Voices from Russia

Friday, 15 February 2013

Conclave to Elect New Pope of Rome Scheduled for 15 March

01 Rome-Italy-Vatican-Giampaolo-Macorig

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A source in the Vatican informed VOR that the conclave to elect the next Pope of Rome would open on 15 March. It would last for at least two weeks. On 28 February, the day of Pope Benedict’s resignation, 117 cardinals would be eligible to elect the successor to the Holy See. All the cardinals who’re under 80 would come to Rome to participate in the conclave. Pope Benedict himself appointed 67 of the 117 cardinal-electors. Such a decision might be made to allow the future Pope to better prepare for the celebration of Easter. Benedict said that he made his decision because he doesn’t have the energy to lead the Roman Catholic Church effectively.

On Wednesday, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said that the conclave of cardinals to elect a new pope after Benedict XVI steps down later this month would be held from 15 March, stating, “The beginning of the conclave can’t be before 15 March. We have to expect a conclave starting on the 15th, 16th, 17th 18th or 19th”.

The Vatican said that Archbishop Georg Gänswein, his personal secretary, would accompany Pope Benedict XVI after his retirement scheduled for 28 February. After retiring on 28 February, Benedict will stay at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome before moving to a monastery inside Vatican City that’s currently being renovated. Four nuns will have access to the monastery. Earlier, Benedict told the cardinals that he would like to live modestly, out of the public eye. On Monday, Benedict became the first pope in modern history to resign voluntarily.

Pope Benedict will live in spiritual isolation, away from public sight, after his resignation on 28 February. On Thursday, he told priests from the Diocese of Rome, in his capacity as bishop of the Italian capital, “Even if I’m withdrawing into prayer, I’ll always be close to all of you, and I’m sure that you’ll be close to me, even if I remain hidden to the world”. Earlier, the Pope served his last mass to celebrate Ash Wednesday.

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his last scheduled public Mass following his resignation. The service was for Ash Wednesday; it was in St Peter’s Basilica. Looking tired, the 85-year-old pontiff anointed the foreheads of the faithful with ashes in a service attended by cardinals, bishops, monks, friars, and pilgrims. Wearing purple vestments, he referred to his resignation in his homily, asking for the prayers of the faithful. Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, the most solemn season in the Church calendar that ends with Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Earlier, crowds cheered the Pope as he entered and began speaking at his weekly general audience at its traditional venue, the audience hall in the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance today after announcing his resignation Monday. The Pontiff showed up in the Vatican on Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of the forty days of Lent. The Pope will serve a mass later in the day. On Monday, Benedict, 85, announced his resignation due to insufficient energy. In March, a secret conclave of cardinals in Rome will chose a new Pope of Rome.

Thousands of believers are heading for the Vatican to attend the last mass by Pope Benedict XVI. He is due to appear in public for the first time since his abdication. Originally, the mass was to be in a small Roman church, but according to a later decision, it will be in St Peter’s Basilica, the biggest building in the Vatican. Believers are discussing the events that followed the Pope’s statement on his resignation. A thunderbolt erupted over the city, and lightning struck St Peter’s Basilica. The Pope said he’d step down on 28 February for reasons of poor health. Benedict’s decision struck everyone as sensational, since it is very rare that Roman Catholic Popes abdicate. The last time a Pope voluntarily gave up the Holy See was 600 years ago.

15 February 2013

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_02_15/Conclave-to-elect-Pope-scheduled-for-March-15/

Editor’s Note:

Things ARE getting “curiouser and curiouser”, as Alice put it. Someone (or many “someones”) are very anxious to get the conclave over and done QUICKLY. They’re not waiting for Easter (as they normally would). Why? No one knows that… and it’s the key to the whole puzzle…

BMD

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Russia to Grant One-Year Refuge to Afghan Girl Who Converted from Islam to Christianity

01 Ted Rall Afghanistan illusions

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Lilia Aristova, deputy chief of the Russian immigration service, told VOR that Russia would grant temporary asylum to Ruya Ivaz Ali, 19. According to Ms Aristova, Ruya lodged a claim for asylum with the Russian authorities. The Russian immigration service agreed to give her shelter considering the gravity of her situation. The 19-year-old has no family in Russia and can’t return to Afghanistan. Ms Aristova told VOR that a temporary asylum in Russia would be a humane way out for the girl. She emphasised that Russia couldn’t repatriate the girl without parental oversight, although she was no longer a minor. Ms Aristova said this was a rather uncommon case. The Afghan refugee will stay in Russia for a year.

