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Pope Francis criticised for praising Russian imperialist heritage



Pope Francis has come under scrutiny after his recent remarks to Russian youths, urging them to remember their historical lineage as heirs of past Russian tsars, including figures like Peter the Great.

These comments have sparked controversy due to their potential alignment with President Vladimir Putin’s justifications for the Ukrainian invasion.

The Ukrainian government expressed deep regret over the remarks, calling them “deeply regrettable.”

During a live video address to Catholic youths in St. Petersburg, Pope Francis initially delivered a prepared speech in Spanish.

However, he spontaneously shifted to Italian towards the end, stating, “Don’t forget your heredity. You are heirs of the great Russia – the great Russia of the saints, of kings, the great Russia of Peter the Great, of Catherine II, the great Russian empire, cultured, so much culture, so much humanity. You are the heirs of the great mother Russia. Go forward.”

While the Vatican released the official text of the address without the impromptu Italian paragraph, religious websites shared a video of the pope’s complete remarks.

Oleg Nikolenko, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, took to Facebook to criticise the comments, linking them to the Kremlin’s imperialistic propaganda that has been used to justify the Ukrainian crisis.

Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Ukraine’s Eastern Rite Catholic Church expressed concern over the pope’s words, fearing they might embolden the ambitions of the aggressor country. He called for an explanation from the Vatican regarding the controversial statement.

Italian website Il Sismografo, which specialises in Catholic affairs, published an editorial characterising the pope’s words as “odd” given the delicate historical context.

The editorial highlighted the actions of Catherine the Great, who annexed Crimea in 1783, and her protection of Jesuits in Russian-controlled areas after the global suppression of the Jesuit order by Pope Clement XIV in 1773. Pope Francis himself is a Jesuit.

Notably, Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously praised Tsar Peter the Great, drawing parallels between his historical pursuits and Russia’s current actions. Putin has repeatedly employed historical narratives to justify the Ukrainian crisis, denying the nation’s distinct identity and history of statehood.

Former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Belarusian news site Nexta criticised the pope’s remarks, with Ilves calling them “revolting.” Nexta emphasised the historical resistance of Catholics in Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus against Russia’s influence.

While Pope Francis has condemned Russia’s brutal actions in Ukraine, emphasising the violation of a nation’s right to self-determination, he has also faced criticism for certain extemporaneous statements.

Last year, he upset Kyiv by referring to Russian ultra-nationalist Darya Dugina as an innocent victim of war, prompting Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to voice strong objections.

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YouTuber Trevor Jacob behind bars for plane crash stunt



YouTuber Trevor Jacob has been sentenced to jail after orchestrating a dangerous stunt involving a plane crash in a reckless bid for views.

The shocking incident unfolded as Jacob attempted to push the boundaries of extreme content creation on his YouTube channel.

In a bid to capture the attention of his audience, Jacob embarked on a perilous mission, piloting a small plane before deliberately crashing it. The stunt, which was filmed and uploaded to his channel, garnered immediate backlash from viewers, many of whom decried the reckless behavior as dangerous and irresponsible.

Authorities swiftly intervened, launching an investigation into Jacob’s actions. Following the investigation, he was arrested and subsequently sentenced to a prison term.

The incident has raised important questions about the ethics of content creation, the pursuit of internet fame, and the potential legal consequences for those who prioritize views over safety.


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Russian women want their men back from Ukraine



In a heartfelt plea, Russian women have taken to the streets demanding the safe return of their loved ones from the Ukrainian front.

The conflict in Ukraine has stretched on for years, and the toll on families has been immense. Mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters are uniting to call for an end to the fighting and the return of their men.

The women, often referred to as the “mothers of the front,” are growing increasingly frustrated with the ongoing conflict. They argue that their husbands, sons, and brothers have been away for far too long, and the human cost of the war is simply too high.

With no clear resolution in sight, their calls for peace and reconciliation are becoming more urgent.

This grassroots movement has sparked a national conversation in Russia, with many questioning the government’s handling of the conflict.

While the official stance has been to support the separatist forces in Ukraine, these women are highlighting the personal tragedies and broken families left in the wake of the war. Their determination to bring their loved ones home is palpable.

The situation raises important questions about the impact of long-term conflicts on families, the role of women in peace movements, the government’s response to public sentiment, and the prospects for a peaceful resolution in the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

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Is a long commute a reason to quit?



Workers reconsider roles due to lengthy travel times

A surge in resignations is hitting the job market as employees reevaluate the impact of long commutes on their work-life balance. The trend, intensified by the rise of remote work during the pandemic, sees a growing number of professionals opting to quit rather than endure extended travel times.

A recent survey conducted among commuters revealed that 68% of participants identified their daily journeys as a major source of stress. The findings suggest a paradigm shift in the traditional understanding of commuting as an inherent aspect of employment.

Employers are now grappling with the challenge of retaining talent as dissatisfaction with lengthy commutes becomes a catalyst for resignations. The implications extend beyond individual decisions, impacting productivity and overall workforce dynamics.

The phenomenon underscores the need for businesses to reassess their remote work policies and invest in solutions that alleviate the burden of commuting. As the job market adapts to evolving expectations, companies that fail to address the commute conundrum risk losing valuable contributors.

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