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Tile Hill man accused of robbing security guard at knifepoint

A man has appeared in court accused of robbing a security guard at knifepoint in Coventry. Michael Walker, 34, of Torrington Avenue, Tile Hill,[1] is accused of threatening the 57-year-old with a knife and then robbing him on April 3 at around 2am. He appeared at Coventry Magistrates Court[2] the following day to face charges of robbery and possession of a bladed article.

Walker was remanded in custody to appear at crown court on May 6.

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References

  1. ^ Tile Hill, (www.coventrytelegraph.net)
  2. ^ at Coventry Magistrates Court (www.coventrytelegraph.net)

Pope Francis takes refugees back to Rome following provocative and emotional Lesbos visit

MYTILENE, Greece For the hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants who have made landfall on this verdant jewel in the Aegean Sea over the past year, there had only been two ways off the island: a ferry bound for a new life deeper in Europe or a deportation order that led straight back across the sea.

But that was before Saturday, when Pope Francis whisked in and pioneered a third: a ride with him on a jet bound for Rome. The Pope s visit to the Greek island of Lesbos had already been emotional, provocative and deeply symbolic before he gave it a dramatic and unexpected twist in its closing minutes on Saturday. But when he boarded his Alitalia return flight along with 12 Syrians including six children who had lost their houses to bombs, the gesture offered the most vivid illustration yet in the pope s quest to prick Europe s conscience over its treatment of refugees.

May all of our brothers and sisters on this continent, like the good Samaritan, come to your aid in the spirit of fraternity, solidarity and respect for human dignity, Francis told a group of hundreds of asylum seekers during a visit to the island s migrant detention facility.

Journey alongside refugees through Lesbos, the gateway to a new life

Hours later, in a life-changing moment for a dozen among the tens of thousands of migrants stranded in Greece by Europe s closed borders[1], he acted out his counsel that refugees be embraced[2], not shunned. The plan to bring three refugee families to the Vatican, the pope told journalists during his flight back from Lesbos, was a last-minute inspiration that came together last week. Although all three families were Muslim, he said they had not been selected based on faith but based on their eligibility. As late as Friday night, officials in Lesbos had still been sorting out who would accompany the pope, and even turned to chance selecting names from a box to narrow the field.

We wanted to be fair to everyone, said Stavros Mirogiannis, director at the Kara Tepe camp where the 12 Syrians had lived until they relocated to Vatican City. They won the lottery. Today is the best day of their lives.

Francis said that once they arrive and settle in, they will be given assistance to find work.

Everything was arranged according to the rules, the pope said. They have their documents. The Holy See, the Greek government and the Italian government have checked everything. Asked about Europe s plan to shut down the migrant waves by sending people back to Turkey, the pope called on Europe to implement policies that welcome migrants, give them jobs and integrate them. Francis said he understood some governments and people are afraid, but that that did not lift from them a responsibility of welcome. It was a more direct critique than he had offered while on Lesbos. But just by visiting the island that has been the primary gateway for refugees[3] to Europe and that just two weeks ago was the scene of hundreds of deportations he was making a dramatic statement.

Upon Francis s arrival Saturday at the tiny Lesbos airport, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the visit historic, saying that it came at a time when some of our partners even in the name of Christian Europe were erecting walls and fences to prevent defenseless people from seeking a better life. The centerpiece of Francis s visit was a tour of the Moria detention facility, where he sat down for lunch with some of the 3,060 men, women and children who are held in overcrowded conditions awaiting a likely deportation order. The pope was given a hero s welcome, with people cheering, clapping and whistling as he shook hands one by one with residents who had lined up to greet him. Some held signs praising Francis and pleading for his help.

Welcome to Moria, many people told him as they clasped his hand. The pope smiled broadly in reply.

As he made his way through the camp surrounded by high fences and patrolled by police children handed him their drawings. He complimented them on their artistry.

Don t fold it. I want it on my desk, he told a young girl. When greeting observant Muslim women, scarves pulled over their hair, he placed his hand atop his heart and gently bowed. Several people knelt at his feet, weeping uncontrollably. Periodic chants of Freedom! Freedom! broke out in the crowd, punctuated by the cries of babies and young children.

