Pope: Moon landing inspires progress on justice

US Vice President Mike Pence with astronaut Buzz Aldrin at the Kennedy Space Center. (AP)
Updated 22 July 2019

Pope: Moon landing inspires progress on justice

  • Mission commander Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the moon on July 20, 1969, died seven years ago

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis hopes that the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk inspires efforts to help our “common home” on Earth.
Francis told the public in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, the day after the anniversary of the July 20, 1969, lunar landing, that the feat achieved an “extraordinary dream.”
He expressed hope that the memory of “that great step for humanity” would spark the desire for progress on other fronts: “More dignity for the weak, more justice among people, more future for our common home.”
The pope’s remarks came as US Vice President Mike Pence marked the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first moon landing at the Apollo 11 launch site.
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin accompanied Pence to Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in the US and showed him the pad where he began that momentous journey 50 years ago. Aldrin later got a standing ovation during a speech by Pence.
Mission commander Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the moon on July 20, 1969, died seven years ago. Command module pilot Michael Collins did not attend the Florida celebration.
Pence says Apollo 11 is the only event of the 20th century that “stands a chance of being widely remembered in the 30th century.”
The vice president reiterated the Trump administration’s push to put Americans back on the moon by 2024.

BACKGROUND

Mission commander Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the moon on July 20, 1969, died seven years ago. Command module pilot Michael Collins did not attend the Florida celebration.

India is bidding to become just the fourth nation — after Russia, the US and China — to land a spacecraft on the moon.
India will make a second attempt on Monday to send a landmark spacecraft to the moon after an apparent fuel leak forced last week’s launch to be aborted.
The fresh launch attempt for Chandrayaan-2 — Moon Chariot 2 in some Indian languages including Sanskrit and Hindi — has been scheduled for 2:43 p.m. (0913 GMT) on Monday, the Indian Space Research Organization said.
“Chandrayaan 2 is ready to take a billion dreams to the Moon — now stronger than ever before!” it said on Thursday.
Chandrayaan-2 will be launched atop a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) MkIII, India’s most powerful rocket.
Experts said setbacks were to be expected in such missions given their complexity, and that it was more prudent to delay the launch instead of taking risks that may jeopardize the project.


Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan targeted by new rape complaint

Updated 25 August 2019

Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan targeted by new rape complaint

  • A woman in her 50s accused Ramadan of raping her along with a member of his staff
  • He has been charged in France with raping two women previously

PARIS: Tariq Ramadan, a leading Islamic scholar charged in France with raping two women, has also been accused of taking part in the gang rape of a journalist, French judicial sources said Sunday.
The sources confirmed reports on Europe 1 radio and in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that a woman in her 50s had accused Ramadan, 56, of raping her along with a member of his staff when she went to interview the academic at a hotel in Lyon in May 2014.
The woman, who filed a criminal complaint in May 2019, also accused Ramadan of issuing “threats or acts of intimidation” aimed at dissuading her from reporting the alleged attack to the police, the judicial sources added.
Ramadan, a married father of four whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, was a professor at Oxford University until he was forced to take leave when rape allegations surfaced at the height of the “Me Too” movement in late 2017.
He has denied charges he raped a disabled woman in 2009 and a feminist activist in 2012.
He was taken into custody in February 2018 and held for nine months before being granted bail.
Authorities in Switzerland are also investigating him after receiving a rape complaint in that country.
His lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, refused to comment Sunday on the latest allegations against him in France.
The woman behind the latest complaint told police that Ramadan and a male assistant repeatedly raped her in Ramadan’s room at the Sofitel hotel in Lyon.
She described the alleged attack as being of “untold violence” and claimed that when she threatened to report them to the police Ramadan replied: “You don’t know how powerful I am.”
She also claimed that Ramadan had contacted her via the Messenger app in January, two months after his release from jail, saying that he wanted to make her an “offer” of a “professional nature,” without giving details.