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Prayer Vigil for Vatican as Pope expresses sorrow over terrorist attacks and prayed that God will sustain all men of goodwill who courageously roll up their sleeves to deal with the plague of terrorism and this bloodstain which is gripping the world in a shadow of fear and bewilderment


VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis in his New Year’s greetings yesterday declared 2017 will be good to the degree that people do good and reject hatred, as he prayed for those courageously dealing with terrorism gripping the world in ``fear and bewilderment.’’

“`The new year will be good in the measure in which each of us, with the help of God, tries to do good, day by day, that’s how peace is created,”’ Francis told a crowd of 50,000 pilgrims, tourists and Romans gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his noon blessing and New Year’s Day remarks.

Francis advised people to ``say no to hate and violence and yes to brotherhood and reconciliation.’’ The Roman Catholic church dedicates the first day of the year to the theme of peace.

He also told those standing in the bitingly cold air that the new year had already begun badly.

``Unfortunately, violence has struck even on this night of well-wishes and hope,’’ he said, referring to the attack on an Istanbul nightclub filled with New Year’s revelers early Sunday that left 39 dead and dozens wounded.

``In sorrow, I express my closeness to the Turkish people, I pray for the numerous victims and wounded, and for all the nation in mourning,’’ Francis said.

He then prayed that God will sustain ``all men of goodwill who courageously roll up their sleeves to deal with the plague of terrorism and this bloodstain which is gripping the world in a shadow of fear and bewilderment.’’ – AP

Prayer Vigil for Istanbul as Terrorist dressed in ‘Santa Claus’ kills 39 on New Year's Celebration 2017

ISTANBUL – An assailant believed to have been dressed in a Santa Claus costume opened fire at a crowded nightclub in Istanbul during New Year’s celebrations, killing at least 39 people and wounding close to 70 others in what the province’s governor described as a terror attack.

Gov. Vasip Sahin said the attacker, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside the club at around 1:45 a.m. yesterday before entering and firing on people partying inside. He did not say who may have carried out the attack.

“Unfortunately (he) rained bullets in a very cruel and merciless way on innocent people who were there to celebrate New Year’s and have fun,” Sahin told reporters.

In Manila, the Department of Foreign Affairs said no Filipino was killed in the attack on an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Eve.

“So far there are no reports of any Filipino casualty in the Istanbul nightclub shooting,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a text message.

Private NTV news channel said the assailant entered the Reina nightclub, in Istanbul’s Ortakoy district, dressed in a Santa Claus outfit.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the man was still on the run, adding: “efforts to find the terrorist are continuing.”

“Our security forces have started the necessary operations. God willing he will be caught in a short period of time,” the minister said.

At least 16 of the dead were foreign nationals, Soylu said, without providing information on their nationalities. Five of the victims were identified as Turkish nationals while authorities were still trying to identify 18 of the victims. At least 69 people were being treated in hospitals, four in serious condition, Soylu said.

Some customers jumped into the waters of the Bosporus to escape the attack, the report said.

Sinem Uyanik was in the club with her husband who was wounded in the attack.

“Before I could understand what was happening, my husband fell on top me,” she said outside Istanbul’s Sisli Etfal Hospital. “I had to lift several bodies from top of me before I could get out. It was frightening.” Her husband was not in serious condition despite sustaining three wounds.

Police with riot gear and machine guns backed up by armored vehicles blocked the area close to the Reina nightclub, one of the most popular night spots in Istanbul. Several ambulances flashing blue lights arrived on the scene, some taking wounded to hospitals.

The White House condemned what it called a “horrific terrorist attack” and offered US help to Turkey.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said President Barack Obama was briefed on the attack by his national security team and asked to be updated as the situation developed. Obama is vacationing in Hawaii this week with his family.

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the attack on “innocent revelers” celebrating New Year’s shows the attackers’ savagery.

“Our thoughts are with victims and their loved ones. We continue to work to prevent these tragedies,” European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini tweeted.

An estimated 600 people were celebrating inside the club that is also frequented by famous locals, including singers, actors and sports stars. Several shocked revelers were seen fleeing the scene after the attack and the music fell silent.

The country has been rocked by a series of deadly attacks in 2016 carried out by the Islamic State group or Kurdish militants, killing more than 180 people.

On Dec. 10, a double bomb attack outside a soccer stadium – located near the Reina nightclub – killed 44 people and wounded 149 others. The attack was claimed by Turkey-based Kurdish militant group, the Kurdish Freedom Falcons. Nine days later, an off-duty Turkish riot policeman assassinated Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov at a photo exhibition in the capital, Ankara. The government has suggested that a movement led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind the killing – an accusation the cleric has denied.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag vowed that Turkey would press ahead with its fight against violent groups.

“Turkey will continue its determined and effective combat to root out terror,” Bozdag said on Twitter.

Security measures had been heightened in major Turkish cities, with police barring traffic leading up to key squares in Istanbul and the capital Ankara. In Istanbul, 17,000 police officers were put on duty, some camouflaged as Santa Claus and others as street vendors, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported.

–AP, Pia Lee-Brago

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/santa-claus-kills-39-istanbul-000000539.html

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Prayer Vigil for Vatican as Pope expresses sorrow over terrorist attacks and prayed that God will sustain all men of goodwill who courageously roll up their sleeves to deal with the plague of terrorism and this bloodstain which is gripping the world in a shadow of fear and bewilderment

Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador

Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador
I choose to be a Missionary of the Interfaith, Interracial, Intercultural Sailing for Peace Program inspired and guided by the discipline and life of the Virgin Mary of the Catholic Church. I am a Catholic, a Lady Datin of the Muslims, a Buddhist in my Healthy Lifestyle and a Hindu in Purifying my Soul. With Free Thinking and Scientific Approach to my Peace Work, my life on the over-all is a whirlwind of Faith and Fate. I refuse donations to my peace work to prevent corruption but rather I decided to live a very simple so that I can fund it personally through my own personal income as Professional Resource Speaker, Author, Visual Artist, Playwright and Director

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