Riot police officers assist a woman after extracting her from the crowds trying to push through fences to visit the newly blessed National Cathedral, in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. Tens of thousands of Romanians gathered for the blessing of a grandiose Orthodox cathedral, also called the "Salvation of the People" cathedral, consecrated to mark 100 years since modern-day Romania was created in the aftermath of World War I. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) © The Associated Press Riot police officers assist a woman after extracting her from the crowds trying to push through fences to visit the newly blessed National Cathedral, in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. Tens of thousands of Romanians gathered for the blessing of a grandiose Orthodox cathedral, also called the „Salvation of the People” cathedral, consecrated to mark 100 years since modern-day Romania was created in the aftermath of World War I. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) BUCHAREST, Romania — Tens of thousands of Romanians braved hours of cold weather Sunday for the blessing of a grandiose Orthodox cathedral consecrated to mark 100 years since modern-day Romania was created in the aftermath of World War I. The event was marred after three people were hospitalized when scuffles broke out between riot police and Orthodox believers. Believers from all over the country and beyond stood outside the Salvation of the People cathedral to watch the service transmitted on giant screens on a misty morning in the capital.But tempers frayed after believers tried to push their way through police lines after lining up for hours to visit the cathedral. Riot police spokesman Georgian Enache called for calm, saying believers „due to tiredness, impatience had forced their way” past police lines on the cathedral steps.Authorities said 83 people required medical attention during the day. They said most cases were because of fainting, after they stood for many hours in cold, damp weather.Related slideshow: Pictures of the week (Provided by Photo Services)Earlier, the Ecumenical Istanbul-based patriarch Bartholomew I and Romanian Patriarch Daniel led the morning service, broadcast live on television, joined by 100 priests dressed in white and gold cassocks.The 120-meter (394-feet) high cathedral towers over a giant palace nearby built by late Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu. Six bells rang out after the blessing.The church says the unfinished building has cost 110 million euros ($125 million), three-quarters of which was public money. Critics say the money would have been better spent on churches and hospitals. The state pays priests’ salaries and for church building maintenance.About 86 percent of Romanians are believers in the Orthodox church, which enjoyed a revival after communism ended in 1989. But its popularity has declined in recent years, particularly in cities.Builder Constantin Dumitrescu, 47, an Orthodox believer, said he believed the cathedral was „a much too big investment for a poor country.”Building work began on the neo-Byzantine structure in 2010. It was voted Romania’s most kitsch architectural structure in Romania in a 2017 online survey.The cathedral aims to „honor Romanian heroes of all times.” Romanian King Carol I passed a law for the cathedral to be built in 1884, but two world wars and decades of communism meant it never happened.A group of ethnic Romanians from Ukraine dressed in colorful popular costume also attended the event.”This is our faith, our soul,” said Elena Nandris, mayor of the southern Ukrainian village of Mahala, with tears in her eyes. „This is a once in a lifetime event.”

World Zimbabwe’s Mugabe no longer able to walk, president says
FARAI MUTSAKA

Associated Press
FILE – In this Sunday, July 29, 2018 file photo, former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe holds a press briefing at his residence in Harare. Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe is no longer able to walk as his health declines, his successor says. President Emmerson Mnangagwa told ruling party supporters at a rally Saturday, Nov. 24 that the 94-year-old Mugabe has been in a hospital in Singapore for the past two months. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, file)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe’s 94-year-old former president Robert Mugabe is no longer able to walk as his health declines, his successor said Saturday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa told ruling party supporters that Mugabe has been in a hospital in Singapore for the past two months.

„He can no longer walk but we will continue to take care of him,” said Mnangagwa, who took over from his former mentor a year ago after Mugabe stepped down under military pressure.

Mugabe was the world’s oldest head of state before his dramatic exit following 37 years in power, a period in which he led the country from independence into repression and economic collapse. For years, Zimbabweans who saw their aging leader nod off during events speculated how long he would stay in office, while his wife vowed that he could rule from the grave.

In a rare public appearance in July, Mugabe slumped behind a bank of microphones during a press conference and didn’t leave his chair until reporters left.

In his remarks on Saturday to supporters at a rally in Mugabe’s home district, Mnangagwa said the former leader had planned to return to Zimbabwe on Oct. 15 but was not feeling well. Mnangagwa did not give further details about Mugabe’s condition.

He is now expected to return to Zimbabwe on Nov. 30.

The president and Mugabe, whose firing of Mnangagwa as his deputy led to his ouster, have made recent signs of reconciliation. Mugabe supported an opposition leader in Zimbabwe’s historic election in July but in September said he accepted Mnangagwa’s win. „All of us are now duty-bound to rally behind the government,” he said.

Mnangagwa in turn on Saturday heaped praise on the former president.

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