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DECEMBER 23 , 2016

The World Pope in Christmas speech blasts Vatican resistance to bureaucratic reform A SSOCIATED P RESS

vatican city — Pope Francis on Thursday denounced the resistance he is encountering in reforming the Vatican bureaucracy, saying that some of it is inspired by the devil and that the prelates who work for him must undergo “permanent purification” to serve the Catholic Church better. For the third year in a row, Francis took the Vatican bureau-

cracy to task in his annual Christmas greeting. He said the reform process he was elected to push through in 2013 is not aimed at a superficial facelift for the Holy See but rather a profound change in mentality among his collaborators. “Dear brothers, it’s not the wrinkles in the church that you should fear, but the stains!” he said. In 2014, Francis stunned the Vatican Curia, the administra-

tion of the Holy See, when he listed the 15 “spiritual ailments” afflicting its members. He accused them of using their careers to grab power and wealth, of living “hypocritical” double lives and of forgetting — because of “spiritual Alzheimer’s” — that they are supposed to be joyful men of God. Last year, Francis listed a “catalogue of virtues” they were supposed to show instead, including honesty, sobriety, respect and

humility. This year, he gave the priests, bishops and cardinals who work for him 12 guidelines that are inspiring his reform process, which has involved consolidating Vatican departments and creating new ones. He called for a “definitive end” to the Vatican’s face-saving way of getting rid of unqualified or problematic staff by promoting them to a higher office. “This is a cancer!” Francis

said. The pontiff said it is entirely natural that there should be resistance during such a profound process of reform — but he said there is good resistance and bad. Positive resistance is an open willingness for dialogue, he said, but “hidden” resistance comes from the “fearful or hardened hearts” of people who say they want change but really don’t. And then there’s “malevolent

resistance . . . when the devil inspires nasty intentions often dressed as lambs.” He urged his collaborators to undergo an ongoing process of spiritual purification guided by the Gospel. Later, he told staff who work for the Vatican City State that the Gospel also should dictate the Vatican’s labor practices to ensure people have proper contracts. “No employment off the books. No subterfuge,” he said.


The prancing and pawing of millions of hoofs BY

ABOVE: A herd of reindeer in an enclosure in Krasnoye, a village in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, in Siberia. LEFT: A herder sorts the reindeer. There are an estimated 730,000 of the animals in the region, but they have been reduced this year by disease and a lightning strike.



hildren around the world will be staring at the sky in hopes of catching a glimpse of Rudolph or one of his reindeer friends. But for the people snuggled in Russia’s remote Arctic regions, there are usually so many reindeer — an estimated 730,000 — that for centuries, people have had to herd these creatures to keep the population manageable. That said, 2016 has not been a good year for reindeer in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, a subdivision of Siberia made up mostly of flat, lake-

pocked tundra the size of California, Texas, Montana and both Dakotas combined. In August, a lightning strike killed a few hundred; a few thousand more were killed by anthrax — a result of the region’s soaring temperatures; and in October, Russia proposed killing a quarter-million to prevent the anthrax outbreak from spreading. But for the village of Krasnoye, the only settlement in the Nenets region connected by road to the region’s capital, the herding tradition lives on.


Turkish cleric in U.S. denies role in killing A U.S.-based Muslim cleric on Thursday condemned the killing of Russia’s envoy to Turkey and rejected accusations that his movement was behind the attack. Ambassador Andrei Karlov was shot by an off-duty police officer at a photo exhibition Monday in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has implicated Fethullah Gulen, a former ally, in the killing, accusing his movement of links to the gunman. In a video address, Gulen accused Erdogan of defaming his movement and suggested that the Turkish government would facilitate other killings and blame them on Gulen’s followers. Gulen has been living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.

Russia has flown a team of 18 investigators and Foreign Ministry officials to Turkey to help investigate Karlov’s killing. In Moscow, officials and lawmakers gathered at the Foreign Ministry’s headquarters for a ceremony to honor Karlov. Diplomats and officials laid flowers at the open casket alongside an honorary guard. President Vladimir Putin arrived at the end of the ceremony, laid flowers at the casket, offered condolences to the ambassador’s widow and left. — Associated Press


Nomination delayed of female Muslim premier Romania’s president said Thursday that he needs more time to nominate a new prime minister, delaying the

confirmation in office of the country’s first female Muslim premier amid signs of unease. The Social Democrats, who won elections on Dec. 11, on Wednesday proposed economist Sevil Shhaideh, a little-known former minister, as prime minister. President Klaus Iohannis had been expected to give official support to that nomination on Thursday. But he said he will delay any announcement until after Christmas. He did not say why. Shhaideh, 52, served as Romania’s regional development minister last year. Critics of her nomination say that she lacks sufficient political experience. She is married to Akram Shhaideh, a Syrian, who obtained Romanian citizenship in 2015. The Rise Project, a member of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, said Thursday that Shhaideh’s

husband had postings in support of Syrian President Bashar alAssad on his Arabic-language Facebook page. Meanwhile, the Romanian Orthodox bishop of Cluj, Andrei Andreicut, said he personally wanted a “Romanian and Orthodox prime minister.” More than 85 percent of Romanians belong to the influential church. — Associated Press Death toll in alcohol poisoning in Russia climbs to 72: Local

health officials in Russia’s Siberia said the number of people who have died this week from drinking a bath lotion that contained methanol has climbed to 72. The Health Ministry in the Irkutsk region said 33 people were still in the hospital. Bottles with the lotion carried warnings that it was not for internal use, but the labels said the product contained ethyl alcohol, not

methanol. Household products containing alcohol are popular in Russia as a cheap alternative to standard spirits. Bombings in Mosul kill 23:

Three car bombs ripped through an outdoor market in Mosul, killing at least 15 civilians and eight police officers, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said. The attack occurred in the eastern district of Gogjali, which Iraqi forces retook from Islamic State militants weeks ago as part of an ongoing operation to drive them from Mosul. The Islamic State captured the northern city in summer 2014. Senegalese man found guilty in U.S. woman’s killing: An Italian

court has convicted a Senegalese man of killing an American woman he met at a nightclub and sentenced him to 30 years in prison. Ashley Olsen, 35, was found dead in her apartment on

Jan. 9, 2016. She had been strangled and had suffered skull fractures. Police arrested Cheik Tidiane Diaw after street surveillance cameras showed him walking with Olsen toward her home that night and DNA traces were found on a cigarette butt and condom in her apartment. Cambodia seizes animal parts smuggled from Africa: Cambodia

has made one of its biggest seizures of smuggled animal parts, including more than a ton of ivory, a wildlife protection group said. The Wildlife Alliance said about 3,000 pounds of ivory, 10 cheetah skulls and 180 pounds of cheetah bones, and 301 pounds of pangolin scales were found concealed in three containers shipped from Mozambique. Cambodia has made 19 seizures of ivory and rhino horn from six African nations since 2014, the Wildlife Alliance said. — From news services

The washington post december 23 2016  
The washington post december 23 2016