The Vatican unexpectedly canceled its previously planned live broadcast of President Joe Biden’s visit with Pope Francis, “the latest restriction to media coverage of the Holy See” reports the Associated Press.
“The Vatican press office provided no explanation for why the live broadcast of Biden’s visit had been trimmed to cover just the arrival of the president’s motorcade in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, where a Vatican monsignor will greet him” the AP added.
Among the canceled visitation was “any live coverage of Biden actually greeting Francis in the Palace Throne Room, as well as the live footage of the two men sitting down to begin their private talks in Francis’ library, at which time the cameras normally would have stopped running.”
The Vatican says it will provide edited footage to accredited media. This will be Biden’s first meeting with the Pope as president of the United States, but they have met three times previously. The AP reports “the audience was being closely monitored since U.S. bishops are due to meet in a few weeks for their annual fall convention, with one of the agenda items inspired by conservatives who contend that Biden’s support for abortion rights should disqualify him from receiving Communion.”
Pope Francis has vocally opposed abortion, calling it “murder.” But he has advised bishops to be pastors, not politicians. Any documents that come from the bishops’ discussions are “not expected to mention Biden by name” but “it’s possible there could be a clear message of rebuke.”
The Vatican has provided live television coverage for the visits of major heads of state for years and “live broadcasts are particularly important because the Vatican hasn’t allowed independent photographers and journalists into papal audiences since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Live access is traditional, and “It is during those moments in the pope’s library that reporters can view the gifts that are exchanged, watch as the formal photograph is taken and overhear remarks as the leaders arrive and depart to get a sense of how the pope and his guest have gotten along.” However, “Only the pope’s official photographer and Vatican video journalists are now allowed in.”
The AP reports that the Vatican correspondents’ association has protested the cancellation of such pool access and several media outlets, including The Associated Press. They have “formally complained about Thursday’s cut of the live Biden-pope broadcast and asked for an explanation.”
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the administration was “working through every lever we have” to get more access. Even Biden’s own pool of reporters who would normally be allowed into the pope’s library will no longer have access.
“We believe in the value of the free press. We believe in the value of ensuring you have access to the president’s trips and his visits overseas,” Psaki said during a White House briefing.
Noting that Biden was a guest and the Vatican the host, she added: “I can’t offer you a guarantee, but I can guarantee you we will continue to advocate.”
Biden Admin Announces Eased Restrictions On Cuba
On Monday, the Biden administration announced that it is easing restrictions on Cuba in order to help support the Cuban people.
“The Cuban people are confronting an unprecedented humanitarian crisis — and our policy will continue to focus on empowering the Cuban people to help them create a future free from repression and economic suffering,” the State Department said.
The Biden administration’s changes include reduced restrictions on travel, along with removing “the current limit on family remittances of $1,000 per quarter per sender-receiver pair and will authorize donative (i.e., non-family) remittances, which will support independent Cuban entrepreneurs.”
The move received backlash as many argued that reduced restrictions on Cuba will only benefit the Cuban dictatorship. According to Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the decision marks another policy failure by President Biden.
“Biden’s plan to prop up the Cuban dictatorship represents yet another failure when it comes to standing for freedom in our hemisphere,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter.
“Money from ‘tourism’ will go into the pockets of the Cuban regime – and will help fortify the government against those seeking freedom in Cuba,” he added.
Biden's plan to prop up the Cuban dictatorship represents yet another failure when it comes to standing for freedom in our hemisphere.
Money from "tourism" will go into the pockets of the Cuban regime – and will help fortify the government against those seeking freedom in Cuba.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 17, 2022
The news comes a week after DeSantis announced that November 7 will now be Victims of Communism Day in Florida.
“Today, I established November 7th as Victims of Communism Day to honor those who have suffered under communism and remind people of the destruction communism has caused worldwide, including a death toll exceeding 100 million,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter. “In Florida, we will tell the truth about communism.”
Report: Ukraine Sunk Russian Warship By Using US Intel
Ukraine sunk the Russian warship Moskva last month using United States intelligence, according to a new report from NBC News.
“A guided missile cruiser carrying a crew of 510, the Moskva was the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet,” NBC News reported. “It sank on April 14 after being struck by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles, U.S. officials said. Moscow said the vessel sank after a fire. The Moskva was the largest Russian warship sunk in combat since World War II. American officials said there were significant Russian casualties, but they don’t know how many.”
“The attack happened after Ukrainian forces asked the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa, U.S. officials told NBC News,” the outlet added. “The U.S. identified it as the Moskva, officials said, and helped confirm its location, after which the Ukrainians targeted the ship.”
The news comes the day after a report from The New York Times revealed that the United States has provided Ukraine with intelligence on Russian military units that has enabled the country to kill multiple Russian generals.
“The targeting help is part of a classified effort by the Biden administration to provide real-time battlefield intelligence to Ukraine,” The New York Times reported. “That intelligence also includes anticipated Russian troop movements gleaned from recent American assessments of Moscow’s secret battle plan for the fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the officials said. Officials declined to specify how many generals had been killed as a result of U.S. assistance.”
“The United States has focused on providing the location and other details about the Russian military’s mobile headquarters, which relocate frequently,” the outlet added. “Ukrainian officials have combined that geographic information with their own intelligence — including intercepted communications that alert the Ukrainian military to the presence of senior Russian officers — to conduct artillery strikes and other attacks that have killed Russian officers.”
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