Midday Roundup: Francis urges faithful to consider the least of these
Newsworthy | Leigh Jones
Pope installed. Foreign dignitaries joined 200,000 people who gathered in St. Peter’s Square this morning for Pope Francis’ official installation. During his inaugural mass, Francis urged the faithful to stay true to the Catholic Church’s mission, which “means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about.” The homily touched on themes represented by St. Francis of Assisi—poverty, simplicity, charity and love of nature—from whom the new pope took his name. The new pope is known for his strong stance against abortion and same-sex “marriage.”
Military training deaths. An explosion at a Nevada training center late Monday killed seven Marines and injured seven others. A defense official said a misfired mortar round caused the explosion, but military sources have not confirmed that claim. Hawthorne Army Depot, about 140 miles southeast of Reno, stores ammunition no longer in use and also serves as a training ground for Special Operations forces preparing for deployment to the Middle East.
Chemical attack? The Syrian government claimed early today that rebel forces used chemical weapons in an attack near Aleppo. But rebel officials, who just chose a prime minister to oversee areas no longer under government control, say President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are responsible for launching the Scud missile. Initial reports say 25 people died in the attack. But U.S. officials said they had no evidence of a chemical attack, raising questions about both sides’ claims. Syria is thought to have one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, and analysts have long feared the bombs would eventually make an appearance in the civil war.
Bailout rejection. Cypriot lawmakers appear ready to reject European Union demands the county levy a tax on bank deposits in order to secure a $13 billion bailout. Although the island nation faces bankruptcy and ejection from the eurozone without the bailout, President Nicos Anastasiades said he expected EU negotiators to come back to the negotiating table before taking any drastic measures. Critics from around the world have blasted the plan, which initially called for a one-time tax of 6.75 percent on deposits totaling less than €100,000 and a 10 percent tax on larger deposits.
Attack averted. Officials at the University of Central Florida credit a quick response from campus police for averting a bloodbath Monday. Officers responding to a 911 call about a student with a gun found a bomb, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and several weapons in James Oliver Seevakumaran’s dorm room. The 30-year-old student, whose roommate called police, shot himself as officers converged on the room. Officials say they think Seevakumaran planned an attack that could have killed dozens of his fellow students.
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