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Vatican communications chief quits over ‘lettergate’ row

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The Vatican’s communications chief resigned Wednesday amid a controversy about the alleged manipulation of a letter written by retired pope Benedict XVI about his successor Pope Francis.

Monsignor Dario Vigano stepped down over the row — that has since become known as “lettergate” — in which he was accused of manipulating a private letter by Benedict XVI to help publicise part of the celebrations marking Francis’ five years as pope.

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At a presentation on March 12 of a collection of books on Francis’ theology, Vigano read a letter from Benedict XVI praising the “deep philosophical and theological training” of his successor.

The press release from the event similarly featured Benedict XVI’s praise for the current pontiff, as if the letter was written for the anniversary.

But it turned out that Benedict’s letter was in fact simply a private response from a month earlier to a request to review the 11 books in the collection.

And in his response, Benedict actually said he would not have time to write the review.

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Following the presentation of the books, the Vatican published a photo of the letter, but only of the first page containing Benedict’s praise of Francis.

The first two lines of the part containing his refusal to write a review were blurred to make them illegible.

The controversy is pertinent, because Vigano was carrying out a vast media reform within the Vatican. And the row raged for several days, eventually forcing the Vatican to publish the entire letter on March 17.

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This led to Vigano’s resignation on Wednesday, which Francis accepted in a letter.

“After carefully reflecting and thinking over the reasons for your request… I respect your decision and I accept with some difficulty your resignation,” said the letter, which was made public by the Vatican.


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What Zelensky knew: The devastating and darkly ironic impact of Trump’s attempt to bribe Ukraine

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In their effort to exculpate President Donald Trump in the impeachment inquiry, Republicans put Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s denial that he ever felt pressure from the White House to open up investigations into Democrats at the center of their argument. A new GOP memo says that both leaders have acknowledged “there was no pressure” on the famous July 25 call that sparked the inquiry and thus argues that the allegations made by Democrats that Trump abused his power don’t hold.

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Greta Thunberg says ‘people must finally wake up’ to the fact Trump is ‘so extreme’ on climate change

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Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg said Tuesday that US President Donald Trump's climate change denialism was "so extreme" that it had helped galvanize the movement to halt long term planetary warming.

She spoke in an interview with AFP on the eve of her departure from North America where she has spent almost three months.

"He's so extreme and he says so extreme things, so I think people wake up by that in a way," the 16-year-old said from on board a sailboat preparing to depart from the East Coast town of Hampton, Virginia for Europe early Wednesday.

"I thought when he got elected, now people will finally, now people must finally wake up," she continued.

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Trump praises ‘amazing warrior’ Sean Hannity for saying impeachment hearings are a ‘phony showtrial’

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President Donald Trump thanked Fox News personality Sean Hannity for his over-the-top defense the evening before impeachment hearings begin.

According to Trump's quoting, Hannity said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was a, "corrupt, compromised, coward and congenital liar."

Hannity called the Schiff's Intelligence Committee hearings a "phony showtrial" -- despite the reality that an impeachment trial would occur in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Still, Hannity lashed out at the inquiry as "another fraudulent hoax conspiracy theory" and "witch hunt."

Trump thanked, "Sean the amazing warrior!"

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