Wednesday, December 11, 2013
New Orthodox Coptic pope enthroned in ceremony
The new pope of Egypt's Orthodox Coptic church was enthroned Sunday in an elaborate ceremony lasting nearly four hours, attended by the nation's Muslim prime minister and a host of Cabinet ministers and politicians.
Pope Tawadros II, 60, was elected Nov. 4, but the official enthronement ceremony was held Sunday at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo. He replaced Shenouda III, who died in March after leading the ancient church for 40 years.
The packed cathedral repeatedly erupted into applause as the ceremony progressed. The ceremony's climax came when the papal crown was placed on Tawadros' head before he sat on the throne of St. Mark, the Coptic church's founding saint.
Tawadros did not address the televised ceremony, but had a brief speech read on his behalf by one of the church's leaders in which he pledged to work for the good of Egypt, with its Muslims and Christians alike.
Egypt's Christians make up about 10 percent of the nation's estimated 83 million people, making them the largest single Christian community in the Middle East.
Pro-, anti-gay marriage marchers clash at march
The controversial Ukrainian group Femen, whose topless members stage pranks to support gay rights, have taunted a march in Paris by Catholics who oppose France's draft law to legalize gay marriage.
The Catholic group Civitas organized Sunday's march by several thousand people carrying pro-family banners.
Several Femen activists turned up topless, chanted "In gay we trust" and sprayed white powder from bottles.
That prompted several anti-gay marriage protesters to hit the Femen members and push them to the ground.
On Saturday several thousand people took to the streets in cities across France to protest the draft law, which could see marriage and adoption legalized for homosexual couples early next year.
Parade where vets killed used route for three years
Organizers of a parade in West Texas in which four U.S. military veterans were killed when a train plowed into a truck had been using the same route for three years, investigators said Sunday.
National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Mark Rosekind also announced that oilfield services company Smith Industries was the owner of the truck that served as the float the veterans were on during Thursday's parade in Midland.
Rosekind said the company was cooperating with investigators, who expect to interview the driver Monday. The NTSB declined to release the driver's name.
Rick B. Smith, Smith Industries' CEO, did not immediately respond to calls or emails seeking comment.
Investigators have said the truck began crossing the train tracks even though warning bells were sounding and lights were flashing. However, some Midland residents said they believe the signal time is too short.
-- From news service reports