Russia agreed to give temporary asylum to a young Afghan woman who converted from Islam to Christianity. Earlier, Russian media reported that Ruya Ivaz Ali came to Russia from Afghanistan through Tajikistan with her family in 2011, after her father pled for Russian asylum in August 2010. The Russian government denied his request because the Afghan authorities didn’t threaten him nor the members of his family were with political, religious, or ethnic persecution. A source with the Russian immigration service said that the reasons they fled Afghanistan were clearly of a personal nature. According to the source, Ruya Ivaz Ali and her family used false names in their applications for refugee status. Ruya Ivaz Ali said she wanted to become a Russian citizen.

15 February 2013

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_02_14/Russia-to-grant-one-year-refuge-to-Afghan-girl/

Editor’s Note:

The REAL reason why the earlier request was denied was, probably, due to American objections. Now, that’s moot with the meltdown in relations. The USA no longer has any cred in Russia… not after all its interference and blustering. Look for the Church to throw its mantle over this girl. She’s not going back to be murdered by the Taliban Lite Islamist thugocracy propped up by the Americans. That’s what America supports throughout the world… Third World dictatorships that allow American corporations to rape their workers and steal their natural resources. If that’s a “City upon a Hill”, I’d rather live next to Shit Brook… it’s cleaner, healthier, and more god-pleasing.

BMD

15 February 2013. Sergei Yolkin’s World. 14 February… A Problematic Holiday, They Say…

00 Sergei Yolkin. 14 February... A Problematic Holiday, They Say... 2013

14 February… A Problematic Holiday, They Say…

Sergei Yolkin

2013

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The RIA translator screws up again, sticking their foot full-force in a BIG steaming cow pat. The title chosen by Yolkin isn’t “Happy St Valentine’s Day”… it’s a rather more nuanced and puckish observation, full of worldly-wise experience, which the translator guts and trashes out of all recognition, making Yolkin look treacly and saccharine, which he wasn’t. In any case, he didn’t use the word “love”…nor should we (he was describing a rather more modest emotion, I’d say). Seen in the light of Yolkin’s original title, the caricature’s meaning becomes, “You can’t force love, no matter how hard you try”. It’s a bittersweet (a bit rueful, a bit cynical, a bit c’est la vie) comment on human love, and the translator trashes it. This translator STINKS to high heaven…

BMD

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Its origins steeped in legend, 14 February is celebrated as St Valentine’s Day. It celebrates love and affection, it’s named after an early Christian martyr, St Valentine. On this day, lovers traditionally present each other with flowers, candy, and send greeting cards known as “valentines”.

14 February 2013

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://ria.ru/caricature/20130214/922882415.html

http://en.rian.ru/cartoons/20130214/179462956/Happy-St-Valentines-Day.html

Some 400 Injured in Russian Meteor Shower

00 Meteorite Strike. Chelyabinsk. Russia. 15.02.13

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The MVD reported that more than 150 people sought medical help in one of three Russian oblasts hit by a meteorite shower on Friday. It said that dozens of people suffered cuts from broken glass as the meteorites smashed windows in numerous buildings across the Chelyabinsk Oblast, but “no-one suffered serious injuries”. On Friday, Russian government officials confirmed that the meteorite shower hit three oblasts of Russia and Kazakhstan. The police are searching for the fallen meteorite pieces and protecting affected buildings from looting. Reports are inconclusive about whether one large meteorite or several smaller ones caused the incident. Residents of three villages in Sverdlovsk Oblast reported witnessing the shower, but nobody there was injured.

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The hail of meteor pieces that hit Russia on Friday fell in an area with a cluster of major nuclear facilities, including the largest Russian nuclear fuel-processing plant, but officials said early on that none suffered any damage and that they detected no radioactive contamination. In a statement released within hours of the strike, which damaged factories, schools, and residential buildings, Rosatom, the state nuclear agency, said, “All of Rosatom’s facilities in the Urals region are working normally. They’ve suffered no consequences from the meteorite shower”. The most well-known facility in the area, located in hard-hit Chelyabinsk Oblast, is the Mayak nuclear-fuel processing plant, where a major accident in 1957 caused some of the worst nuclear contamination in the USSR’s history, second, perhaps, only to the infamous Chernobyl reactor accident. Local officials said that they had noticed no contamination there.

