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Pope praises ‘wise, tender’ Benedict at solemn burial (Video)

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Pope Francis has joined pilgrims in St Peter’s Square to preside over the funeral of his predecessor, who resigned from the papacy in 2013.

The dome of St Peter’s basilica at the Vatican was shrouded in mist as the cypress-wood coffin containing Pope Benedict XVI’s body was brought out and placed on the steps.

There was applause from the faithful who had gathered for the funeral.

Benedict was then interred in a tomb beneath the basilica.

Clergy from around the world had come – cardinals in red vestments, nuns and monks in their dark robes.

Pope Francis was brought out onto the dais in a wheelchair.

Latin chants sung by the Sistine Chapel choir echoed across the square. The mood was solemn and subdued.

(BBC News)

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China’s lunar probe lands back on Earth

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China’s lunar probe landed back on Earth, after a nearly two-month long mission.

The Chang’e-6 landed in the Inner Mongolia desert on Tuesday, carrying the first ever samples from the Moon’s unexplored far side.

China is the only country to have landed on the far side of the Moon, having done so before in 2019.

Scientists are eagerly awaiting as the samples could answer key questions about how planets are formed.

(BBC News)

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Wikileaks founder leaves UK after being freed in US plea deal

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has left the UK after agreeing a US plea deal that will see him plead guilty to criminal charges and go free.
Assange was charged with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information.

He spent the last five years in a British prison, from where he was fighting extradition to the US.

Assange will spend no time in US custody and will receive credit for the time spent incarcerated in the UK.

The plea deal is expected to be finalised in a court in the Northern Mariana Islands on Wednesday.

He is expected to return to Australia according to the US justice department.

(BBC News)

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Stonehenge orange powder paint removed

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The orange powder paint sprayed onto Britain’s most famous prehistoric structure, Stonehenge, by environmental protesters on Wednesday has been removed, leaving “no visible damage,” according to the organization that manages the site.“Thankfully, there appears to be no visible damage but that’s in no way saying there hasn’t been harm, from the very act of having to clean the stones to the distress caused to those for whom Stonehenge holds a spiritual significance,” said English Heritage chief executive Nick Merriman in a statement to CNN Thursday.

He confirmed that the site is open to the public and that summer solstice celebrations, which are expected to attract huge crowds, will go ahead as normal.

A video posted on X by Just Stop Oil on Wednesday showed two of the group’s activists spraying the landmark using fire extinguishers.

“The Just Stop Oil protestors demanded the incoming government sign up to a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030,” the group posted on X.

The action took place around 12 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET) at the ancient site near Salisbury in the southwest of England, Wiltshire Police said in a statement.

The two activists “were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, damaging an ancient monument and deterring a person from engaging in a lawful activity,” police said in a statement Thursday.

The pair have been released on bail pending further enquiries, police said.

The official Stonehenge X account described the incident as “extremely upsetting.”

“Orange powdered paint has been thrown at a number of the stones at Stonehenge. Obviously, this is extremely upsetting and our curators are investigating the extent of the damage,” the post said.

The protesters were a 21-year-old student from Oxford and a 73-year-old man from Birmingham, Just Stop Oil said in a press release.

In anticipation of people meeting at Stonehenge on Thursday to mark the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day of sunlight, English Heritage published “conditions of entry.”

“Stonehenge is a World Heritage Site, a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is seen by many as a sacred place. We ask that all those attending respect it and those celebrating around it,” the website said.

Responding to the incident on X, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wrote: “Just Stop Oil are a disgrace.”

On Thursday, two more activists from the group caused a scene at London’s Stansted Airport after they sprayed orange paint on two private jets on the runway where Taylor Swift’s private jet is suspected to have landed.

The pop star is in London on her Eras world tour and is set to play three shows in London this weekend.

Just Stop Oil posted videos on their social media channels showing two activists breaking into the airfield, cutting into the fence and spraying orange paint on the aircraft.

The same group made headlines last month when two protesters smashed the glass protecting the Magna Carta, a famous British manuscript from the 13th century, at the British Museum in London.

Climate activists have been staging increasingly high-profile protests, many of which have involved attacking high-value artworks including the Mona Lisa and Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.”

(CNN)

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