairs under the principle of “one country, two systems.”
Murder trial resumes today
The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius resumes today after one month during which mental health experts evaluated the athlete to determine if he has an anxiety disorder that could have influenced his actions on the night he allegedly killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to receive the conclusions of a panel of one psychologist and three psychiatrists who were instructed to assess whether the double-amputee runner was capable of understanding the wrongfulness of his act when he allegedly shot Steenkamp through a closed toilet door in his home on Valentine’s Day last year.
Restrictions on sermons
Egypt will restrict sermons during the holy month of Ramadan to topics of faith and morality, the state said Sunday, in the latest measure by the government to control mosques and limit access of opponents to them. The announcement is another move by authorities against supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Compiled from wire reports