JERUSALEM – Israelis from all walks of life flocked to parliament Sunday to catch a glimpse of Ariel Sharon’s coffin and pay their final respects to the iconic former prime minister and general.
A stream of visitors ranging from former army comrades to political allies to citizens who only knew him from afar remembered Sharon as a decisive leader, for better or for worse, and one of the final heroes of Israel’s founding generation.
Words escape me. He was just a man who was larger than life, said a choked-up Shlomo Mann, 68, who served under Sharon’s command in the 1973 Mideast war. Those who didn’t know him from up close can’t truly understand what a legend he was. There will never be anyone else like him.
The 85-year-old Sharon died Saturday eight years after a devastating stroke left him in a coma.
Pope Francis names cardinals
Pope Francis named his first batch of cardinals Sunday, choosing 19 men from around the world, including the developing nations of Haiti and Burkina Faso, in line with his belief the church must pay more attention to the poor.
But advocates for victims of sex abuse by Catholic clergy said they felt let down that Francis didn’t unequivocally embrace their calls that prelates who hadn’t made a clean break with past practices of covering up pedophile behavior never be promoted.
Francis read out the 19 names to a crowd of tens of thousands in St. Peter’s Square. Sixteen of the appointees are younger than 80, meaning they would be eligible to elect the next pope after the Feb. 22 ceremony to install them.
Bombs, clashes kill 21 civilians in Iraq
A series of car bomb attacks and clashes between security forces and militants around and north of Baghdad killed at least 21 civilians, officials said Sunday, amid an ongoing standoff between Iraqi forces and al-Qaida-linked militants west of the Iraqi capital.
The deadliest blast occurred at a bustling bus station in central Baghdad when an explosives-laden car exploded outside, killing at least nine people and wounding 16, a police officer said.
Space station shipment arrives
The six space station astronauts finally got their Christmas presents Sunday with the arrival of a privately launched supply ship that took an extra month to soar.
The spacemen opened the capsule a day early and started removing items as soon as the Orbital Sciences Corp. vessel was moored safely at the International Space Station. Inside were 3,000 pounds of groceries, equipment and experiments, as well as eagerly awaited Christmas gifts from their families back home and fresh fruit courtesy of NASA.
The Virginia company was supposed to make the delivery last month, before Christmas, but NASA bumped the flight to January to repair the cooling system.