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Pope leads Good Friday procession highlighting modern-day slaves’ plight

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Pope Francis on Friday led the traditional Easter week “Way of the Cross” procession in Rome, which was this year took the theme of modern-day slavery and human trafficking, including the prostitutes who ply their trade on Italy’s streets.

The ceremony, taking place on Good Friday in the Christian calendar which marks the day Christ was crucified, took its theme from meditations written by Catholic nun Eugenia Bonetti, who has spent much of her life in Africa and also attended the event.

 AFP / Vincenzo PINTO Italian nun Eugenia Bonetti, who composed this year’s mediations for the Way of the Cross

The event spotlighted sex slaves “used” but “condemned by a society which refuses to see this kind of exploitation”.

The text was read aloud as the procession continued through the streets of Rome, ending outside the iconic Coliseum, once the site of persecution against Christians under the Roman Empire.

AFP / Vincenzo PINTO Pope Francis presides over the Way of the Cross torchlight procession

Pope Francis, in a prayer at the end of the ceremony, spoke of “the cross of those who thirst for justice and peace”.

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Around 20,000 Christian faithful gathered around the great Roman amphitheatre, many holding lighted candles following the evening ceremony in silence.

The Pope spoke of those bearing “all the crosses of the world” including “those who hunger for bread and for love” and “those who find doors closed because of fear, and hearts sealed by political calculations”.

The Argentinian pontiff also alluded to the secularisation of modern society, where the faithful “we believing in you and trying to live according to your word, find themselves marginalised and discarded even by their families and their peers”.

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Longtime Trump loyalist warns the president that his racist tweets are about to permanently stain his image

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On Tuesday, former Trump administration official Anthony Scaramucci criticized President Trump for telling four freshman congresswomen to go back to their own countries. All four are American citizens.

Scaramucci accused the president of playing to his base, in a way that has dangerous manifestations: for the president and the country.

“He’s blowing very hard on a dog-whistle that every ethnic group that’s landed in the United States has had to hear,” Scaramucci told the BBC.

“I don’t think the president is a racist, but here’s the thing: if you continue to say and act in that manner, then we all have to look at him and say, ‘OK, well, maybe you weren’t a racist, but now you’re turning into one.'”

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Ted Cruz defends Trump by comparing him to Twitter trolls who tell him to go back to Canada

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday issued an unusual defense of President Donald Trump's racist remarks against four Democratic congresswomen by comparing the president to an internet troll.

According to Politico reporter Burgess Everett, Cruz deflected criticism of Trump's racist tweets against Reps. Rashiba Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) by arguing that "lefties on Twitter every day" tell him to "go back" to Canada, where he was born in 1970.

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Senators press Facebook on ‘trust’ in hearing on digital currency

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US senators Tuesday questioned whether Facebook can be trusted with a massive financial responsibility at the first public hearing on its plan for a global digital currency called Libra.

The lawmakers added to criticism of the plan unveiled by Facebook last month with two dozen partners on the digital coin, touted as a way to lower costs and facilitate cross-border money transfers.

David Marcus, Facebook's executive heading the digital coin effort, defended the plan during more than two hours at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Libra, pledging to comply with all regulations to thwart money laundering and criminal activity.

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