ROME Italian police have confiscated about three,500 counterfeit parchments bearing blessings by Pope Francis and becoming sold to pilgrims in Rome, authorities mentioned on Monday.
The bogus parchments, with elaborate lettering and pictures of the pope, had been identified in the printing shop of a souvenir retailer near the Vatican, and the proprietor was charged with generating counterfeit goods, a police statement said.
It mentioned the parchments had been printed in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and English and had an all round worth of about 70,000 euros ($ 77,168).
The Vatican’s Apostolic Almonry, or distributor of papal charities, sells authentic parchments bearing words of blessing from the pope. The proceeds go to fund a variety of projects to help the poor and needy of Rome.
They are adorned with elaborate gothic calligraphy and usually include words of excellent wishes and a papal blessing for occasions such as births, weddings and anniversaries. Several are hand-produced.
Last year, the Vatican stopped outsourcing the production of the parchments and returned to the ancient practice of creating them all in-residence. The Vatican stated at the time that this was so all the proceeds would go straight to charities.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella Editing by Mark Heinrich)
MOSCOW Russia stepped up its criticism of U.S. policy on Syria on the eve of a check out to Moscow by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, saying the United States had not shown it was prepared to cooperate fully in the struggle against Islamic State militants.
Russia would continue to urge Washington to rethink its policy of “dividing terrorists into excellent and bad ones”, Russia’s Foreign Ministry stated in a statement on Monday, ahead of Kerry’s visit to Moscow, which is scheduled for Dec. 15.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly Writing by Dmitry Solovyov Editing by Andrew Osborn)
There has already been talk of a film about Jamie Vardy’s life, but Leicester City’s season is also shaping up to be a story suitable for the silver screen.
The in-kind Foxes have gone from relegation favourites to title contenders in a matter of months, but can their fairytale commence to the 2015-16 campaign really have a Hollywood ending?
History suggests not – the last time a correct outsider went the distance in a title race was in the Premier League’s first season, 1992-93. Norwich City led for longer than anybody else and topped the table as late as April, but finished third.
So, can Claudio Ranieri’s side copy the Canaries, or even out-do them?
Chris Sutton, a teenage centre-half turned striker in that Norwich group, tells BBC Sport how it feels to be unlikely leaders, what Leicester need to have to do subsequent – and what could go incorrect.
Best in December – ‘We did not take it seriously’
Norwich manager Mike Walker played a fresh-faced Chris Sutton up front alongside Mark Robins, who scored 14 league ambitions in 1992-93 soon after joining from Manchester United
Leicester can go back to the best of the table if they beat defending champions Chelsea on Monday. No team top following 16 games has finished decrease than fourth in the Premier League. In 18 of the past 23 seasons, the team top at that stage completed second or greater, and on 13 occasions they ended up champions.
Sutton: “We had been eight points clear at the commence of December, but we have been absolutely not thinking about winning the title.
“There was talk of it outside the club but, amongst the players, we did not take it too seriously. Hunting back, that helped a lot.
“All the rhetoric coming out of Leicester in the last handful of weeks is the very same. Whether or not it is the manager or their players, when they are asked queries about the title, they just answer by talking about receiving sufficient points to stay up.
“We were the very same. We had finished 18th the previous season and stayed up by 3 points, so when we got to 30 points in November we just thought, ‘great, we are not going down’.”
Best of the Premier League on 11 December 1992
three. Aston Villa
No pressure – ‘It didn’t matter when we lost’
Norwich had Robins scoring their goals – Leicester have Jamie Vardy, who has 14 league targets currently
Norwich lost 7-1 to Blackburn and four-1 to Liverpool in October 1992 but suffered only 1 other defeat in their very first 18 league matches. Leicester’s only league defeat so far is a five-two house defeat by Arsenal on three October. They responded by winning six of their subsequent eight games.
Sutton: “Like Leicester, we had been an attacking group with a purpose threat that was complete of self-confidence right after creating a tremendous start.
“One more similarity was that we did not give up – we came back from 2- down to beat Arsenal 4-two in our opening game and usually had that belief.
“We went from game to game without having worrying about anything, and it looks like they are doing the identical.
“Each and every group has a blip but even when we lost heavily or had a run of games more than Christmas where our final results dropped off, it did not really influence us simply because nobody expected us to be up there anyway.
“There was no stress – in the initial half of the season it was a single of these times exactly where we did not believe about our predicament really considerably.”
Nonetheless prime in April – ‘We started thinking ‘what if?”
Sutton’s Norwich took on Manchester United in April 1993. “If we had won that game then we would have gone on to win the league,” Sutton says now
Norwich led the league for 129 days out of 270 in 1992-93, compared to Manchester United’s 69 days and Aston Villa’s 32. The Canaries have been last prime on 3 April – if they had beaten United on five April, they would have returned to the summit and gone five points clear of the eventual champions, and a point above Villa.
