- The Washington Times - Monday, September 8, 2008


Pope blesses elderly faithful

CAGLIARI | Pope Benedict XVI, who has said he is living out his own old age serenely, met in Sardinia with some of the Mediterranean island’s “super old” faithful Sunday, including a 105-year-old woman who wished the pontiff a life as long as hers.

Benedict was making a one-day pilgrimage to the port city of Cagliari to mark the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the Virgin Mary of Bonaria as the island’s religious patron.

While about 150,000 faithful braved muggy air outside the sanctuary’s basilica, inside the church waiting to meet the 81-year-old pontiff were about 30 centenarians.

Scientists have swarmed the island to try to discover the secret of its people’s exceptional longevity, including an especially high number of male centenarians. The island’s population of 1.6 million roughly numbers 14 centenarians per every 100,000 inhabitants, compared with a world figure of seven or eight for every 100,000.


Clashes follow immigrant stabbing

MADRID | Spain’s Interior Ministry says street clashes broke out in a southern city after a Senegalese immigrant was stabbed to death.

The ministry’s statement says at least two houses were set afire, nine cars were damaged.

The ministry says a fight Saturday night between two men in a shantytown on the outskirts of the seaside city of Roquetas de Mar left a 28-year-old Senegalese national dead from stab wounds.

The ministry says several immigrants were enraged by the killing and in the early hours of Sunday set fire to houses and cars.

It says riot police were deployed and they arrested four people; three police officers were injured.


Rioting disrupts street festival

BERLIN | Police say a riot broke out at a Hamburg street festival and 18 people were injured.

Hamburg police spokesman Rais Kunz says an annual neighborhood festival that drew 8,000 people with food booths and live music deteriorated late Saturday when a small group of revelers started throwing rocks through windows.

Police say the violence escalated as others built barricades in the streets and set fire to a car, a telephone booth and a portable toilet.

Police say they used water cannons and that rioters responded by throwing bottles and rocks that injured 11 officers.

Mr. Kunz says it took 950 officers to subdue the violence. He says 38 people were detained for questioning early Sunday and 19 arrested.


Peace making to continue at U.N.

YEREVAN | The foreign ministers of estranged neighbors Armenia and Turkey will meet on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly at the end of September, Armenia said Sunday.

The announcement of the meeting later this month between Armenia’s Eduard Nalbandian and Turkey’s Ali Babacan came the day after a landmark first ever visit by a Turkish leader to Yerevan.

The move follows a meeting in Yerevan on Saturday between Turkish President Abdullah Gul his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian, who pledged to overcome decades of enmity between their two nations.

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic ties and their border has been closed for more than a decade. Their relationship has been strained by deep differences over the World War I massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of Turkey.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their people were systematically killed by Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1917. Turkey rejects the genocide label and argues that 300,000-500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife during the period.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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