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Friday, January 16, 2015

Pope Francis arrives in Philippines, loses his hat (Videos and Images)

The Pontiff tries to catch his cap as it is blown off in the wind as he steps out of the plane
Pope Francis landed in Manila earlier today and waved to crowds gathered at the airport as he stepped out of the plane. 
He hugged two children both abandoned by their parents, who gave him bouquets of white and yellow flowers.
'I wish the Pope will bless me so that my mother will come back to us,' one of the children, 9-year-old Lani Ortilla, said before the Pope arrived. 
'We hope the Pope gives us blessings so that Filipinos can change for the better.' 
Thousands greeted the Pope with dances and cheers as he was driven through the capital in the Popemobile.
The 78-year-old Pontiff will visit the central province of Leyte, which is still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan that killed 6,300 people in 2013. 
About two million people are expected to attend an open-air mass on Saturday at Tacloban City airport, almost completely destroyed by Haiyan.
In Manila, around six million people will hear Francis say Mass in a park on Sunday, eclipsing Pope John Paul II's record crowd of five million in 1995. 
The government has declared a three-day public holiday to clear traffic in Manila, a city of 12 million people, and has closed financial markets. 
More than 50,000 soldiers and police officers will be on duty across the nation as the Pope visits Asia's largest Catholic country
Snipers will be positioned at key points around Manila and Tacloban City during the pope's visit, and sniffer dogs will check sites he is due to visit.
Asked if he was nervous ahead of the Pope's arrival, Philippine National Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Wilben Mayor said: 'For a long time now, yes. This is very challenging for the PNP.'
Meanwhile police officers caught taking selfies during the Pope's visit were warned they would be fired. 
The PNP sent a memo to all staff warning them that selfies taken on duty in places Pope Francis visits are not allowed.
All 25,000 officers were sent the message reminding them not to take photographs as the Pope arrived in Manila.
On Wednesday, President Benigno Aquino personally inspected motorcade routes and public venues, which were lined with black-and-white concrete barriers topped by thick wire mesh to control eager crowds.
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas said Aquino was willing to serve as Francis' 'personal bodyguard' to ensure his safety. 
In a televised address on Monday, Aquino appealed to Filipinos to follow security rules after two people were killed in a stampede during a religious procession on Friday.
Following the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, many people have defended the satirical magazine for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
But the Pope said there was a limit to free speech when it concerned offending someone's religious beliefs.
He said: 'There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others.
'They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit.' 
By way of example, Pope Francis referred to Alberto Gasparri, who organises papal trips and was standing by his side aboard the papal plane. 'If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,' Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. 'It's normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.'

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