- Exodus of biblical proportions
Hounded out of their homes by Islamist violence, Iraqi Christians face what many fear may be their final festive season in the land of their fathers as many prepare for exile
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Pope Francis has again expressed his anguish at the deaths of migrants who have perished trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.
On Monday at least 17 people died when a boat carrying around 400 migrants sank 115 miles south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, which Pope Francis visited last year to draw attention to the crisis.
On Sunday it emerged that at least 36 people drowned last week when a boat sank near the Libyan coast.
After today’s general audience Francis said: “Let us also pray for those who in have lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea in these days. May human rights be the first priority and may forces unite to prevent this shameful carnage.”
EU home affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Monday she was shocked by the latest migrant deaths and urged member states to "show solidarity" in dealing with the crisis.
Pope Francis today also mentioned the 238 victims of the explosion in the mine in Soma, western Turkey, and the other hundreds of other miners who remain trapped underground.
“Dear brothers,” he said, “I invite you to pray for the miners who died yesterday in the mine of Soma, in Turkey, and for those who are still trapped in the tunnels. May the Lord welcome the deceased to his home and give comfort to their families.”