Holy Week was an epic battle of the Pope and Putin fighting the CIA’s aggression in Ukraine and Syria. In his Easter Sunday address the Pope prayed for peace.
Pope Francis, in his Easter address before a huge crowd, on Sunday denounced the "immense wastefulness" in the world while many go hungry and called for an end to conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Africa.
"We ask you, Lord Jesus, to put an end to all war and every conflict, whether great or small, ancient or recent," he said in his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message…
The pope called on the international community to "boldly negotiate the peace long awaited and long overdue" in Syria, where more than 150,000 people have been killed in the civil war, a third of them civilians. Millions have fled the country.
"We pray in a particular way for Syria, that all those suffering the effects of the conflict can receive needed humanitarian aid and that neither side will again use deadly force, especially against the defenseless civil population," he said.
BEIRUT — Syrian forces have overrun a strategic rebel stronghold close to the Lebanese border, the military said Sunday, in the latest battlefield victory for the government of President Bashar Assad.
The official news service reported that Syrian troops were in "full control" of Yabroud, a longtime rebel bastion and key logistics base for opposition supplies and insurgents entering Syria from Lebanese territory.
Aiding Syrian troops in the battle were militiamen from Hezbollah, the Lebanese group that has dispatched units to fight alongside Assad's forces.
The capture of Yabroud, coming as the Syrian war enters its fourth year, underscores how much the conflict has turned in the government's favor.
Syria’sopposition fighters have been supplied with U.S.-made antitank missiles, the first time a major American weapons system has appeared in rebel hands.
It is unclear how the rebels obtained the wire-guided missiles, which are capable of penetrating heavy armor and fortifications and are standard in the U.S. military arsenal. The United States has sold them in the past to Turkey, among other countries, and the Pentagon approved the sale of 15,000 of the weapons to Saudi Arabia in December. Both countries aid Syrian opposition groups.
Their appearance in Syria coincides with a U.S. commitment this year to escalate a CIA-run program to supply and train vetted “moderate” rebel groups and to improve coordination with other opposition backers.
Francis asked God to "enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine so that all those involved, with the support of the international community, will make every effort to prevent violence and, in a spirit of unity and dialogue, chart a path for the country's future."
Accordingto this source, in September 2013, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski invited 86 members of the Right Sector (Sector Pravy), allegedly in the context of a university exchange program. In reality, the guests were not students, and many were over 40. Contrary to their official schedule, they did not go to the Warsaw University of Technology, but headed instead for the police training center in Legionowo, an hour’s drive from the capital. There, they received four weeks of intensive training in crowd management, person recognition, combat tactics, command skills, behavior in crisis situations, protection against gases used by police, erecting barricades, and especially shooting, including the handling of sniper rifles.
Such training took place in September 2013, while the Maidan Square protests were allegedly triggered by a decree suspending preparations for the signing of the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement, which was issued by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov on November 21, i.e. two months later.
The Polish weekly refers to photographs attesting to the training, which show the Ukrainians in Nazi uniforms alongside their Polish instructors in civilian clothing.
WASHINGTON— The United States is considering deploying about 150 soldiers for military exercises to begin in Poland and Estonia in the next few weeks, a Western official said Saturday. The exercises would follow Russia’s buildup of forces near its border with Ukraine and its annexation last month of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
…. Ground exercises in Poland and Estonia would last about two weeks, but such exercises would continue off and on over time, the official said, and other locations in Eastern Europe would be considered. The official was not authorized to discuss the plan by name because it has not been made final and requested anonymity.
He prayed to God to "help us to overcome the scourge of hunger, aggravated by conflicts and by the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible."
Besieged and terrified … and the food is about to run out for Damascus refugees
The desperate residents of a besieged district of Damascus are expected to run out of food on Sunday, leaving 18,000 people facing starvation and leading relief agencies to declare the crisis "unprecedented in living memory".
Food packages have not been delivered to the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp for 10 days, and Syrian authorities are not expected to allow food trucks in over the Easter weekend. Residents have resorted to eating leaves and animal feed. Some say they cannot get access even to scraps, as a desperate blockade by government forces, in place for nearly 18 months, continues to cut off supplies.
Syrian officials have allowed only sporadic access to Yarmouk, to relief groups led by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), since the first pleas for help from residents early last year.
"It is unprecedented in living memory for a UNRWA-assisted population to be subject to abject desperation in this way and the sheer humanitarian facts cry out for a response," organisation spokesman Chris Gunness told the Observer. "Without that, the humanity of all of us must be seriously questioned.
"It is an affront to all of us that in a capital city of a member state, women are dying in childbirth for lack of medical care, there are incidents of malnutrition among infants and people are resorting to eating animal feed."
VETERANSTODAY: The West seems bound and determined to destroy Syria, carve it up into various puppet cantons so the gas pipeline from Qatar can be brought into Europe through Northern Syria. They also want to get the Russians and Assad out of the way to exploit the offshore Eastern Med oil and gas deposits and undermine Russia's European gas markets…
Yarmouk Palestinian camp, Damascus. — This observer does not write these words causally and he is no huge fan of most intellectually lazy quick spun internet conspiracy theories, too many of which appear given to flights from reality when facts get complicated and dispositive information is obscure.
However, after months of studying the political, social, military, and economic situation in Yarmouk camp, and based on some insightful meetings with former camp residents and PLO stalwarts who have been active in the cause of Palestine going back to the 1980’s or earlier, Yarmouk’s survival prospects appear fatally bleak….
In part, Yarmouk’s curse and current fate is due to its location. It is a triangular slice pointing straight into central downtown Damascus, a strategic last piece in the mosaic required to make a strong rebel advance on the capital.
The 77-year-old pope, wearing white vestments for the service, prayed for the protection of those members of society who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and abandonment--women, children, the elderly and immigrants.
Easter is the most important day on the liturgical calendar because it commemorates the day Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion, and the Church sees it as a symbol of hope, peace and reconciliation among peoples and nations.
In the city of Slovyansk, Ari reported on Morning Edition, protesters say Ukrainian military personnel carriers approached Wednesday with soldiers who were looking "bedraggled, tired and dirty." Protesters say that after the soldiers were given food and water and had a "nice conversation" with residents, Russian flags were raised on the vehicles and they went "rolling off to Slovyansk."
"(Washington) expresses its disgust with the decision of Ukrainian authorities to meet the peaceful protest in Kiev's Maidan Square with riot police, bulldozers and batons, rather than with respect for democratic rights and human dignity," he said.
"This response is neither acceptable nor does it befit a democracy."
Later Victoria Nuland, the US Assistant Secretary of State, handed sandwiches to both protesters and riot police in Kiev's Independence Square, along with US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R Pyatt.
He also asked for an end to violence in Iraq, Venezuela, South Sudan and the Central Africa Republic.
Francis appealed for more medical attention for the victims of the deadly Ebola epidemic in Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and care for those suffering from many other diseases spread through neglect and dire poverty.
He called for a "halt to the brutal terrorist attacks" in Nigeria, an apparent reference to Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which earlier this month abducted some 130 girls from a school in the north of the country.
The Easter Sunday services were the culmination of four hectic days of Holy Week activities for the pontiff.
By Patricia Baeten