Vatican turns off fountains to show solidarity to Romans suffering from drought

All the fountains in Vatican City have been turned off ‘for the first time in living memory’.  The decision was taken by Pope Francis after surrounding city of Rome did the same with some of their iconic drinking fountains.

After suffering from low rainfall for last two years, the region is reeling under a severe drought. This has even made Rome consider drastic water rationing measures for its citizens. Other parts of Italy are also suffering from one of the country’s driest summers ever. In a show of support, Vatican decided to turn off all 100 of its fountains, including the 17th century sculptures on St Peter’s Square.

“This is the Vatican’s way of living solidarity with Rome, trying to help Rome get through this crisis. This decision is very much in line with the pope’s thinking on ecology: you can’t waste and sometimes you have to be willing to make a sacrifice,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said in a press statement.

Pope Francis was the first to release an official papal document on the environment in 2015. He also demanded the world leaders to carry out swift action in this direction. He has also expressed his dislike for wasteful practices while calling clean drinking water as vital for both people and the environment.



Bodies of Swiss couple found after 75 years in a melting glacier

The bodies of a couple who went mission 75 years ago were discovered in the Swiss Alps after a glacier in the mountain range started melting. This discovery also put an end to decades of pursuit of their children to give their parents a respectable funeral.

Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin had gone over to a meadow near their house to milk their cows in the Valais canton on August 15, 1942. They never returned home. The bodies were found last week by a staffer of Les Diablerets resort near a ski lift. The worker had gone to an altitude of 2615 meters (8600 feet) for a routine maintenance job, according to the Valais cantonal police. They also said that the two bodies had identifying documents on them.

The bodies were found perfectly preserved, wearing clothes dating back to the World War II era. Their belongings, which included  backpacks, watches, mess kits, a glass bottle and boots, that were lying close by were also intact. Though the identities are established by the papers and belongings, DNA tests would be done for confirmation.

The youngest of their seven kids, Marcelin Udry-Dumoulin said that the news of her parents’ bodies being found brought her a deep sense of calm. “We spent our whole lives looking for them, without stopping. We thought that we could give them the funeral they deserved one day. For the funeral, I won’t wear black. I think that white would be more appropriate. It represents hope, which I never lost,” said Marceline, now 79 years old.


Floods kill 6 people and force 100,000 out of their houses in Japan

Japan is facing the worst kind of nature’s fury. Heavy rains lashing the southwestern part of the island nation have caused disastrous floods. The heavy rains that have been going on for the last two days led to the death of six people even as several others are untraceable. Authorities have warned more than 100,000 people to evacuate their homes, while warning of more rains and landslide.

Over the past couple of days, the southernmost island that makes up Japan Kyushu has received over 22 inches of rainfall. This amounts to more rains than expected all through the month of July according to the meteorological agency. Only last week, the region faced typhoon Nanmadol which has been directly linked to the torrential downpour.

Continuous rains caused flash floods that led to several cities being immersed in the deluge. Subsequent landslides caused destruction of property, flooding of the roads and breaking of electric supply and communication lines.

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga informed, “Rescue officials, including fire fighters, police and other forces, have been mobilized. They have managed to rescue 250 people but are yet to reach some of the affected areas.” The rescuers had to use helicopters to reach people stranded in the rubble of broken buildings. They also waddled through water and mud to reach the others.