WARSAW, Poland - Poland yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's first pilgrimage to his homeland, unveiling a giant cross monument in central Warsaw in honor of the late Polish-born pontiff.
The 30-foot-tall white granite cross stands on the site where John Paul II celebrated Mass in 1979 in then-communist Poland. His sermon is credited by many with inspiring the country's nascent pro-democracy groups and giving rise to the Solidarity freedom movement that helped topple communist rule in 1989.
"We Poles know that the overthrow of communism did not start in 1989 but 10 years earlier, here on this square with the words of John Paul II," Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz told the thousands who attended the ceremony and later Mass.
Warsaw Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz also recited a short prayer and blessed the monument with holy water. John Paul II, who died in 2005, is a highly revered figure in his homeland. - AP
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A recent surge in suicide attacks in Pakistan reached the capital yesterday when a man wearing an explosive-laden jacket attacked a police compound but was shot down before he could enter the main building. Two officers died and six others were wounded, police said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred in the evening at a police emergency response center in a residential neighborhood.
Waquar Shah, an officer on duty at the center when it was attacked, said a man wearing a heavy jacket was spotted as he jumped over a wall at the center into a courtyard. "He jumped in from the rear wall, then ran toward the offices," Shah said. "One of our guys opened fire on him and he fell and blew up."
LONDON - One of Britain's last surviving veterans of World War I, who is also the country's oldest man, celebrated his 113th birthday yesterday.
Henry Allingham marked the occasion with a party and a cake delivered by the Royal Marines as a Royal Navy helicopter flew overhead. Allingham was surrounded by his family and said he "never expected this honor."
Allingham joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915. A year later he took part in the Battle of Jutland, which was the war's largest naval battle. Allingham and Harry Patch, 110, are the only surviving World War I veterans in Britain. - AP