Pope Francis made a rare Sunday outing from Vatican grounds to celebrate a mass on “divine mercy” with prisoners, refugees, and health workers. The mass was held in a church just off St Peter’s Square, in front of a reduced congregation of about 80 people, in line with coronavirus restrictions. Among them, there were inmates of two Roman prisons and one youth detention center; refugees from Syria, Nigeria, and Egypt; and nursing staff from a nearby hospital. In his homily, the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics stressed the importance for Christians of serving others.
The Russian government has on Monday disclosed that President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that could keep him in office in the Kremlin until 2036, allowing him to run for two more six-year terms once his current term ends in 2024. The changes were passed by the lower and upper houses of the legislation and supported in a public vote last year, allowing the 68-year-old president remain in power until the age of 83. However, critics have condemned the law, saying it is a constitutional coup as the law signed, limits future presidents to two terms while resetting their term count.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and husband of Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 99. His death was announced via a statement shared early Friday to the official website of the Royal Family. “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the statement from Buckingham Palace said. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
Britain is banning direct passenger flights from the United Arab Emirates from Friday, shutting down the world’s busiest international airline route from Dubai to London.
Britain said it was adding the United Arab Emirates, Burundi, and Rwanda to its coronavirus travel ban list because of worries over the spread of a more contagious and potentially vaccine-resistant COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa.