Media Watch

Italy Tightens Security at Vatican

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, Sept. 24 — The Italian government has authorized the use of the army to protect sites that might be targets for terrorists, the wire service reported.

Sept. 11's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have led to tighter security around the globe, and Italy is no exception. The interior ministry and the defense ministry issued a statement to all security services authorizing the use of the army to protect chemical factories, arms depots, fuel dumps and explosives storage facilities. Similar measures were also taken during the Gulf War in 1991.

However, Italy also heightened security at a wide array of locations ranging from aqueducts to restaurants frequented by foreigners. The Vatican also received extra protection, possibly as a result of evidence that terrorists linked to Osama Bin Laden had earlier planned to target Pope John Paul II for assassination.

Pope Gives Only First Half of Speech

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Sept. 25 — Pope John Paul II, showing signs of fatigue, broke off in the middle of a speech in the Apostolic Cathedral in Etchmiadzin, Armenia, the wire service reported.

After giving part of the address in English, the Pope sat down and handed the prepared text over to a priest, who completed the speech in Armenian. Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that the changeover had been planned in advance, as the Vatican has done in the past when the Pope is delivering speeches in languages he does not speak. At a later stop in the visit, the Pope rebounded, walking about 50 yards without the use of his cane and waving it cheerfully in the air.

The Pope gave the Etchmiadzin speech only 90 minutes after arriving in Armenia. He was met at the airport by Armenian President Robert Kocharian and the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Karekin II. Etchmiadzin, 15 miles west of the capital city of Yerevan, is the seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which split with the Vatican after the Council of Chalcedon in the fifth century.

National Television of Armenia, the country's television channel, reported that the Pope had studied the Armenian language in preparation for his trip. His visit is part of the former Soviet republic's celebration of the 1,700th anniversary of its proclamation of Christianity as the state religion.

Vatican Receives First Islamic Female Ambassador

TURKISH DAILY NEWS, Sept. 25 — Filiz Dincmen of Turkey became the first woman ever sent by an Islamic country as ambassador to the Holy See, the Turkish daily reported.

Dincmen's husband, Ustun Dincmen, is a retired ambassador. He will accompany his wife to the Vatican in order to research Ottoman documents in the Vatican's archives.