Sutton: “The longer you keep up there, and the closer you get to seeing it via, the tougher it gets.
“We got via March and we had been back on the leading of the table and it hit us. All of a sudden we started thinking about whether or not we could really do it.
Prime of the Premier League table on three April 1993 – ahead of Norwich v Man Utd
2. Aston Villa
3. Man Utd
“Everywhere you went in Norwich, men and women would ask, ‘can we win it?’ We were considering, ‘how are we nevertheless in the race?’. We also started to wonder, ‘what if we do win it?’
“It was a sort of pressure that was new to all of us, the manager Mike Walker and the players, and we faltered at the massive moments.
“We had two crunch games prior to Easter against the two other teams difficult and, though we beat Aston Villa, we lost at house to Manchester United, who had just gone 4 games without having a win.
Best of the Premier League table on 5 April 1993 – following Norwich v Man Utd
1. Aston Villa
2. Man Utd
“I look back and genuinely think that if we had won that game then we would have gone on to win the league since that would have fully knocked the stuffing out of United at a crucial time.
“Rather we have been the ones who have been left deflated, and we only won two of our final 5 games.”
1992-93 Premier League table – final standings
1. Man Utd
2. Aston Villa
What were Norwich missing? ‘A title mentality’
Robert Huth won the Premier League with Chelsea in 2005 and 2006 but only started a total of 13 games
Former Chelsea defender Robert Huth is the only member of the Leicester squad to have won a leading-flight title in any of the massive 5 leagues in Europe (England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain). Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri has also never ever won a prime-flight title in his 29-year managerial career, even though he has had best-four finishes with 4 distinct clubs in Italy and was a runner-up with Chelsea in 2004 and Monaco in 2014.
Sutton: “Norwich came up a small bit quick but at the time we never ever truly talked about it in terms of how we almost won the title, mostly because we could not think what had just occurred.
Seven Englishmen, three Welshmen and a Scot – a standard Norwich group from the 1992-93 season
“When I won the title with Blackburn in 1995, there was a completely diverse mentality around the club all through the whole season.
“I had arrived in the summer time of 1994 at a group that had just finished runners-up and finishing initial was the target from day one – there was far far more expectation, and pressure.
“But there was also a lot more encounter of how to handle it, from the players who had completed second the season just before to the manager, Kenny Dalglish, who had won titles with Liverpool.
“We had some big characters in the dressing space like Alan Shearer and Tim Flowers, and the sort of steely resolve you want. Even then, we practically threw the title away.”
Can Leicester do it? ‘They will never ever get a much better chance’
Leicester v Chelsea: Focus Forum previews Monday’s game
In the 11 seasons ahead of the Premier League started in 1992, 13 different teams completed in the prime 3 of England’s best flight. In the very first 11 seasons of the Premier League, 10 clubs did. Given that 2003, only 5 teams have managed best-three finishes: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.
Sutton: “Norwich have been a selling club who have been never ever going to chuck massive funds at a mid-season signing to try to win the title.
“But Leicester could be diverse. With the funds there is in the Premier League at the moment, why not splash out in the January transfer window like Sir Alex Ferguson suggested this week? It would be very interesting if they did.
“They have given themselves a wonderful platform and these possibilities don’t come about extremely typically.
“They never require seven or eight players, just 1 or two in case Jamie Vardy or Riyad Mahrez get injured. The wheels could nonetheless come off horribly, but why not have a go?
“It is early days and I still expect 1 of the big clubs to put a run together and come out of the pack to win the title, but even if Leicester do not win the league, a best-four finish now appears a realistic aim for them.
“That would nevertheless be an outstanding feat and making the Champions League could be the next chapter for them, the identical way qualifying for the Uefa Cup was for Norwich with our well-known win more than Bayern Munich the following season.”
Chris Sutton was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
JERUSALEM A motorist rammed into a bus stop in Jerusalem on Monday, injuring at least nine men and women before he was shot dead, Israeli police said, in what appeared to be newest in a surge of Palestinian street attacks.
The casualties from the incident close to the western entrance to the city, major to the Tel Aviv highway, included 1 person who was in significant condition and a infant, medics stated.
Police described the motorist as a “terrorist” but did not right away elaborate on his identity. Israel’s Army Radio mentioned he was shot dead by a bus stop guard.
A campaign of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings by Palestinians has killed 19 Israelis and a U.S. citizen since the start of October. Israeli forces have killed at least 109 Palestinians, most of whom the army described as assailants.
