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Pope Francis calls for more tolerance in the Catholic Church, Australia telecommunications company offers free data day, US deploys B-52 bombers to the Middle East

Vatican City

On Friday, Pope Francis called on Catholics around the world to be more tolerant in practice towards homosexuals, but did not speak about changing any official doctrine.

In addition to gays and lesbians, Pope Francis also called on the Catholic church to be more accepting towards all people in “irregular situations,” which includes divorced Catholics.

“A pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws … as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives,” said Pope Francis in a paper he penned outlining his views on family affairs. “By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and growth.”

Pope Francis’ highly anticipated paper, “On Love in the Family,” is more than 260 pages and is the culmination of two conferences between the Pope and the world’s Catholic Bishops in which they debate current and contentious issues, including same-sex marriage and whether divorced Catholics in new marriages can take communion.


Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications and media company, recently held its second “free data day” as compensation for massive outages across the Telstra network earlier this year.

By the end of the free data day, Telstra customers downloaded 2,686 terabytes of data – the equivalent of 3.4 million HD movies – which is up 46 percent from the 1841 terabytes downloaded on the first free data day in Feb.

Sydney resident John Szaszvari stood out among all the downloaders, as he was personally responsible for an impressive amount of data-usage. Szaszvari, who’s contract with Telstra allows him six gigabytes of data monthly, downloaded 24 seasons of “The Simpsons,” 14 seasons of “Mythbusters” and the entire Wikipedia database. Szaszvari noted to reporters that he downloaded a “lot of random other stuff” as well.

Telstra has approximately 16.9 million mobile customers in Australia is attempting to rebuild its reputation after several recent network problems. Telstra has said that the outages are due to problems with undersea cables offshore.

The United States

The US Air Force has deployed B-52 long-range bombers to the Middle East for the first time since the end of the Gulf War over 25 years ago, officials said on Saturday. The aircraft will target the Islamic State terrorist group operating in Iraq and Syria.

“The B-52 will provide the Coalition continued precision and deliver desired airpower effects,” said Lieutenant General Charles Q. Brown Jr., commander, US Air Forces Central Command and Combined Forces Air Component. Lt. Brown also indicated that the bombers could be readily available to bomb elsewhere in the region as the need arises.

The Air Force’s announcement came a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry promised to “turn up the pressure further” against the Islamic State during a visit to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Kurdish and Sunni leaders.

The B-52 bombers will be replacing the B-1’s, which were sent back to the United States in Feb. for maintenance. The B-52’s are able to hover over the battlefield for nearly 12 hours and have the ability to carry over a dozen precision guided bombs, as well as nuclear weapons.