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Decoding complex aspects of Vatican City hidden under the wraps

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1280px-St_Peter's_Square,_Vatican_City_-_April_2007

By Harshmeet Singh

Vatican City, the world’s smallest and the least populated independent country is a mystery to many people around the world. A walled enclave within the Italian capital, Rome, Vatican City has a population of 842! And among those 842 citizens is the Pope – the leader of Catholic Church. The history of the Vatican is one complex and interesting story!

Papal States

Earlier in the day, most of today’s Italy came under ‘Papal States’ which was ruled by the Popes. During their rule, they also established the St. Peter’s Basilica which was the world’s largest church at that time. This church was constructed in a hilly area, known as Vatican. After the church came up, the Popes decided to build a wall around the church, to protect it from foreign attacks.

In 1870, the Kingdom of Italy captured Rome. After the capture, the erstwhile Pope hid behind the walls of the Vatican, which has since been the capital of the Catholic Church. Italy decided against attacking the Vatican, thinking that it might have religious consequences. Rather, Italy decided to be patient and what for the Pope to come out of the walled Vatican; a wait that didn’t end for 6 decades.

And then entered Benito Mussolini

Worried over Italy’s negative image being propagated worldwide due to Pope’s accusations of ‘imposed imprisonment’, Italy’s then Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini decided to strike a deal (Lateran treaty) with the Pope. According to the deal, Italy would give the Vatican’s land to the Pope along with some financial compensation. In return, the Pope must acknowledge the existence of Italy and remain neutral during any future conflicts or in politics.

With the signing of the deal, the world got a new country, Vatican City. Today, that country has all the aspects of a sovereign nation, including its own laws, king, stamps, etc.

Understanding the Vatican

Apart from the incredibly famous Pope, Vatican City is also home to a King and the Holy See! The throne of the Pope is given the name – Holy See. Apart from the throne, The Holy See is also the name given to the rules of the Catholic Church.

One of the least known aspects about the Vatican is that it is a monarch with absolute power to the King. And surprisingly enough, there are no talks about the King of Vatican City! This is what makes Vatican one of the few countries to use Euro as a currency without being a part of the European Union. Since EU membership is only given to democratic nations, Vatican can’t be a member nation of the EU.

Here comes the most puzzling piece of information – The King of the Vatican is the same person as the Pope! In his capacity as the King, he can overrule any decision of the legislative within the Vatican without giving any reason. It is, in fact, a unique case of an elected leader getting limitless power within a country.

And the confusion goes far beyond

Vatican City, despite being recognized as a nation, isn’t a member of the United Nations. In fact, it is The Holy See that holds a permanent observer status in the UN, but without any voting rights. Confused? There are still some more weird facts to go! There are no female citizens in the Vatican, meaning that no one is born a Vatican citizen. The only way to gain the membership of Vatican City is to be granted the same by the King. And the King only grants membership to those who serve the Holy See. In short, only the servants of the Pope get to be the citizens of Vatican City. The citizenship ends as soon as the person resigns from the job.

According to the Lateran treaty signed between Mussolini and the Pope, if a person loses his citizenship of Vatican City and isn’t a citizen of any other nation, he would be automatically recognized as an Italian citizen.

Due to its extremely small size (44 hectares), Vatican City is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t house any foreign embassies. The embassies to the Holy See are located in Rome.

With many more such complex aspects of Vatican City hidden under the wraps, the country remains an enigma for the outer world. But perhaps what is more important is to understand the faith and belief that billions of Catholic around the world have in this tiny nation and everything that it engulfs.

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Royal Enfield launches Interceptor, Continental GT 650 in India

The two motorcycles were unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Italy's Milan.

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Royal Enfield's new trump cards
The two motorcycles were unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Italy's Milan on November 7, 2017. Wikimedia Commons

The Royal Enfield on Sunday unveiled its much-awaited Interceptor GT 650 and Continental GT 650 in front of hundreds of bike enthusiasts at its annual rider mania here.
Both the motorcycles are powered by an all-new 650cc, air-cooled parallel twin engines with an oil cooler for enhanced performance. The fuel injected motor claims to deliver 47PS of power at 7,100rpm and a peak torque of 52Nm at 4,000rpm.
The two motorcycles were unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Italy’s Milan on November 7, 2017.
The engines have a strong low and mid-range performance, retaining the Royal Enfield character of accessible torque through the rev range.
Also new to the Interceptor is the six-speed gearbox, specially developed for this motorcycle.
The gearbox is augmented by its ‘slip/assist’ clutch that facilitates easy riding in traffic with a light feel and prevents wheel-hop when downshifting gears – also a first for Royal Enfield.
The chassis has been developed from the ground up by the team at Royal Enfield’s UK Technology Centre and Harris Performance.
It has been engineered and fine-tuned for enhanced agility that can handle different terrains and speeds with ease while retaining the period classic style.
The Interceptor INT 650 ushers in the idea of the 1960’s fun, relaxed motorcycles from the sun-drenched California beaches.
With its classic tear-drop shaped fuel-tank, quilted twin-seat and distinctive wide braced handlebars, the Interceptor INT 650 looks every bit the stunning Roadster that it is.
The motorcycle is equipped with classic 18″ front and rear Pirelli tyres and twin shock absorbers, along with front and rear disc brakes with ABS.
While, the Continental GT 650 is a cafe-racer and looks almost identical to the existing Continental GT 535 as it retains the same headlamp, fuel tank and many other elements from its sibling while the rear has gone through some changes along with the new dual side exhaust muffler.
Speaking after unveiling the new motorcycles, Royal Enfield CEO and MD Siddharth Lal said: “Both the Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650 will be very accessible motorcycles in India in terms of both pricing and maintenance.”
He said that with the two new motorcycles, the company wants to upgrade their 2.5 million customers in India who wants more from the Royal Enfield.
He also said that the new motorcycles will be available in the showrooms by March or April. Without announcing the prices of the new motorcycles, Lal hinted that it would be priced between Rs 3 lakh and 3.5 lakh. (IANS)