Saturday, December 16, 2017
News Roundup

In Mideast, pope gives peacemaking a try

JERUSALEM — Pope Francis turned what had been billed as a religious pilgrimage to the West Bank and Israel into an effort to renew the stalled peace process Sunday, inviting the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to join him at his Vatican home in a prayer for peace.

The unusual invitation was an acknowledgement of the political dimensions of the visit, which has been orchestrated to maintain a balance between conflicting Israeli and Palestinian claims.

The declared centerpiece of the trip was the pope's meeting Sunday in Jerusalem with the spiritual leader of the Orthodox church, the eumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, to mark the 50th anniversary of the reconciliation between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

The two religious leaders signed a joint declaration, according to Vatican television, and were scheduled to meet again today to give renewed impetus to efforts to heal a rift that split eastern and western Christianity in 1054.

But the more contemporary conflict between Israelis and Palestinians took prominence during the pope's visit to the West Bank and upon his arrival in Israel.

His invitation to Israeli President Shimon Peres, whose position is largely ceremonial, and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority was welcomed by both sides, though the proposed meeting was widely seen as symbolic and not a forum for negotiations.

In the West Bank city of Bethlehem, where he officiated at a Mass attended by thousands in Manger Square next to the Church of the Nativity, which is built over the spot where tradition holds Jesus was born, the pope invited Abbas and Peres to his home "to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace."

He repeated the invitation later at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, where he was greeted by Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The pope's statements and itinerary during his six-hour visit to the West Bank and planned 28 hours in Israel, ending this evening, was carefully designed to navigate the political minefield of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, showing empathy for both sides.

In a nod to Palestinian aspirations for statehood, the pope arrived by helicopter in Bethlehem from Jordan and referred to "the good relations existing between the Holy See and the state of Palestine."

In an unscheduled stop on the way to Manger Square that provided a powerful image, the pope got out of his car to pause for prayer at a section of a high concrete wall on the outskirts of Bethlehem — part of Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank and a symbol of occupation to many Palestinians.

Comments
Two airmen and an object that ‘accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen’

Two airmen and an object that ‘accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen’

The following recounts an incident in 2004 that advocates of research into UFOs have said is the kind of event worthy of more investigation and that was studied by a Pentagon program that investigated UFOs. Experts caution that Earthly explanations o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Are UFOs real? A Pentagon program tried to find out

Are UFOs real? A Pentagon program tried to find out

WASHINGTON — In the $600 billion annual Defense Department budgets, the $22 million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was almost impossible to find.Which was how the Pentagon wanted it.For years, the program investigated r...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Two die in head-on crash on Gunn Highway in Odessa

ODESSA — Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a head-on crash on Gunn Highway that killed two and sent a child to the hospital.Deputies said the crash happened near 17928 Gunn Highway, close to the Keystone Recreation Center.The Sheriff’s O...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Firefighters injured after early-morning blaze at Tampa strip mall

Firefighters injured after early-morning blaze at Tampa strip mall

TAMPA — Three firefighters were injured early Saturday morning battling a fire at a W Waters Avenue strip mall, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.Firefighters said the two-alarm blaze started in the attic of L.A. Nail Supply at 2:45 a.m. The store is in...
Updated: 1 hour ago
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

LAKE BUENA VISTA — There were a lot of reasons the Rays didn’t start the process of trading some of their bigger-name, higher-paid players at last week’s winter meetings.Most obvious was them not finding the just-right deal to move closer Alex Colome...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

It is and always will be the greatest debate in Tampa Bay sports history.Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy?You don’t even need to say anything more than that. Bucs fans already know what you’re talking about.Gruden or Dungy?Who was most responsible for the on...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

TAMPA — Bucs coach Jon Gruden did not win the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s team. Don’t believe me? Ask Dungy. "It wasn’t. They did a great job. They took it and tweaked it," Dungy said. "The same way I got a great (Colts) tea...
Updated: 4 hours ago
She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

Two days before her 94th birthday, Juanita Fitzgerald was arrested and hauled off to jail.The Eustis woman’s crime?She was being evicted and had fallen behind on her rent, WFTV 9 News reported. Instead of vacating her home at the National Church Resi...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Updated: 4 hours ago