Pope was advised to limit air travel, says report

Updated 20 February 2013
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Pope was advised to limit air travel, says report

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI is nearly blind in one eye and was advised by his doctor to limit air travel because of his high blood pressure, the website Vatican Insider reported on Wednesday.
The report also said the 85-year-old pontiff often has problems sleeping and has fallen out of bed several times in recent years on foreign trips, making him tired in public appearances.
The report was based on indiscretions from papal aides that Vatican affairs specialist Marco Tosatti said he had promised to keep secret until the end of the pontificate on February 28.
“The picture is of a progressive deterioration of his health and his energy — a context that fully justifies the difficult decision that the pope has taken,” Tosatti wrote after the pope said he would step down due to old age.
The report cited the pope’s doctor Patrizio Polisca saying two years ago that Benedict’s blood pressure was having “major jumps” and insisting that he spend “as little time as possible in a plane because of the dangers.”
Tosatti added that Benedict had been expressly advised not to make the transatlantic flight to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day later this year.
In his report, Tosatti also said the pope could “almost no longer see” out of his left eye and therefore had to be helped up and down steps.
The report said Benedict even began using a walking stick to get around his own residence last year because his left hip and knee were hurting.
The Vatican last week revealed the pope had hit his head and bled during a trip to Mexico last year and underwent surgery three months ago to replace the batteries in a pacemaker he was fitted with while he was still a cardinal.


The Royal Wedding’s ‘zaghrata’ mystery — who was ‘ululating’ as Harry and Meghan left the chapel?

Updated 21 May 2018
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The Royal Wedding’s ‘zaghrata’ mystery — who was ‘ululating’ as Harry and Meghan left the chapel?

LONDON: As the dust settles on the weekend’s royal wedding extravaganza, Arab interest has switched from speculation over Meghan Markle’s dress to a more pressing mystery — who was ululating as the couple emerged from the chapel?
The high-pitched celebratory noise traditionally reserved for major celebrations in the Middle East were clearly audible as the newly weds paused at the top of the steps outside St. George’s Chapel in Windsor on Saturday. They again rang out as the couple descended the steps into the sunshine and the welcoming embrace of the crowds.
Was there an Arab guest in the crowd expressing their excitement for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their own inimitable fashion?
The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office tweeted a video on their Arabic account of the supposed ululations, saying: “Maybe you can hear the ‘Zaghrata’ at the moment Harry and Meghan leave the church after the wedding?”


Zaghrata is a form of ululation practiced in the region.
Rima Maktabi — London bureau chief at the Al Arabiya News Channel, who was covering the wedding — told Arab News: “I heard it first when Harry went into the church and then when Meghan went inside, I didn’t understand what it was.
“The commentators were saying that they heard ‘international sounds’, and then as they came out, it was clear.”
However, the Arab claim to be the source of ululation is facing a challenge from a grandmother from Lesotho who told British media that Harry had pointed out to her and smiled as she made the noise.
Malineo Motsephe, 70, traveled from the African nation for the wedding, having met Harry through her work with one of his charities.
Ululating, it turns out, is as common a cultural phenomenon in parts of Africa as it is in the Arab world.