Egypt's Sisi names 13 ministers in Cabinet reshuffle    CIB's Ahmed Issa becomes Egypt new Tourism and Antiquities Minister – Profile    Egypt's parliament approves Cabinet reshuffle in extraordinary session    Sisi calls for extraordinary parliament session to agree on major Cabinet reshuffle    Mayo Clinic researchers pinpoint genetic variations that might sway course of COVID-19    Gold prices in Egypt on August 11    Saudi Electricity gets $567.5 million to finance power interconnection project with Egypt    Egypt's Mersal Foundation secures UN Women loan    Egypt's Health Ministry launches Emergency scooter    Ukraine cuts off Russian oil from 3 countries    Egypt, South Korea to perform Pyramids Air Show 2022 Today    Spain: prosecutor seeks 8 years sentence for Shakira over tax evasion    Egypt: Alamein Art Festival kicks off a collection of recycled installations    John Legend enjoys family trip in Egypt    Sisi: Egypt wants to join BRICS    Egypt: street photography will no longer require permits    Egypt's athlete Basma Emad wins bronze in weightlifting in Mediterranean Games    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Energized pope cracks jokes, greets fans in Slovakia
Published in Ahram Online on 13 - 09 - 2021

Pope Francis cracked jokes Monday and took an ambling walk to greet well-wishers as he opened his first full day in Slovakia in good health and spirits ahead of a solemn encounter with the country's Jewish community.
Francis arrived at the presidential palace, and later at the capital's St. Martin cathedral, looking rested and energized on the second day of his four-day pilgrimage to Hungary and Slovakia, which marks his first international outing since undergoing intestinal surgery in July.
'I'm still alive!' Francis quipped when asked by an Italian journalist how he was feeling as he walked up a ramp into the cathedral for a meeting with Slovak priests and nuns, where he cracked a series of jokes in a sign he was in good spirits.
Francis, 84, has been recovering after having 33 centimeters (13 inches) of his colon removed for what the Vatican said was a severe narrowing of the large intestine. He has seemed in good form, though he used a golf cart buggy indoors on Sunday during a rigorous few hours in Budapest to limit a long walk, and has been delivering some speeches sitting down.
But he stood for a long time to greet priests and bishops _ nearly all of them maskless _ at the end of his meeting. And he then took an extended walk around the cathedral piazza to greet pilgrims, clearly enjoying the welcome and enthusiasm of the crowd after the coronavirus put a stop to his global travels for over a year.
At his first stop of the day at the Bratislava presidential palace, Francis told President Zuzana Caputova, Slovakia's first female president, that the coronavirus pandemic had been the greatest test in recent history, but that it should offer a lesson for the future.
'It has taught us how easy it is, even when we are all in the same boat, to withdraw and think only of ourselves. Let us instead set out anew from the realization that all of us are frail and in need of others'.
Ahead of a rigorous two days hop-scotching around Slovakia, Francis is spending Monday in Bratislava where the highlight of his visit is an afternoon encounter at the capital's Holocaust memorial, built on the site of a synagogue destroyed by the communist regime in the 1960s.
He goes into the event having called on Sunday for Christians and Jews to work together to stop the rise of antisemitism in Europe, saying it is a 'fuse which must not be allowed to burn'.
Slovakia declared its independence from Czechoslovakia on March 14, 1939, and became a Nazi puppet state with politician and Roman Catholic priest Jozef Tiso becoming the country's president.
Under his rule, the country adopted strict anti-Jewish laws and deported some 75,000 Jews to Nazi death camps where some 68,000 perished. Tiso was sentenced to death and hanged in 1947.
Now, only about 5,000 Jews live in Slovakia, a largely Roman Catholic country of 5.5 million currently ruled by a four-party center-right coalition government.
Just last week, the government formally apologized for the racial laws that stripped the country's Jews of their human and civil rights, prevented their access to education and authorized the transfer of their property to non-Jewish owners.
Marking the 80th anniversary of the 'Jewish Code' adopted on Sept 9, 1941, the government said in a statement Sept. 8 that it 'feels a moral obligation today to publicly express sorrow over the crimes committed by the past regime'.
The code was considered one of the toughest anti-Jewish laws adopted in Europe during the war.
Slovakia is now home to the far-right People's Party Our Slovakia, which has had members in Slovakia's Parliament since 2016. The party openly advocates the legacy of the Slovak Nazi puppet World War II state. Its members use Nazi salutes and want Slovakia out of the European Union and NATO.

Clic here to read the story from its source.