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Pope Francis cancels African trip to Congo, South Sudan, due to knee problem

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The planned visit of Pope Francis to Africa which was scheduled forJuly has been cancelled on doctors’ orders because troublesome knee problems, the Vatican said in a statement on Friday.

The cancellation of the trip has dashed the hopes of Catholic faithful in Congo and South Sudan who had looked forward to the historic visit of the 85-year-old pontiff, and has also raised questions about his health.

The statement quoted the Vatican as saying the July 2-7 visit which was meant to promote peace in the two African countries which have been grappling with with deadly violence, would be rescheduled “to a later date to be determined.”

“At the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee, the Holy Father has been forced to postpone, with regret, his Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and to South Sudan,” the Vatican statement said.

Pope Francis had been due to visit South Sudan with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the head of the Church of Scotland to “make a joint ecumenical appeal for peace” with the trip discussed as early as 2017, when South Sudan was still in the verge of a civil war, but security concerns kept postponing it.

An official with the Sudan and South Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Rev. John Gbemyoro, who spoke on the postponed visit, said the news has dashed the expectations of Christians in the two troubled countries.

“We don’t love to hear it. But we are asking God to heal him quickly because we still need him to come to South Sudan,” Gbemyoro said.

On his part, the Archbishop of Juba, Stephen Ameyu Martin, told reporters that South Sudan President Salva Kiir was “a bit sad” but understood the reason for the postponement of the visit.

“What can we do? It’s a health problem,” the Archbishop said, reminding disappointed South Sudanese that it could happen to anyone.

Fears over the African visit were raised last week after the Pope who has been using a wheelchair for a month due to strained ligaments in his right knee which that have made walking and standing difficult and painful, cancelled many of his regular functions.

He has also refused to get surgery, and has instead received injections, kept the knee as immobile as possible and walked with a cane or the help of an aide.

Musings From Abroad

US Supreme Court abolishes abortion right after almost 50-year precedence

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The US Supreme Court on Friday reversed a nearly half century old constitutional right to abortion.

Justice Samuel Alito who wrote for the Majority argued that the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling which had favoured abortion right “must be overruled” because they were “egregiously wrong,” the arguments “exceptionally weak” and so “damaging” that they amounted to “an abuse of judicial authority.”

The ruling comes after leaked draft of Roe vs Wade ruling which guaranteed abortion rights across the country has caused outrage last month.

The Roe vs Wade, ruling was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

Although the supreme court declined comment at the time of the leak in May, the Friday ruling perhaps confirmed the fears of many.

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, in a series of tweets while reacting to the leak stressed that “an extremist Supreme Court is poised to overturn #RoeVWade and impose its far-right, unpopular views on the entire country. It’s time for the millions who support the Constitution and abortion rights to stand up and make their voices heard. We’re not going back—not ever

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has drawn reactions from top politicians in the US. One of such is veteran congressman and Democrat, Benie Sanders who tweeted that “overturning Roe v. Wade and denying women the right to control their own bodies is an outrage and in defiance of what the American people want. Democrats must now end the filibuster in the Senate, codify Roe v. Wade, and once again make abortion legal and safe.”

American singer, Taylor Swift, also reacted against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. “I’m absolutely terrified that this is where we are – that after so many decades of people fighting for women’s rights to their own bodies, today’s decision has stripped us of that.” The singer said on twitter.

Also reacting to the ruling is US former president, Barrack Obama, who said “today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”

Meanwhile, there have also been reactions in support of the abolishing of the nearly 50 years of precedent, notably Americans with ideological sentiment with Republicans.

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Musings From Abroad

Elon Musk’s transgender child sever ties with father, seeks name change

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The 18-year-old transgender daughter of billionaire owner of electric car manufacturing company, Tesla, Elon Musk, has severed ties with her rich father and has filed a request to change her name in accordance with her new gender identity.

The petition for both a name change and a new birth certificate reflecting her new gender identity was filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Santa Monica in April.

Christened Xavier Alexander Musk at birth, the billionaire’s child who recently turned 18 which is the age of consent in California, has asked the court to legal authority to change her gender recognition from male to female and to register her new name.

While filing the petition, Xavier said he took the decision because “I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form.”

Xavier’s name, according to media reports, was redacted in documents to reflect his mother’s name which is Justine Wilson, who divorced Musk in 2008.

However, there was no further explanation of the rift between Musk’s daughter and her father, as lawyers for both parties refused to make further comments.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has been a vocal opponent of sex change and had spoken about the practice in the past.

In 2020, Musk weighed in on the issue of transgender people choosing their preferred pronouns in a tweet by saying, “I absolutely support trans, but all these pronouns are an esthetic (sic) nightmare.”

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