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Pope Francis to have abdominal surgery

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Pope Francis will have surgery on his abdomen on Wednesday afternoon at Rome’s Gemelli hospital.

He is expected to stay in hospital for “several days” to recover from the hernia operation, the Vatican said.

The hernia is “causing recurrent, painful and worsening” symptoms, added Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.

The 86-year-old has faced a series of health issues in recent years, and uses a cane and a wheelchair due to a persistent knee ailment.

In a statement, the Vatican said the pontiff’s medical team had decided in recent days that surgery was needed.

“In the early afternoon he will undergo a laparotomy and abdominal wall surgery… under general anaesthesia,” said Mr Bruni.

He added: “The stay at the health facility will last several days to allow the normal post-operative course and full functional recovery.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Pope Francis carried out his weekly audience as normal and didn’t mention his planned operation.

The day before, the Pope was at the same Rome hospital for a scheduled check-up, months after he was taken to hospital with bronchitis.

He spent three days in hospital in March to treat a lung infection, in the same month that he marked the 10th anniversary of his pontificate.

In 2021, Pope Francis spent 10 days in hospital after having a part of his colon removed, in a bid to address a painful bowel condition. He recently revealed that the complaint had returned.

Last month, Phe pulled out of his Friday audiences due to a fever.

But while his predecessor Benedict XVI quit in 2013, the Pope has dismissed the possibility of leaving office too.

“You don’t run the Church with a knee but with a head,” he is said to have told an aide last year.

The Pope is considered to have been in general good health during his decade leading the Catholic Church

He continues to maintain a busy schedule, and is due to visit Portugal and Mongolia from August.

(BBC News)

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Indian elections begin

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Indians begin voting today to choose their next parliament in the first of seven voting days that end on June 01.
Almost a billion people are eligible to cast their ballot.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aiming for a rare third consecutive term in power.

Several key opposition parties, including the Congress, have formed an alliance in many states to take on Mr Modi’s party.

The big issues include a jobs crisis, rising prices, a crackdown on dissent and the opposition, and the politics of religion.

Results will be announced on June 04.

(BBC News)

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Flights at Dubai airport diverted amid flash floods

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Heavy rain has battered some Gulf states, causing flash flooding across the region and leading to flights to the world’s busiest international airport being diverted.

Dubai Airport said operations were “temporarily diverted” – though they have since restarted.

Authorities in Oman said at least 18 people had been killed by floods.

Several states recorded nearly a year’s worth of rain in a day.

Unverified video from Dubai International Airport appeared to show jets leaving waves in their wake as they made their way down flooded runways.

In a statement, the airport said inbound flights due to arrive on Tuesday evening had been diverted “due to the continued exceptional weather event currently being experienced in the UAE”.

Departures would continue to operate, it added. Flights later restarted after an interruption of about two hours.

On Tuesday morning, the UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology issued a weather warning for large swathes of the country, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

The Gulf region is usually known for hot and dry weather, though heavy rains causing flooding have also occurred with greater regularity in recent years.

(BBC News)

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Sydney church stabbing treated as ‘terrorist act’

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Australian police have declared Monday’s stabbing at a church in Sydney a “terrorist act”.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested after a bishop and several churchgoers were stabbed during the sermon.

The incident happened in the evening at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley.

At least four people were stabbed but police say none of their injuries were life-threatening. The incident triggered unrest.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the church, clashing with police – two of whom were injured.

Twenty police vehicles were damaged – with 10 left unusable.

Chief commissioner Karen Webb said those involved in the riots would be hunted by police, describing the actions as “unacceptable”.

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns said: “I convened a meeting of faith leaders representing major religious organisations across Western Sydney.

“And their message to their communities was universal and identical, and that is that they deplore violence in all forms that they have faith in the New South Wales police to undertake their investigation.

“They call for peace amongst all communities in Sydney, and most importantly, that people remain calm during this obviously distressing period.”

Paramedics had to retreat for cover in the church and were “holed up” there for more than three hours.’

(BBC News)

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