In the Vatican at midnight on Christmas Eve, the night before the day celebrated as marking the birth of Jesus Christ, a significant figure in Christianity a religion followed by some two billion people around the world, Pope Francis preached against what he called “a culture of indifference” and “a society so often intoxicated by consumerism & hedonism, wealth & extravagance, appearances & narcissism” and called upon members of the Catholic church to be devout and “act soberly”.
In Paraguay the President, Horacio Cartes, freed up relief funds to the value of $3.5 million and declared a state of emergency after heavy rains that began on December 18th caused massive and widespread flooding in the region. Some 20,000 people had to be evacuated in neighboring Argentina, and thousands more were left homeless in both southern Brazil and northern Uruguay after local rivers burst their banks. It is the worst flooding in the region for years displacing over 150,000 people.
In Victoria, Australia, massive fast moving bush fires devastated communities in both Wye River and Separation Creek last week, and also caused the evacuation of the town of Lorne as some 5,500 acres were set ablaze by a lightning strike on the 19th of December. One in three houses in the effected towns has been left uninhabitable with 1,600 people evacuated as a precaution against sudden wind shifts endangering them. Hundreds of firefighters were called in from across the country to tackle the blaze.
In sport Southampton gave Arsenal a 4-0 spanking at St. Mary’s in the English Premier League last week a result from which manager Arsene Wenger claims they will bounce back as they play Bournemouth at home on Monday evening. Will they manage it or become yet another of the mighty teams to hit a slump in performance? You’ll have to read our daily news pages to find out but in the meantime lets look again at some of the big stories we covered from around the world last week.
1. Bayern Munich appointed Carlo Ancelotti as the replacement of Pep Guardiola, and transfer rumours have already started spreading.
2. Host Steve Harvey crowned the wrong Miss Universe, mistakenly giving it to Miss Colombia when the rightful winner was Miss Philippines.
3. NBA commissioner Adam Silver called for the legalization and regulation of daily fantasy sports and sports betting, arguing that there is unmet consumer demand.
4. A forward for Boston University was banned for the season amid university hockey gambling controversy. Another player on the team is rumored to have been involved.
5. “The Prince Clown of Basketball”, Gobetrotters’ legend Meadowlark Lemon dies at the age of 83.
Meanwhile an unidentified forty year old driver was detained by police after crashing his car into a tax office with enough force that the vehicle continued on through the wall and into the neighboring store a funeral home. When questioned the driver claimed that he was attempting to “travel through time” at the time of the impact with the thankfully deserted businesses, and no one was hurt during the incident, including the driver from Nashville who was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.