We hope that the world will heed these scenes of tragic and indeed desperate need, and respond in a way worthy of our common humanity, Francis told hundreds of migrants who had gathered beneath a plastic, pre-fabricated tent to hear him speak. He had come, he said, to tell the Moria residents that you are not alone.

[Read the full text of the pope s remarks[4]]

In an important symbol of reconciliation within the Christian faith, the pope was accompanied by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world s Orthodox Christians, as well as by Greek Archbishop Ieronymos II. In remarks to the migrants at Moria, Ieronymos denounced government policies that have brought these people to this impasse.

Bartholomew vowed to do everything to open the eyes and hearts of the world.

The world will be judged by the way it has treated you, he said. Later, in a ceremony in the main port of Lesbos, the three men threw laurel wreaths into the sea in remembrance of the thousands who have died making the voyage to Europe. In the port, the pope gave a speech on the exact spot where, less than two weeks ago, the European Union s Frontex border officers escorted migrants to waiting ferries that returned them across the sea to Turkey.

Francis urged the world to resist the temptation to build walls. He also thanked Lesbos residents and people across Greece for keeping open their hearts and doors.

Many ordinary men and women have made available the little they have and shared it with those who lost everything. God will repay this generosity, he said. The surprise ending to the visit featured two families from Damascus and one from Deir al-Zour in an area of Syria controlled by the Islamic State. The Vatican said the families had arrived in Greece before the E.U. s plan to deport people back to Turkey took effect. The Catholic Sant Egidio community will take care of the refugees as they settle in, the Vatican said. It is unclear whether Francis s statements on Saturday will have any meaningful effect on Europe s refugee debate. E.U. officials have expressed satisfaction that the number of arrivals has fallen precipitously in recent weeks from dozens of boats a day to one or two.

But the pope s message was clear.

He is telling Europe that it is denying its Christian roots when it turns its back on those in need, said Thomas J. Reese, senior analyst with the National Catholic Reporter. He is telling Europe that Jesus would not close the doors to those fleeing war and persecution. As night fell at the detention center on Saturday, residents said most had appreciated what the pope had to say. Rehan Ahmed, a 25-year-old Pakistani detainee who faces the threat of deportation, said expectations in advance of the visit had been sky-high.

Everyone was hoping that the pope would come and announce that he was opening the borders, said Ahmed, speaking from behind the barbed-wire that marks the center s boundary.

When the Pope offered no concrete change in Europe s policies, some at Moria were disappointed. But most, he said, were simply grateful for Francis s message of love.

He s with us, Ahmed said, and that s enough.

Faiola reported from Berlin.

Read more:

How Europe s migrant policy is tearing families apart[5]

Europe begins sending people back across the sea, defying human rights outcry[6]

As the route to Europe closes, migrants journey through grief[7]

Today s coverage from Post correspondents around the world[8]

References

  1. ^ Europe s closed borders (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ his counsel that refugees be embraced (www.washingtonpost.com)
  3. ^ the primary gateway for refugees (www.washingtonpost.com)
  4. ^ Read the full text of the pope s remarks (apps.washingtonpost.com)
  5. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  6. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  7. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  8. ^ Today s coverage from Post correspondents around the world (www.washingtonpost.com)

Pope calls for compassion for refugees, takes three families back to Italy

MYTILENE, Greece Pope Francis on Saturday took three refugee families back with him on his plane to Rome following an emotional and provocative visit to the Greek island of Lesbos that seemed designed to prick Europe s conscience over its treatment of refugees.

The pope boarded his Alitalia jet along with 12 Syrians from three families, all of whom had had their houses bombed and are seeking refuge in Europe, according to Vatican spokesman the Rev. Thomas Rosica. There were six children among them. Rosica said the families would be cared for at the Vatican. The dramatic gesture by the pope came at the end of a highly symbolic visit to Lesbos, an island that has been the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of people seeking sanctuary in Europe over the past year as they fled war, oppression and poverty in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. But in the past two weeks, it also has been the scene of hundreds of deportations under a new plan by which Europe sends back those who reach its shores. The centerpiece of Francis s five-hour visit Saturday was a visit to the Moria detention facility, where he sat down for lunch with some of the 3,060 men, women and children who arrived on this sun-splashed beach of Europe harboring a dream that was shattered almost as soon as they made landfall. By crossing the barbed-wire threshold that walls the residents of Moria off from the world, the pope presented European leaders with an unmistakable moral challenge.