Palestinians are frustrated at the failure of extended-operating peace efforts with Israel and its 48-year occupation of the West Bank. Numerous sympathize with calls by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas for Israel’s destruction.
The bloodshed has also been fueled by Muslim opposition to stepped-up Israeli access to Jerusalem’s al Aqsa mosque complicated, which numerous Jews revere as a vestige of their biblical temples.
DUBAI Dec 14 The delayed handover of about 6,000 houses in Dubai has helped rents remain flat so far in 2015 even though residential sales prices have fallen a lot more than 10 percent, sector consultants CBRE stated on Monday.
Dubai’s genuine estate sector has stuttered this year following a rebound close to the peak values of the previous decade as a sturdy regional currency produced getting house much more pricey for foreign investors.
Overall, Dubai apartment and house sales prices on average fell 16 and 14 percent respectively in the first 11 months of 2015, CBRE estimated, forecasting additional declines in sale costs subsequent year.
Apartment rents were flat over the exact same period, although property rents dipped four percent, CBRE mentioned.
“The (rental) market has held up quite effectively but it does not inform the complete story,” mentioned Mat Green, UAE head of research at CBRE Middle East. “We have a really fragmented industry.”
He stated rental values in the city’s a lot more expensive districts such as Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina had fallen even though more affordable, peripheral places have noticed costs rise in 2015.
CBRE had forecast 20,000 units would be handed more than in 2015, but only about 14,000 will be delivered by the end of the year due to late payments by investors, issues in acquiring completion certificates and some developers opting against releasing units. Sales contracts allow for some delays.
“These who have some flexibility in their delivery pipelines will stall their delivery until rental or capital values of those units give much better returns,” said Nicholas Maclean, managing director of CBRE Middle East.
“Delivering they do not have a commitment to deliver these units, it is a sensible way of performing improvement. A essential weakness of some developments in Dubai in the last ten years or so was the lack of phasing in deliveries.”
CBRE estimates Dubai’s residential sector can absorb 20,000 new units each year just before vacancy rates increase.
“You’re seeing a a lot more pronounced influence this year, but there is usually going to be some slippage,” said Green.
He forecast sale rates would decline by about ten % in 2016, even though performances would differ markedly by district.
“Sales are driven by sentiment, outside influences, the currency circumstance, so you’ve a lot of external fundamentals influencing the investment selection, it’s not simple to forecast,” stated Green.
The UAE dirham is pegged to the dollar, which this year is up 9.2 percent versus the euro, six.6 percent against India’s rupee and two.eight % higher against the British pound. (Editing by David Clarke)
ANKARA Turkey might hold two separate referenda on whether or not to adopt a new constitution, and a proposed move to an executive presidential technique, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday.
Speaking on A Haber Tv, Davutoglu mentioned he would start talks with the opposition subsequent week on a new constitution and a feasible move away from the current parliamentary technique, and that the government would supply a peaceful atmosphere for discussions.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly named for an executive presidency that would give him higher powers, some thing opposition parties strongly oppose.
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay, writing by Jonny Hogg Editing by David Dolan)
Arsenal will face holders Barcelona in the Champions League final 16.
Chelsea have been drawn against Paris St-Germain for the third consecutive season, whilst Manchester City face Dynamo Kiev.
Roma versus Real Madrid and Juventus, last year’s beaten finalists, against Bayern Munich are two of the standout matches in the draw.
1st legs are scheduled to take spot on 16-17 and 23-24 February. Return legs are on 8-9 and 15-16 March.
The winners of each group, which includes Chelsea and Manchester City, are at home in the second legs, even though Arsenal will host their very first leg.
Barcelona v Arsenal is a repeat of the 2006 final, which the Spanish champions won 2-1 thanks to two late targets in Paris.
PSG, who are 17 points clear at the leading of the French league, knocked Chelsea out on away goals at this stage last season, whilst the Blues beat them on the exact same rule in the quarter-finals the earlier year.
Dynamo Kiev beat Manchester City in the 2010-11 Europa League final 16, with striker Mario Balotelli sent off for the English side.
The first leg in Kiev will be played in an empty stadium, as Dynamo Kiev had been punished following racist attacks on fans in the course of a group game against Chelsea.
The draw for the quarter-finals will be held on 18 March with the semi-final line-up drawn on 15 April.
BERLIN German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised at a congress of her conservative celebration on Monday to noticeably reduce the quantity of migrants getting into the nation.
“This challenge is huge,” she mentioned of the refugee crisis, adding that her government would “noticeably minimize” the inflow into Germany, which expects a lot more than a single million refugees to arrive this year.
Merkel was speaking at a congress of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) in Karlsruhe, western Germany. Faced with the prospect of a party revolt, Merkel has adopted tougher language towards refugees.