WORLD NEWS | Pope ‘Very Pained’ By Decision To Turn Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Museum Into Mosque

VATICAN – Pope Francis said on Sunday he was hurt by Turkey’s decision to make Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum a mosque, the latest religious leader to condemn the move.

‘My thoughts go to Istanbul. I think of Santa Sophia and I am very pained’, he said during his weekly blessing in St.Peter’s Square.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said the first prayers would be held in Hagia Sophia on July 24, after declaring the ancient monument was once again a mosque following a court ruling revoking its status as a museum.

The World Council of Churches has called on Erdogan to reverse his decision and Patriarch Bartholomeu, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, called it disappointing.

Erdogan said the nearly 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia, which was once a Christian cathedral, would remain open to Muslims, Christians and foreigners.

He added that Turkey had exercised its sovereign right in converting it to a mosque and would interpret criticism of the move as an attack on its independence.

Greece has condemned the move and UNESCO said its World Heritage Committee would review Hagia Sophia’s status and that  Turkey’s decision raised questions about the impact on its universal value as a site of importance transcending borders and generations.


Saudi – Led Coalition Says It Intercepts Houthi Drone Fired At Southern Saudi Arabia

The Saudi – led coalition fighting Houthi forces in Yemen said on Tuesday it had destroyed an explosive drone fired towards Khamis Mushait in the south of Saudi Arabia. A military spokesman for the Iran – aligned Houthi group then said they had fired a drone at and hit Abha International Airpot, which is near … More Saudi – Led Coalition Says It Intercepts Houthi Drone Fired At Southern Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, China’s Xi Discuss Cooperation In Phone Call

China’s President Xi Jinping told Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday that Beijing was willing to push its strategic partnership with Riyadh ‘to a new level’, the official Chinese Xinhua news agency reported. In a phone call, the two leaders discussed boosting cooperation in energy, trade and technology, Xinhua added. China’s crude … More Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, China’s Xi Discuss Cooperation In Phone Call

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince Donate Total of $7.9 Mln To Charity

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have donated a total of $7.9 million (SR 30 million) to charity through the Kingdom’s Ehsan Platform, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Friday. King Salman donated $5.3 million (SR20 million) for charitable and non – profitable works, while the Crown Prince contributed … More Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince Donate Total of $7.9 Mln To Charity

U.S. Imposes Wide Array Of Sanctions On Russia For ‘Malign’ Actions

The Unites States on Thursday imposed a boar array of sanctions on Russia to punish it for election interference, cyber – hacking, bullying Ukraine and other ‘malign’ acts. The measures blacklisted Russian companies, expelled Russian diplomats and placed limits on the Russian sovereign debt market in steps sure to anger Moscow. Among the actions, President … More U.S. Imposes Wide Array Of Sanctions On Russia For ‘Malign’ Actions

Queen Elizabeth Returns To Royal Duties Four Days After Her Husband’s Death – PM Media

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth return to royal duties on Tuesday, four days after the death of her husband, Prince Philip, in an event to mark the retirement of her household’s most senior official, PA Media reported. The queen hosted a ceremony as the Earl Peel stepped down as Lord Chamberlain, the report added. Philip, who has … More Queen Elizabeth Returns To Royal Duties Four Days After Her Husband’s Death – PM Media

Saudi Arabia’s Ithra Celebrates Ramadan With Cultural Events, Activities

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is celebrating the holy month of Ramadan with a wide selection of cultural events and interactive activities. Ithra is offering visitors a chance to take part in events focused on national traditions and  Saudi Arabian heritage, as well as different interactive workshops. The centre’s Ramadan program also includes a collection … More Saudi Arabia’s Ithra Celebrates Ramadan With Cultural Events, Activities

Britain’s Prince Philip Has Died

Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth who played a leading  figure in the British royal family for almost seven decades, has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace said on Friday. The Duke of Edniburgh, as he was been y his wife’s side through her 69-year  reign, the longest in British history, during which time he … More Britain’s Prince Philip Has Died

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