Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bomb found near site of pope visit

The Brazilian military police say they destroyed a small explosive device over the weekend after discovering the item in a bathroom near a sanctuary Pope Francis is scheduled to visit later this week. The device was found in Aparecida, where Francis is scheduled to visit a historic Roman Catholic sanctuary Wednesday. It had "low destructive power" and wasn't in an area on the pope's route or in an area where pilgrims would be gathering, military police in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo confirmed. The explosive was made from a small plastic cylinder wrapped in duct tape, they said. "The artifact was sent to military authorities for verification," police said. "Security personnel quickly cordoned the area off." A tactical squad was called in to destroy the device "without any further risk," police said. Francis landed in Rio de Janeiro on Monday for the start of the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day. Hundreds of thousands of pumped-up young Catholic pilgrims are on hand for the weeklong festival, hosted by a country eager for good news after a summer of protests. Anger over high taxes, corruption and lavish spending on the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament spurred Brazilians to turn out for the largest protests seen in 20 years. The demonstrations, held in Sao Paulo, Rio and the capital of Brasilia, were sparked by a planned increase in bus fares in June. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff promised to address the concerns, announcing that she heard "the direct message from the streets" for better services and social reforms.