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POPE DECRIES SELFISHNESS IN ECONOMIC CRISIS

INTERNATIONAL NEWS
VATICAN CITY, ROME - Pope Benedict XVI warned in his Christmas message Thursday that the world was headed toward ruin if selfishness prevails over solidarity during tough economic times for rich and poor nations. " world needs solidarity, not selfishness, amid economic meltdown. "he said.
Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, Benedict said he was trying to inspire hope in the world.
"Brothers and sisters, all you who are listening to my words: this proclamation of hope — the heart of the Christmas message — is meant for all men and women.
" The traditional papal Christmas Day message "Urbi et Orbi" — Latin for "to the City and to the World" — usually covers the globe's hot spots, but this year Benedict also addressed the economic conditions worrying many across the planet amid near-daily news of layoffs, failing companies and people losing homes.
Benedict said his Christmas message applied to "wherever an increasingly uncertain future is regarded with apprehension, even in affluent nations."
The BBC's David Wiley in Rome says this Christmas the Pope's thoughts are centred particularly upon conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.
The pontiff's address coincided with an escalation of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, after Hamas leaders there declared an end to a ceasefire between the two sides.
"May the divine light of Bethlehem radiate throughout the Holy Land," the Pope said.
His remarks echoed those of his earlier Midnight Mass, in which he called for an end to "hatred and violence" in the Middle East.
Turning to Africa, the pontiff said Zimbabweans had been "trapped for all too long in a political and social crisis which, sadly, keeps worsening".
The Pope also decried the "interminable sufferings" of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and Somalia. These, he said, were the "tragic consequences of the lack of stability and peace" there.
abc NEWS
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