More than 7,000 gather in St Peter’s Basilica for midnight Christmas mass led by Pope
In the splendour of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis presided over the Christmas Eve Mass attended by more than 7,000 faithful on Saturday.
Recalling Jesus’ birth in a stable, Pope Francis rebuked those “ravenous” for wealth and power at the expense of the vulnerable in a homily decrying war, poverty and greedy consumerism.
When the Mass ended, the Pope, pushed in a wheelchair by an aide, moved down the basilica with a life-sized statue of Baby Jesus on his lap and flanked by several children carrying bouquets.
Francis, 86, has been using a wheelchair to navigate long distances due to a painful knee ligament and a cane for shorter distances.
Traditionally, Catholics mark Christmas Eve by attending Mass at midnight.
But over the years, the starting time has crept earlier, reflecting the health or stamina of the Pope.
Since Covid, the start of the service was moved to 7.30 pm local time.
On Sunday, the Pope is set to deliver a Christmas blessing to a crowd from all around the world in St Peter’s Square.
Meanwhile, Christmas tourism has returned to Bethlehem in the West Bank.
Revered in Christian tradition as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, the town usually welcomes thousands of pilgrims and tourists for Christmas every year.
But the pandemic and travel restrictions severely impacted these numbers.
This year, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem greeted worshippers, ahead of leading the annual Christmas eve procession at the Church of the Nativity.
The service was attended by Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the State of Palestine.
The Israeli Tourism Ministry said it expected about 120,000 pilgrims from all over the world.
Tina Turner: legendary rock’n’roll singer dies aged 83
Tina Turner, the pioneering rock’n’roll star who became a pop behemoth in the 1980s, has died aged age of 83 after a long illness, her publicist has told the PA news agency.
Turner affirmed and amplified Black women’s formative stake in rock’n’roll, defining that era of music to the extent that Mick Jagger admitted to taking inspiration from her high-kicking, energetic live performances for his stage persona. After two decades of working with her abusive husband, Ike Turner, she struck out alone and – after a few false starts – became one of the defining pop icons of the 1980s with the album Private Dancer. Her life was chronicled in three memoirs, a biopic, a jukebox musical, and in 2021, the acclaimed documentary film, Tina.
“Turner’s musical character has always been a charged combination of mystery as well as light, melancholy mixed with a ferocious vitality that often flirted with danger,” scholar Daphne A Brooks wrote for the Guardian in 2018.
Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on 26 November 1939 and raised in Nutbush, Tennessee, where she recalled picking cotton with her family as a child. She sang in the tiny town’s church choir, and as a teenager talked – or rather, sang – her way into Ike’s band in St Louis: he had declined her request to join until he heard her seize the microphone during a Kings of Rhythm performance for a rendition of BB King’s You Know I Love You.
She had suffered ill health in recent years, being diagnosed with intestinal cancer in 2016 and having a kidney transplant in 2017.
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Mike Tyson Break Silence On Jamie Foxx’s Health : He’s Suffered A Stroke’
Boxer Mike Tyson has claimed that actor Jamie Foxx suffered a stroke amid his mystery hospitalisation.
Jamie Foxx was hospitalised with a stroke last month, according to former pro boxing legend Mike Tyson.
The Oscar-winning actor was rushed to hospital in April after reportedly experiencing a “medical complication” whilst filming his upcoming Netflix film, Back in Action.
The 55-year-old has since been discharged from hospital and is continuing to recover at a physical rehabilitation facility.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Valuetainment podcast, Tyson updated fans on Jamie’s health condition.
“He’s not feeling well. They said a stroke. I have no idea what happened to him,’ quipped Tyson on the podcast.
Foxx’s family are yet to reveal what happened to the Oscar-winning actor, but have taken to social media to give periodic updates.
Jamie’s daughter Corinne took to Instagram to update fans on her father and said: “My dad has has been out of the hospital for weeks recuperating.”
“In fact, he was playing pickelball yesterday! Thanks for everyone’s prayers and support,” Corinne added. “We have an exciting work announcement coming next week too!”
Foxx was set to portray Mike Tyson in an upcoming biographical TV series, however Mike revealed that the programme is in limbo following his health.
“Well, it was a possibility. I don’t know what’s going to happen now. But, you know, it’s a strong possibility.”
“If we don’t know by now, they don’t want us to know,” said Tyson.
Jamie is now recovering in Chicago after being hospitalised in Atlanta, Georgia.
Legendary Browns RB Jim Brown dies at 87
Any debate about the greatest player in NFL history is incomplete if Jim Brown’s name isn’t included.
Brown, whose name is still synonymous with greatness at the running back position more than 50 years after his final NFL game, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles, his wife told the Associated Press and the Cleveland Browns confirmed. He was 87.
