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blog

Vatican Denies Italian Report Of Pope's Brain Tumor

La Nazione, Oct. 21, 2015

In what it characterizes as an international scoop, Italian daily La Nazione reports that Pope Francis has a curable brain tumor, which the Vatican no doubt has been trying to keep secret. "The Pope Is Sick," is the newspaper's front page headline Wednesday, the same day the Vatican characterized the report as a "complete lie."

The paper reports that a Vatican helicopter was spotted in January near a Pisa hospital to transport acclaimed brain cancer specialist Takanori Fukushima to the Vatican to examine the 77-year-old Pope. A small curable tumor was identified, and Francis won't need surgery, La Nazione reports.

The Vatican vigorously denied the report Wednesday, calling it a "complete lie" and "irresponsible." Italian news agency ANSA confirmed that a Vatican helicopter took off from the San Rossore clinic in Pisa, but otherwise no further information is available.

Andrea Cangini, editor of the Florence-based newspaper, defended the veracity of the report, penning an article explaining the "duty" to report the news of the pontiff's health. "The right to privacy counts a bit less than the right of the public opinion to be informed," Cangini writes.

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Society

How WeChat Is Helping Bhutan's Disappearing Languages Find A New Voice

Phd candidate Tashi Dema, from the University of New England, discusses how social media apps, particularly WeChat, are helping to preserve local Bhutanese languages without a written alphabet. Dema argues that preservation of these languages has far-reaching benefits for the small Himalayan country's rich culture and tradition.

A monk in red performing while a sillouhet of a monk is being illuminated by their phone.

Monk performing while a sillouheted monk is on their phone

Source: Caterina Sanders/Unsplash
Tashi Dema

THIMPHU — Dechen, 40, grew up in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Her native language was Mangdip, also known as Nyenkha, as her parents are originally from central Bhutan. She went to schools in the city, where the curriculum was predominantly taught in Dzongkha, the national language, and English.

In Dechen’s house, everyone spoke Dzongkha. She only spoke her mother tongue when she had guests from her village, who could not understand Dzongkha and during her occasional visits to her village nestled in the mountains. Her mother tongue knowledge was limited.

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However, things have now changed.

With 90% of Bhutanese people using social media and social media penetrating all remotes areas in Bhutan, Dechen’s relatives in remote villages are connected on WeChat.

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