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Brother to peer into Vatican tombs in search of missing teenage sister

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Teenager Emanuela Orlandi went missing in Italy 36-years ago, but her big brother Pietro has never stopped looking for her.

As the Vatican prepares to exhume two graves tipped to possibly hold her remains, his search may soon be over — though the 60-year old told AFP on Wednesday he still hopes to find her alive.

“I’ve always hoped she’s alive, and to find her alive,” says Orlandi, whose 88-year-old mother still lives within the Vatican walls.

“But if Emanuela is dead and is buried there, it’s right that what has been hidden for so many years come to light”.

Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee, was last seen leaving a music class aged 15, and theories have circulated for decades about who took her and where her body may lie.

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The tombs will be opened Thursday after the family’s lawyer received an anonymous tip-off with a picture of an angel-topped grave in the Teutonic Cemetery.

The Vatican said it was acting on a request by the Orlandi family to look into “the possible concealment of her body” there.

The small, leafy cemetery, usually the last resting place for German-speaking members of Catholic institutions, lies beyond St Peter’s Basilica in an area off limits to tourists.

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Behind a wrought-iron gate lie neat rows of tombstones, some shaded by palm trees, others bordered by pink roses.

– ‘Pray at her grave’ –

“My mother hopes to know what happened before she dies,” said white-haired Orlandi.

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The tombs in question belong to two princesses, buried in 1836 and 1840.

Their remains will be removed and examined on site by a forensic anthropologist who is expected to roughly date the bones — depending on their condition — and extract material for a DNA analysis.

According to some theories widely circulated in Italian media, the teen was snatched by a mobster gang to put pressure on the Vatican to recover a loan.

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Another oft-repeated claim in the press was that she was taken to force the release from prison of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who attempted to assassinate Pope Jean Paul II in 1981.

– Vatican ‘knows something’ –

Orlandi and his mother met with the current pope, Francis, shortly after his election in 2013.

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“He said just one thing, first to my mother, then to me: ‘Emanuela is in heaven’,” Orlandi said.

“I said, ‘I hope she’s still alive and that you are going to help me find the truth’. He repeated ‘Emanuela is in heaven'”.

“That sentence hurt me. An investigation is ongoing, we don’t know if Emanuela is alive or dead.

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“In that moment I told myself, ‘he knows something, more than us’,” he said.

“How did she die? Where are her remains? If she is in heaven, where are her remains?”

Orlandi grew up inside the walled Vatican City. Now retired, he spends some of his time helping families with missing relatives.

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His father died in 2005 without knowing what happened to his daughter.


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‘There’s no racial tension’: Trump claims ‘fantastic relationships’ with black people after ‘go back’ tweet

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President Donald Trump asserted on Monday that he has "fantastic relationships" with the black community after he told four congresswomen to "go back" to where they came from.

At a White House meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump was asked if he was experiencing any blowback from the African-American community.

"There’s no racial tension," the president said, according to a pool report. "We have fantastic relationships with the African American community and I think you’ll see that in 2020."

Via pooler @DavidNakamura: T"rump says: 'There’s no racial tension.' Trump notes low unemployment for black Americans. 'We have fantastic relationships with the African American community and I think you’ll see that in 2020.' "

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Yale psychiatrist explains the root of Trump’s ‘pathological racism’

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On Monday morning, President Donald Trump once again escalated his conflict with "the Squad," the group of freshman Congresswomen of color he told to go back to their own countries. Although moderate Republicans had hoped last week that the President would tone down his remarks, on Monday he once again doubled down on Twitter.

"The “Squad” is a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart. They are pulling the once great Democrat Party far left, and were against humanitarian aid at the Border...And are now against ICE and Homeland Security. So bad for our Country!" he tweeted.

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As Trump tweets more racism on his way to ‘pay respect’ to Justice Stevens, Ilhan Omar calls for cancelling student debt in US

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"Trump continues to foment hate and racism that is endangering the lives of women of color in Congress and so many others. We all need to call it out. And it must end NOW."

On his way to visit the casket of former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens—lying in repose at the U.S. Supreme Court following his death last week—President Donald Trump on Monday took the time during the short trip to the courthouse to call four members of Congress "a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart."

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