’Exhausted’ Pope cancels meeting with Sri Lanka bishops

Updated 13 January 2015
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’Exhausted’ Pope cancels meeting with Sri Lanka bishops

COLOMBO: Pope Francis has canceled a planned meeting with Sri Lankan bishops, with one security official saying he was “exhausted” after a long journey from the airport exposed to the hot sun.
The 78-year-old, who arrived in Colombo on an Asia tour that will also take him to the Philippines, took over an hour to travel into the city from the airport on roads thronged with well-wishers.
The Pope traveled in an open-top car with no protection from the strong sun and after a long overnight flight from Rome.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said only that the meeting with the bishops had been canceled due to the pope’s late arrival from the airport.
But a source working on security arrangements who asked not to be named said that the pontiff looked “exhausted” after his journey.
Pope Francis has shunned the pomp of his predecessors, and said earlier this year he prefers not to use the bulletproof “popemobile” favored by previous pontiffs.
Journalists traveling with him said he appeared on good form during the flight.


Portugal says Iranian visas suspended for consulate upgrade

Updated 25 min 8 sec ago
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Portugal says Iranian visas suspended for consulate upgrade

  • The suspension is temporary
  • Portuguese FM earlier said they suspended visas for unspecified security reasons

LISBON: Portugal stopped issuing entry visas for Iranian nationals while it upgrades security at its consulate in Tehran, not because of political issues or any security threats, the Portuguese foreign ministry said.

The suspension is temporary and alternatives will be put in place to issue travel documents to those who need them, the ministry said in a statement released late on Tuesday.

The move “does not result from an assessment of the general security conditions in Iran or any other institutional or political aspect,” the ministry said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told a parliamentary committee that the issuance of visas had been suspended for unspecified security reasons.

Joao Goncalves Pereira, a lawmaker from the conservative CDS-PP party who had asked the minister about the suspension during the committee hearings, said that according to his information visas for Iranians had been suspended for two or three weeks.

The Iran embassy in Lisbon said a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry would issue a statement soon.