As Francis made his way through the facility, several people knelt at his feet, weeping uncontrollably.

Journey alongside refugees through Lesbos, the gateway to a new life

They re looking for your mercy, a translator told the pope. Periodic chants of Freedom! Freedom! broke out in the crowd, punctuated by the cries of babies and young children.

We hope that the world will heed these scenes of tragic and, indeed, desperate need, Francis later told hundreds of migrants who had gathered beneath a plastic, pre-fabricated tent to hear him speak. He had come, he said, to tell the Moria residents that you are not alone. He also called on all our brothers and sisters on this continent, like the Good Samaritan to come to your aid.

Later, in a ceremony in the main port of Lesbos, Francis urged the world to resist the temptation to build walls. Barriers create divisions instead of promoting the true progress of peoples, he said. The surprise ending to the visit with Francis flying off into a clear blue sky with refugees aboard his plane came out as a result of negotiation between the Vatican, Italian and Greek authorities, according to a Vatican statement. All 12 of those who traveled with the pope are Muslims, the Vatican said. Two of the families are from Damascus, and one is from Deir al-Zour in an area of Syria controlled by the Islamic State. The Vatican said the families had arrived in Greece before the European Union s plan to deport people back to Turkey took effect.

Boris Cheshirkov, spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said the decision by the pope to take refugees with him was a gesture of solidarity and a humanitarian act. Upon greeting Francis at the airport, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called his visit historic, saying that it came at a time when some of our partners even in the name of Christian Europe were erecting walls and fences to prevent defenseless people from seeking a better life. When the pope arrived at the detention facility, which human rights advocates say is overcrowded and understaffed by asylum officers, he was given a hero s welcome, with people cheering, clapping and whistling as he shook hands one by one with residents who had lined up to greet him. Many held signs praising Francis and pleading for his help.

Welcome to Moria, many people told him as they clasped his hand. The pope smiled broadly in reply.

As he made his way through the camp surrounded by high fences and patrolled by police kids handed him their drawings. He complimented them on their artistry.

Don t fold it. I want it on my desk, he told a young girl. When greeting observant Muslim women, scarves pulled over their hair, he placed his hand atop his heart and gently bowed. For those being held at the facility, their experience of Europe has been defined by confinement. Instead of earning passage to a new, better life, they were locked up. Rather than finding a permanent home in a safe country, they were told they would soon be sent back to the instability and violence of where they started. Detainees said in the lead-up to the pope s visit that they believed his arrival could give them one last shot at reprieve.

If the governments of Europe respect the pope, they will listen, said Abdul Hadi, an 18-year-old Afghan who spoke to a reporter from behind the facility s imposingly high fences as friends kept a wary eye out for police. They will stop deporting refugees.

It is far from clear that European leaders, satisfied by the falling arrival numbers that their policy has generated, will respond to the pope s attempts at persuasion. But by visiting Moria, and by breaking bread with people Europe is threatening to deport, the leader of the Catholic Church will be making his strongest statement yet on migrant rights, an issue he has made one of the biggest focuses of his revolutionary tenure.

He is convinced that the mass displacement of people at this time is the most important moral choice facing Western countries, said Francis biographer Austen Ivereigh. Will we embrace the stranger in need or build new iron curtains? Will we offer migrants a new home or send them into the arms of the mafias and death at sea? In official visits, from Mexico to southern Italy, Francis has championed immigrants and migrants, calling the need to aid them, no matter their faith, a duty of all Christians. As recently as last month, even as Europe was closing its door, he seemed to make a political statement by washing the feet of migrants during Holy Week celebrations.

On Saturday, the pope had the chance to speak out against Europe s policies from the very harbor where people are being deported. He did so even as an epic debate continues to roil the continent: What do you do about the historic number of people displaced by conflict[1], more than a million of whom sought sanctuary in Europe last year? About half came through this Aegean island[2], Lesbos, on their way to points farther north. But last month, Europe abruptly shut down the pipeline[3], announcing that not only would people be barred from traveling onward from Greece, but all new arrivals would also be shipped back to Turkey. Last week, Europe made good on its threat, sending 325 people back across the sea despite protestations from human rights groups, and from Francis.

