Pope Francis called on Colombia’s Catholic majority to reconcile as the country faces major divisions after decades of war.
In a video message released by the Colombian Catholic Church, the top cleric called on the more than 30 million Catholics in the country to “take the first step” in reconciliation, the official theme of his five-day visit that will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
"Peace is what Colombia has been looking for and working for for such a long time," he said. "A stable and lasting peace, so that we can see one another and treat one another as brothers, not as enemies."
A year after the Colombian government signed the peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the nation remains bitterly divided over the terms of the deal even as guerrillas have laid down their arms and begun returning to civilian life.
Even the Catholic Church hierarchy, which was instrumental in facilitating the peace talks and is now spearheading the process of reconciliation, was divided over what many Colombians saw as the overly generous terms offered to rebels behind atrocities.
The plane flying Pope Francis to Colombia left Rome Wednesday morning and had to change its flight path to avoid Catetory 5 Hurricane Irma.
In Bogota, city workers were busy scrubbing downtown monuments, erecting the stage for a giant outdoor Mass and putting the final touches on a security perimeter surrounding the Nunciature where the pope will sleep every night. While many Colombians hail the pope's humility as a model to emulate, they have questioned the hefty cost of the visit.
The highlight of Francis' trip comes Friday, with a meeting and prayer of reconciliation between victims of the conflict and former guerrillas in Villavicencio, a city south of Bogota surrounded by territory long held by the FARC.
Ahead of Francis' arrival, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the last remaining major rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, signed a bilateral cease-fire agreement, a significant step toward negotiating a permanent peace deal.
Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has frozen real estate and cattle worth $3 million that according to demobilized guerrilla group FARC was part of their illegal assets.
According to the prosecution, the assets belonged to Jaime Cutiva, who had been reported by the guerrillas’ former Teofilo Forero unit as one of their business associates.
It is unclear how much the FARC has in assets as guerrillas are only just cooperating with justice to surrender their assets after more than 30 years of involvement in the drug trade.
Woman Dragged Along Platform By Train
July 17, 2017
Natalya Garkovich, 43, was left in intensive care after sensors failed to register the strap and emergency brakes did not stop the train's advance.
I know that I was wrong and I am devastated by what happened to that woman," Mr Tonelli told Italian daily Corriere della Sera [in Italian]. "But in the video it can also be seen that I looked twice in the mirror, I was not reckless."
The accident took place on Wednesday 12 July, but the footage did not emerge until the weekend. Reports suggest she has broken bones from the accident. The CCTV footage shows Ms Garkovich boarding the train at Termini station, before changing her mind at the last minute.
As she backs out of the train, her bag appears to become stuck - and despite the efforts of people on the platform, she cannot be freed.
Local news outlets report that passengers on board the train pulled a number of emergency levers, but were unsuccessful. It is believed Ms Garkovich was not pulled into the tunnel.
Terrorist Attacks Against The West This Year
European leaders, have had to deal with a deadly terror attack and the threat to the U.K. from international terrorism is severe.
May 22, 2017
Bombing In Manchester
An explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England killed at least 22 and injured more than 50.
Abril/April 20, 2017
Champs Elysees Attack In Paris
An attacker got out of a car and ﬁ red an automatic weapon at a parked police van, killing the ofﬁ cer inside, before shooting at others standing on the
nearby sidewalk, injuring two before he was shot and killed by police.
Stockholm Truck Attack
Five people were killed when a truck driven by a man drove into a pedestrian shopping street and department store in Sweden’s capital city, wounding over a dozen others.
Abril/April 03, 2017
Saint Petersburg Bombing
A suicide bombing on the subway in Russia’s second largest city killed more than a dozen passengers and injured dozens more.
Marzo/March 22, 2017
Westminster Bridge Attack
Five people, including a
London police ofﬁ cer who was stabbed and the perpetrator, were killed. More than 40 people were injured outside the Parliament building.
Febrero/February 03, 2017
Louvre Knife Attack
A machete-wielding man yelling “Allahu Akbar” attacked soldiers in a shopping mall near the Louvre in Paris. He was shot and wounded by soldiers.
At Least 22 Killed in
Terror Attack Outside Ariana Grande Concert
May 23, 2017
Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack outside the Manchester Arena, according to monitoring group SITE.
Anguished parents spent hours overnight frantically searching for children missing after a suicide bomber targeted an Ariana Grande concert in the English city of Manchester. Prime Minister Theresa May also condemned the bomber for targeting "the youngest in our society."
Police arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the terror attack in south Manchester. British Prime Minister Theresa May said police have the identity of the other assailant, who died when he detonated the device, but have not yet made that information public.
On Monday night, May 22, Ariana Grande's concert at the Manchester Arena ended in a massacre after a lone attacker detonated a suicide bomb strategically near one of the exits as people were leaving.
Waves of photos and videos pervaded social media immediately after the explosion was heard. The crowd was predominantly young kids, teenagers and their parents. Prime Minister May confirmed Tuesday morning that children are among those killed.
The culprit behind the bombing was killed in the attack after detonating the improvised explosive device, authorities said. He has not been identified. The suspect set off the bomb near one of the venue's exits as the predominantly younger crowd let out of the arena around 10:30 p.m. local time.
Manchester Arena — one of the largest indoor venues in Europe with 21,000 seats — is set to host another concert on Thursday. It was not clear if the performance would take place.
Other artists in the pop world shared their sympathies with the victims, and Miley Cyrus said on Instagram that she was "wishing I could give my friend @ArianaGrande a great big hug right now."