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Euro-report Euro-report
by Euro Reporter
2009-12-26 12:40:12
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Vatican’s protection

The Vatican says it plans to review its protection procedures in light of the recent breach during this year’s Christmas Eve Mass.  The outer security cordon surrounding the Pontiff is already tight. Those wishing to get close to the head of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics must pass through strict controls and spot checks. Benedict XVI also has his own personal army made up of a police force and the Vatican’s famous Swiss Guard. Despite that, the church has admitted providing watertight security is almost impossible.

‘‘People want to see him up close and he is pleased to see them too,” the Vatican’s spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi said. ‘‘A zero risk does not seem realistic in a situation in which there is a direct rapport with the people.’‘

Wednesday’s incident is not the first major security breach. In 2007, a mentally unstable man jumped a barrier, grabbing the back of the pope mobile before being stopped.  The most serious recent attack on a pope came in 1981 when John Paul II was shot and nearly killed in St Peter’s Square by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca.  Arguably whatever changes are made to security, it will continue to remain a difficult balancing act so long as the Pope wishes to be close to his followers.


Passenger thwarted in ‘bid to blow up’ plane

Security sources in the US say a man linked to al Qaeda has unsuccessfully tried to blow up a transatlantic flight. White House officials claim a 23-year-old Nigerian man set off an explosive device aboard a Delta Air Lines plane that had left Amsterdam and was approaching Detroit, before he was overpowered.  Those on the A330 airbus spoke about the incident.

“We heard a loud pop, then a bit of a smoke and then some flames and yelling and screaming. And then somebody said the guy was subdued and they took him out. It was really quick,” one female passenger said. “There was one guy, who sat on the other side, on the right side of the wing because this was on the left side of the wing. He jumped over all the other people and he took care of it so the fire went out,” another man said.

The suspect, who is now in custody, suffered third degree burns. Two passengers also sustained minor injuries.  Initial reports indicated the man had set off fire crackers but sources are now claiming the device was ‘fairly sophisticated.’


Italy's Berlusconi vows to defeat mafia by 2013

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has vowed to defeat organised crime in the country by 2013. "The mafia is a pathological phenomenon that we want to defeat once and for all by the end of this term in office," Mr Berlusconi told Italy's national radio.

"No government in the history of the republic has acted with as much determination and efficiency in the fight against criminal organisations".  Italian police have arrested hundreds of people in recent anti-mafia raids.  Those being held are accused of extortion, arms dealing and drugs trafficking.

Earlier this month, mafia informant Gaspare Spatuzza made an allegation that a Sicilian Mafia boss convicted of 1990s bombings had boasted of ties to Mr Berlusconi.  Gaspare Spatuzza said the Mafia boss claimed to have Mr Berlusconi's support.

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