Brown had a nearly immaculate NFL career. He played nine seasons for the Cleveland Browns and led the league in rushing eight times. He was a Pro Bowler all nine seasons and a first-team All-Pro eight times. Before he abruptly retired in 1966, he had the most rushing yards and touchdowns in NFL history. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
Brown’s legacy included civil rights advancement
Brown was more than a football player. He was a civil rights activist, putting together the famous “Ali Summit” of 1967 that included Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell. The New York Times said, “the moment itself would be remembered as the first — and last — time that so many African-American athletes at that level came together to support a controversial cause.”
Brown founded the Black Economic Union in the 1960s as a way to assist businesses owned by African-Americans. Brown also founded the Amer-I-Can Foundation in the 1980s in an attempt to stop gang violence in Southern California. He often spoke out about a wide range of social issues, including educational reform, and continued to speak out after he turned 80 years old. Brown was critical of Black athletes like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods for not doing more to enact social change.
“They are the beneficiaries of our struggle,” Brown said about modern Black athletes in a 2002 interview with Sports Illustrated. “But they don’t recognize that because they’re inundated with agents, managers, lawyers and [team] owners who don’t want them to do anything but play ball and hopefully keep themselves out of trouble and just be physical freaks of nature with no [awareness] of decision-making power.”
Brown was involved in politics into his 80s. He campaigned for Barack Obama, but later expressed disappointment with Obama’s time in office. Brown offered public support to Donald Trump after his presidential election in 2016, saying Trump “really talks about helping Black people.”
“When he went through what he went through to become President, he got my admiration,” Brown told CNN. “No one gave him a chance.”
Like many things about Brown, his political views were complicated. Brown, who was a key figure in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, was outspoken against Colin Kaepernick and others kneeling during the national anthem to bring attention to social injustice.
“He’s always had this strain of conservatism in his politics that Black people do not achieve advancement through the politics of protest, but through the politics of earning as much money as possible, and trying to get out of the capitalist system whatever they can for the purposes of building economic self-sufficiency,” author Dave Zirin, who wrote a biography about Brown in 2018, told NPR. “And protest is an impediment to that in the mind of Jim Brown. And those have always been his politics.”
Movie star career
Brown was an actor, too. His sudden retirement was over a movie.
In 1966, Brown was filming “The Dirty Dozen” in London, and there were production delays due to bad weather. When Browns owner Art Modell threatened to suspend Brown if he showed up late to training camp, Brown informed Modell he was retiring at age 30.
In Brown’s final NFL season, he rushed for 1,544 yards and 17 touchdowns, leading the league in both categories. Yet he was content to walk away in his prime. Brown appeared in 55 movies or television shows as an actor, according to his IMDB page.
The most notable moment of Brown’s acting career might have come in the 1969 movie “100 Rifles,” when he and Raquel Welch had what is cited as the first interracial love scene in a mainstream movie.
Brown and issues of violence against women
Brown also made headlines for problems away from the field. He had a series of legal issues, most of which involved allegations of violence against women. According to the Los Angeles Times, Brown was accused in five cases of violence against women, including one in which he was accused of throwing a woman off a second-floor balcony. Those charges were dropped when the woman refused to name Brown as her assailant.
Brown was not convicted in any of those cases until he was sentenced to a six-month sentence in jail for smashing his wife’s windshield in 1999.
Superior athlete from lacrosse to football
Brown started his rise to fame as a standout athlete at Syracuse. Not only was he an All-American running back, he starred in basketball, lacrosse and track as well. He averaged 13.1 points in two seasons with Syracuse’s basketball team. He was so good at lacrosse, he’s in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and some argue he’s one of the greatest lacrosse players ever.
Cleveland took Brown with the sixth pick of the 1957 NFL Draft. He was an immediate star, leading the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns as a rookie, winning the Associated Press’ Most Outstanding Player award his first year. He won the Most Outstanding Player (renamed the MVP award in 1961) in 1958 too. Brown won MVP his final NFL season as well, in 1965.
Brown was bigger than almost any running back before him, with good speed to match. He was 6-foot-2, 232 pounds, which was almost as big as some of the top offensive linemen of his era, with more power and speed than the defenders who would try to bring him down. He finished his career with 5.2 yards per carry. Among retired players, only Marion Motley’s average of 5.7 yards per carry is better. Brown’s 12,312 rushing yards stood as the NFL record until Walter Payton broke it in 1984. Brown owned NFL record with 126 total touchdowns until 1994, when Jerry Rice scored his 127th touchdown.
Brown still holds some records that might never fall. He has eight rushing titles. No other player in NFL history has more than four. He rushed for 104.3 yards per game, and is the only player in NFL history who averaged more than 100.
NFL records — and football in general, for that matter — are only part of Brown’s legacy. More than 50 years after his sudden retirement, we’ve still never seen a running back quite like him.
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