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The MVD reported that the number of people who sought medical help across three Russian oblasts hit by a meteorite shower on Friday climbed to over 400. Officials said that hundreds suffered cuts from broken glass as the meteorites smashed windows in numerous buildings across Chelyabinsk Oblast. An MVD spokesman said, “The condition of at least three [people] is considered serious”. The shower hit at least six cities in three centrally-located Russian oblasts. On Friday, Russian government officials confirmed that the shower also affected some areas of neighbouring Kazakhstan.

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On Friday morning, Russian officials said that falling meteorite particles and the shock waves and sonic booms caused by them damaged buildings across Chelyabinsk Oblast. The MVD reported that a roof and wall partly collapsed at a zinc factory in Chelyabinsk Oblast after a shock wave from a meteorite struck it. The officials didn’t specify which factory it was. In an online statement, the oblast authorities said that the factory continued working normally despite the damage. South Ural State University cancelled classes for at least two days due to damage to its buildings. A university spokesman told RIA-Novosti, “The roof didn’t collapse, but the damage is quite significant. The windows are broken; some of them were blown in with their frames”. She also added that some ceiling tiles also fell down. EMERCOM reported that windows were also broken at least a dozen schools and three hospitals. The roof of a Chelyabinsk ice rink also suffered damage.

Chelyabinsk municipal authorities reported that at least 454 residential buildings had their gas supply cut off in central Chelyabinsk as of 16.30 local time Friday afternoon after protective safety systems were activated, but they reported no damage to gas pipelines. Energy supplier Inter RAO reported that the Yuzhnouralskaya district power station had 10 percent of its windows broken, but there was no effect on its operations. Rosatom, the state nuclear agency, said that its facilities across the affected regions were functioning normally. The Defence Ministry also said that none of its property was damaged. In Chelyabinsk Oblast alone, hundreds of people were injured, mainly due to cuts from flying glass. People in at least three Russian oblasts (Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk, and Tyumen), as well as those in the northern area of neighbouring Kazakhstan, witnessed the meteorite shower early on Friday morning.

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Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor Mikhail Yurevich said in a statement posted on his website that a meteorite that injured scores of people in central Russia when it fell to earth early on Friday plunged into a lake in the Chelyabinsk Oblast, noting, “The meteorite that passed over Chelyabinsk Oblast fell into a body of water 1 kilometre (2/3 mile) from the city of Chebarkul”. Almost 500 people were injured when fragments from what EMERCOM said was a single meteorite fell across central Russia. Most people were hurt by shattering glass. Five people are in hospital, an MVD spokesman described the condition of three of them as “serious”. Roscosmos confirmed that the object was a meteorite and said that it was moving at “around 30 kilometres per second (108,000 kph/18.6 miles per second/67,100 mph) at a low trajectory”.

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The European Space Agency (ESA) said that the meteorite that hit the Urals on Friday morning was not debris from the 2012 DA14 asteroid, which is due to pass close by the Earth later the same day. ESA said on its official Twitter that its experts confirmed that there’s no link between the meteorite and the asteroid, but provided no details of its analysis. The 2012 DA14, which is roughly 50 metres (165 feet) in diameter, will pass 27,000 kilometres (16,800 miles) from Earth… closer than satellites in geosynchronous orbit, which is 36,000 kilometres (22,400 miles). The 2012 DA14 flyby will take place at 19.24 UTC (11.24 PST 14.24 EST 23.24 MSK 06.24 16 February AEST), about 16 hours after the meteorite incident in Chelyabinsk Oblast which left at least 400 injured, mostly from glass broken by the shock wave as the meteorite flew past. Numerous media reports linked the asteroid to the meteor. Tatiana Bordovitsina, an astronomy professor at Tomsk State University in western Siberia, told RIA-Novosti two hours before the ESA statement that the meteorite could’ve been debris preceding the asteroid, but she said that we needed a more thorough examination of the incident. NASA confirmed that 2012 DA14 isn’t on a collision course with the planet, but said that if the asteroid hit the Earth, the resulting explosion would be 1,000 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb that obliterated Hiroshima in 1945.

