U.S. pulls out of Reagan-Gorbachev disarmament deal
The United States pulled out of a 1987 nuclear arms deal with Russia last Friday, Feb. 1 with the White House claiming that Moscow had violated the deal and deployed missiles that were banned in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. Moscow denied any such breaches of the agreement and instead said that the U.S. was only making these accusations to justify reneging on the deal. Moscow intends to also leave the treaty but says they will only deploy the missiles that broke the treaty if the U.S. does as well. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained on Saturday, Feb. 2 that Russia’s actions “jeopardized the United States’ supreme interests,” including the Western European nations that would be in range of the intermediate missiles, but that it will be six months before the agreement is fully terminated.
The treaty was agreed upon in in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Premier Mikhail Gorbachev after both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. had deployed INF-banned missile systems.
Pope holds Mass in the Arabian Peninsula
On Feb. 5, Pope Francis became the first pope to celebrate Mass in the Arabian Peninsula, a region heavily influenced by Islam. The pontiff delivered an address to tens of thousands of people at the end of this historic visit, completing the trip in the United Arab Emirates. At the ceremony, prayers were conducted in six languages: among them French, Tagalog, Urdu and Konkani. Around 180,000 people attended the historically unprecedented ceremony, held at the Zayed Sports City stadium in Abu Dhabi.
According to the Vatican, it was described as the largest public display of non-Islamic worship in the Gulf state. The thousands of people hailed from 100 countries, including asylum-seekers, migrants and 4,000 Muslims. This celebration took place following the urging of religious leaders to promote harmony between religions in the region.
Body of soccer player Emiliano Sala found
Footballer Emiliano Sala’s body has been found in the wreckage of a crashed plane, police have confirmed. Sala was travelling to Cardiff in a plane piloted by David Ibbotson, which went missing over the English Channel on Jan. 21. A body was pulled from the wreckage late on Wednesday following its discovery on Sunday morning, and it was confirmed to be the remains of the 28-year-old on Feb. 7.
Sala’s plane, which carried only him and the pilot, crashed more than two weeks ago during a trip from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff, Wales. Sala had recently signed a contract with the English Premier League club Cardiff City for a record-breaking fee of about 17 million euros ($19 million USD), following a breakout 12-goal performance. He had been flying from Nantes to join his new team when his single-engine aircraft disappeared over the English Channel.