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The Dan Brown Obsession Of Pope Benedict’s Right-Hand Man



VATICAN CITY – If ever "Da Vinci Code" author Dan Brown feels forgotten, if he ever needs a surprise shot of P.R....he knows he can always count on Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

The Vatican's Secretary of State, effectively the No. 2 man in the Catholic Church hierarchy, dusted off the author of the oh-so-last-decade thriller as he responded to an ongoing Holy See scandal of leaked documents and palace intrigue.

Breaking his silence this week, the powerful Cardinal gave an interview with Italian weekly Famiglia Cristiana, in which he defended Pope Benedict XVI and waved off the supposed power struggles inside the Roman Curia as a case of too many journalists who "like to pretend they are Dan Brown."

A layman who worked as the Pope's personal butler has been arrested, accused of having leaked reams of confidential documents. The Pope has assigned a special investigative commission of three senior Cardinals to delve into the matter. Most Vatican insiders believe that the leaks are part of a plot to discredit Bertone and force his resignation.

But the ready-for-prime-time Dan Brown citation is not the first time Bertone has singled out the American author for special attention. Back in 2006, while serving as Archbishop of Genoa, Bertone declared that the then new film adaption of Da Vinci Code should be boycotted for its anti-Christian storyline.

Some may heed the clerical warnings, but any P.R. expert will tell you, the Cardinal offers the best mass marketing Brown could never buy.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Piercing The "Surovikin Line" — Inside The Biggest Win Of Ukraine's Counteroffensive

The area around Robotyne, in southeastern Ukraine, has been the centre of a fierce two-month battle. Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg breaks down how Ukrainian forces were able to exploit gaps in Russian defenses and push the counteroffensive forward.

photo of two soldiers advancing at daybreak

A new dawn across the front line?

Kyrylo Danylchenko

ROBOTYNE — Since the fall of 2022, Russian forces have been building a series of formidable defensive lines in Ukrainian territory, from Vasylivka in the Zaporizhzhia region to the front in Vremivka in the Donetsk region.

These defenses combined high-density minefields, redoubts (fortified structures like wooden bunkers, concrete fortifications and buried granite blocks), as well as anti-tank ditches and pillboxes. Such an extensive and intricate defensive network had not been seen in Europe since World War II.

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