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On Friday, health officials confirmed that a hail of meteorite fragments injured hundreds of people in central Russia. Various officials said that as of mid-day MSK, as many as 725 people, including up to 159 children, sought medical assistance in hard-hit Chelyabinsk Oblast because of the strikes. Figures on hospitalisation in the oblast varied significantly, from 34 to 112, with several reported to be in “serious” condition. Most people were hurt by shattering glass. President Vladimir Putin ordered EMERCOM officials to provide “immediate” assistance to the people affected by the meteorite. Gas supplies were cut off to hundreds of homes in Chelyabinsk as a safety precaution, and some 3,000 buildings were reported to have been damaged. The government mobilised an estimated 20,000 emergency response workers. Reportedly, background radiation levels remain unchanged. Both EMERCOM and Rosatom confirmed this, as the area has a fair number of nuclear facilities.

Reports about whether this was one large meteorite or many smaller ones initially varied, but Roscosmos confirmed by early afternoon that the object was a single meteorite, a report given earlier by EMERCOM. Yelena Smirnykh, deputy head of the EMERCOM press office, said, “Verified information indicates that this was one meteorite, which burned up as it approached Earth and disintegrated into smaller pieces”. Roscosmos stated that the meteorite fragments were moving at a speed of 30 kilometres per second.

A teacher in Chelyabinsk Oblast told RIA-Novosti, “All the city’s residents saw blinding flashes, very bright ones. Suddenly, it was very, very horribly bright. Not like the lights got turned on, but as if everything was illuminated with unusual white light”. Officials are trying to determine where the fragments landed. The governor of Chelyabinsk Oblast said that one had fallen in a lake in his oblast, whilst others were reported in Tyumen, Kurgan, and Sverdlovsk Oblasts as well. Police said an eight-metre-wide (26-feet-wide) crater was discovered near the Chelyabinsk lake. They reported that the radiation levels around the crater were normal.

Emergency officials in west Kazakhstan said that they were searching for two unidentified objects that fell in Aktobe Oblast. The European Space Agency (ESA) said that there was no link between the meteorite and the DA14 asteroid, which is due to pass close by the Earth later on Friday. NASA also said that there was no connection because the asteroid and the “Russian meteorite” are on “very different paths”. Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, speaking at an economic forum in Krasnoyarsk Krai in Siberia, called the meteorite “a symbol of the forum”, saying, “I hope that there’ll be no serious consequences, but it’s a demonstration that it isn’t only the economy that’s vulnerable, but our planet as well”.

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On Friday, nationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky, long known for his flamboyance and outrageous remarks, said that meteorite fragments hadn’t rained down on Russia in the morning, but that the light flashes and tremors in several oblasts resulted from American weapons tests. Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, told journalists several hours after EMERCOM began issuing statements on the incident, which injured hundreds and damaged scores of buildings, “Those aren’t meteors falling, it’s the Americans testing new weapons”. He also said that US Secretary of State John Kerry wanted to warn Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the “provocation” on Monday, but couldn’t reach him… a reference to US State Department comments earlier this week that Kerry had spent several days trying to speak to Lavrov by phone to discuss North Korea and Syria. Zhirinovsky went on to say, “Outer space has its own laws. Nothing will ever fall out there. If [something] falls, it’s people doing that. People who’re instigators of wars, provocateurs”.

NB:

Click here and here for a video; click here for a photo gallery

15 February 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/science/20130215/179481989/Meteors-Injure-Over-150-in-Chelyabinsk-Region.html

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20130215/179483089/Russian-Nuclear-Sites-Unharmed-by-Meteors–Atomic-Agency.html

http://en.rian.ru/science/20130215/179483483/Some-400-Injured-in-Russian-Meteor-Shower.html

http://en.rian.ru/science/20130215/179484907/Russian-Meteor-Leaves-Trail-of-Damage-Across-Region.html

http://en.rian.ru/science/20130215/179484346/Russia-Meteorite-Fell-in-Lake–Regional-Governor.html

http://en.rian.ru/world/20130215/179485761/Russian-Meteorite-Not-Asteroid-Debris–Space-Agency.html

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20130215/179481049/Meteorite-Shower-Hits-Russia-Kazakhstan.html

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20130215/179489080/Russian-Politician-Denies-Meteorite-Claims-US-Weapons-Tests.html

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