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Holocaust Memorial Day: Pope Francis remembers millions of World War II Nazi Holocaust victims

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Remains of Victims in the Nazi Camp, Wikimedia
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Vatican City, Jan 27, 2017: Pope Francis on Friday remembered the millions of victims of the Nazi Holocaust during the Second World War.

“Today I want to remember in my heart all the victims of the Holocaust,” Francis wrote on Holocaust Memorial Day. “May their sufferings and their tears never be forgotten,” read the tweet from his nine-language @pontifex account.

Events are taking place internationally on Friday to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in southern Poland by the Soviet army on January 27, 1945.

Eleven million people including six million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust between 1941-45.

Besides Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the disabled and political and Church-based opponents were murdered. (IANS)

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Goodbye Holy Smoke, Vatican City bans Sale of Cigarettes

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking.

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sale of cigarettes
The faithful gather in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. VOA

Vatican City, November 10, 2017 : Pope Francis has ordered a ban on the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican from next year because of health concerns, a spokesman said on Thursday.

“The motive is very simple: the Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people,” spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement.

He cited World World Health Organization (WHO) statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.

Cigarettes have been sold at a discounted price to Vatican employees and pensioners.

Vatican employees are allowed to buy five cartons of cigarettes a month. Many Italians ask their non-smoking friends who work in the Vatican to buy cigarettes for them because they cost much less than in Italy, where they are subject to heavy taxes.

Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, adding, “However, no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”

The spokesman said the sale of large cigars would continue at least for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking. Bhutan, where smoking is deemed bad for one’s karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. (VOA)

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