Europe s leaders have shown little interest in reversing course. European Council President Donald Tusk acknowledged this week that he had doubts of an ethical nature about the deportation plan but defended it as necessary to prevent political catastrophes. In January alone, he noted, there had been 70,000 new arrivals a pace that has dropped precipitously since Europe began to block the path. How many more would have come in April if we had not taken action? he asked. But rights advocates say it is disgraceful that Europe is turning away people in obvious need of protection, and they hope Francis s visit can begin a reconsideration.

This visit is an opportunity for Europe to come together and share the responsibility instead of leaving Greece to handle it on its own, said Cheshirkov, the Lesbos-based UNHCR spokesman. It s also a chance to remember what our values should be. At a time when xenophobia is on the rise, we should remind ourselves that Europe is built on human rights, tolerance and diversity.

Lesbos will give Francis a nearly ideal opportunity to deliver that message. Even as other, less-affected parts of Europe have shunned refugees, island residents have been consistently welcoming. That is despite the fact that the monthly arrival totals last fall occasionally surpassed the island s entire population. As the boats glided into shore by the dozens[4] last year, residents waded into the surf to carry out rescues, offered new arrivals shelter in their homes and drove families across the island s rugged interior to save them days of walking. Residents say their compassion and empathy come naturally many are descended from people who fled Turkey in the 1920s.

These are the sons and daughters of refugees, said Father Leon Kiskinis, the priest at Lesbos s only Catholic church, a cramped but ornately decorated 19th-century building that with six wooden pews can nearly accommodate all 300 of the island s Catholics. Seeing these people now, it is the same pain, the same desperation. It s the same story, repeated now.

Most island residents are Orthodox, not Catholic. In a sign of another major Francis initiative reconciliation within the Christian faith the pope was accompanied Saturday by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, as well as by Greek Archbishop Ieronymos. In remarks to the migrants at Moria, Ieronymos denounced the “bankruptcy” of European policies that “have brought these people to this impasse.”

Bartholomew vowed to “do everything to open the eyes and hearts of the world.”

In addition to eating lunch with the migrants at Moria, Francis led a public prayer in the island s main harbor, and publicly thanked Lesbos residents for their hospitality. He and his fellow religious leaders also dropped laurel wreathes in the sea as a memorial to those who have died making the perilous crossing. In many respects, the Lesbos trip is part of a legacy in the making, further evidence that the pontiff is seeking to define his papacy on the issues of inequality, mercy and migrant rights.

In his first official trip as pontiff, in 2013, Francis highlighted the plight of refugees by hopping on a flight to the Italian island of Lampedusa. Back then, at the early stages of the migrant crisis, Italy was the primary entry point for migrants funneling into Europe. Shortly before his trip, a horrific shipwreck off the Libyan coast had left hundreds dead. Last year, as the crisis escalated and the entry point shifted from Italy to Greece, Francis issued dramatic appeals[5] to Europe s Catholics, asking every parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary to take in one refugee family. His call came as some of the region s leaders, including Hungary s Viktor Orban, were warning that waves of mostly Muslim refugees would change the face of Christian Europe.

Facing the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing death by war and famine and journeying towards the hope of life the Gospel calls, asking of us to be close to the smallest and forsaken. To give them a concrete hope, Francis said. Papal watchers said the pope s Lesbos visit will offer a clear message to Europe and its leaders, one they may not welcome.

Expect the usual bluster about the pope being naive and how each country has to decide what s in its best interest, Ivereigh said. But most people will know he s right and that Europeans will look back on this episode with deep shame. We didn t take the Jews in 1930s Europe because they were too many and too different; now we refuse to take Muslims for the same reason. It takes the pope to point that out.

Faiola reported from Berlin.

Read more

How Europe s migrant policy is tearing families apart[6]

Europe begins sending people back across the sea, defying human rights outcry[7]

As the route to Europe closes, migrants journey through grief[8]

Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world[9]

References

  1. ^ historic number of people displaced by conflict (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ half came through this Aegean island (www.washingtonpost.com)
  3. ^ abruptly shut down the pipeline (www.washingtonpost.com)
  4. ^ boats glided into shore by the dozens (www.washingtonpost.com)
  5. ^ Francis issued dramatic appeals (www.washingtonpost.com)
  6. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  7. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  8. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  9. ^ Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world (www.washingtonpost.com)

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