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Pope to appoint 21 new cardinals, looking past the West

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On Saturday, Pope Francis will elevate 21 clergymen from various parts of the world to the rank of cardinal, and most of them may eventually participate in the election of his successor. The selection of these new cardinals, often referred to as the “Princes of the Church,” includes diplomats, close advisers, and administrators and is closely observed as an indicator of the future direction of the Catholic Church. It’s possible that one of these new cardinals could become the next Pope after 86-year-old Pope Francis, who has mentioned the possibility of resigning but hasn’t made a decision yet.

The ceremony, known as a consistory, is the ninth of its kind since Francis was elected pope in 2013. Throughout his papacy, he has aimed to create a more inclusive and universal Church by selecting cardinals from regions beyond Europe, such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America, to fill the Church’s highest ranks. The ceremony will take place at 10:00 am in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City, where the new cardinals will kneel before the Pope to receive the symbols of their office: a scarlet four-cornered cap known as a biretta and a cardinal’s ring.

Of the 21 new cardinals, 18 are under the age of 80, making them eligible to vote as “cardinal electors” in the next conclave, where the next Pope will be chosen. Francis has appointed a significant proportion of the cardinal-electors, and this has led to speculation that the future spiritual leader of the Catholic Church may continue to promote the same values of tolerance, compassion for the poor, and attention to marginalized communities.

The selection of these new cardinals reflects Pope Francis’s focus on the peripheries of the Catholic world, where the Church is growing, and his departure from the tradition of promoting archbishops of powerful dioceses. Some of these cardinals have experience in regions where the Holy See hopes to play a diplomatic role, and they include the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, and top administrators in the Curia.

This consistory represents another step by Pope Francis to shape the future direction of the Catholic Church and prioritize the voices and perspectives of clergy from diverse regions around the world.

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Putin: This is not free, fair election – British official criticises Russia poll

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British Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, has denounced the election in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin solidified his control over power by stifling any genuine opposition.

Preliminary results released on Sunday indicated that Putin secured nearly 88% of the vote in the election.

If confirmed, this outcome from Russia’s Central Election Commission would mark a record victory for Putin, prolonging his rule for another six-year term.

Only three candidates ran against the president in the election.

According to reports, these candidates refrained from criticizing Putin’s leadership or his intervention in Ukraine.

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It is alleged that any serious contenders were removed before the voting began.

prominent critic Alexei Navalny died in an Arctic prison last month, while other opponents of the president’s regime are either imprisoned or in exile.

Meanwhile, the election underwent minimal independent monitoring, as the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was not invited to observe the three-day voting process.

Responding to the election’s conduct, Cameron took to his official Twitter account to express his dismay, stating, “this is not what free and fair elections look like.”

He added, “The polls in Russia have closed amid illegal elections held on Ukrainian territory, limited voter choice, and the absence of independent OSCE monitoring. This does not resemble free and fair elections.”

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In 25 Minutes, 13 Earthquakes Hit California

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Overnight, California experienced a sequence of 13 earthquakes within just 25 minutes, as confirmed by the National Weather Service (NWS).

According to US authorities, the initial earthquake occurred shortly after midnight on Monday, striking northwest of El Centro, a city situated in the southern border region. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported the quake as registering a magnitude of 4.8 and causing significant shaking across San Diego County.

A 4.5 magnitude aftershock followed merely six minutes later, originating west of the Salton Sea, as stated by the USGS. This was succeeded by a series of smaller aftershocks.

Meteorologists attribute these seismic events to the San Jacinto fault system, recognized as one of the most active faults in southern California.

The initial quake struck at 12:36 am on Monday, with its epicenter located 11.7 miles deep, as revealed by the USGS. The occurrence of this quake, along with twelve subsequent ones, triggered a shake alert issued by the USGS.

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NATO chief tells Turkey ‘time has come’ to let Sweden join

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey on Monday to expedite the approval of Sweden’s pending membership, stating that it should be done “as soon as possible.” Stoltenberg emphasized that Sweden has fulfilled its commitments, and now it is crucial for Turkey to conclude the accession process.

As of now, Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO member states that have not ratified Sweden’s bid for membership, despite Sweden applying for it over 18 months ago. The Turkish parliament initiated discussions on Sweden’s membership earlier this month, following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s initiation of the process after a NATO summit agreement in July.

While the other 29 NATO allies had hoped to officially welcome Sweden into the alliance during a foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels this week, the process is currently in the committee stage in the Turkish parliament.

Expressing his desire for a swifter ratification process, Stoltenberg remarked, “I would have liked to see more speed in the ratification process, that’s no secret. I would like them to finalize that, and that’s exactly what I have communicated many times.”

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