Pope weighed Iraq virus risk but believes God will protect
Francis said the idea of a trip “cooks over time in my conscience,” and that the pandemic was the issue that weighed most heavily on him. Francis, the Vatican delegation and traveling media were vaccinated against COVID-19, while most Iraqis haven't been. Francis said he wasn’t sure if he would have to slow down his usual whirlwind pace on future trips. Otherwise, the only other trip Francis has promised to make is to Lebanon, though he offered no time frame. He said the country's patriarch had asked him to add a Beirut leg onto his Iraq trip but that he had declined, thinking it would be like tossing the country “crumbs," given all Lebanon’s current problems.
The Latest: Pope honors massacre victims at Baghdad church
Pope Francis delivers his speech during a meeting with bishops and priests, at the Sayidat al-Nejat (Our Lady of Salvation) Cathedral, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, March 5, 2021. The pontiff’s landmark visit has been months in the making and is the first papal visit to Iraq, one that eluded his predecessors. The Alitalia flight, with both Vatican and Iraqi flags, carrying the pope and his delegation landed just before 2 p.m. (1100GMT). Dozens of Christians are gathering at the Church of the Virgin Mary in Baghdad hours before Pope Francis was due to land in Iraq for a first papal visit to the war-weary country. The papal visit has raised alarm among public health experts, who fear large crowds will inevitably gather to see the pope.
World leaders hope for fresh start after Biden win
Other leaders who supported Trump, including President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, congratulated Biden, indicating they rejected Trump’s claim the election wasn’t over. Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia told reporters he looked forward to a “great partnership” with Washington. Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan said he looked forward to working together to end illegal tax havens and on peacemaking in Afghanistan. Others expressed hope Biden will help to heal divisions in American society and global politics. Prime Minister Janez Jansa was the only leader who congratulated Trump even before all votes were counted and showed support after Biden’s win was announced.
Many world leaders express hope, relief after Biden win
A passer-by takes a selfie with an extra newspaper reporting on President-elect Joe Biden's win in the U.S. presidential election, in Tokyo Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. Other leaders who sent congratulations included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Prime Minister Janez Jansa was the only world leader who congratulated Trump even before all the votes were counted, and showed support after Biden’s win was announced. Many people, particularly in nations with turbulent politics, took Biden's win as improving the outlook for respect of democracy. In Egypt, where the government is cracking down on dissent, pro-democracy activists welcomed Biden’s win.