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    With mild weather ahead, southern Europe is once again bracing for new boatloads of would-be migrants and asylum seekers from North Africa.

    Italy has borne the brunt of this migrant flow for two decades, and it has responded with one of Europe's most repressive laws on illegal immigration.

    But now the Italian parliament is trying to scrap a law that has made migrants vulnerable to exploitation and human rights abuses.


    A year ago today, the world's 1.2 billion Catholics got their first Jesuit pope and the first from the global south. Taking the name Francis, he soon became one of the world's most popular newsmakers.

    Following two doctrinally conservative leaders, the Argentine-born pope's pastoral approach has given the Catholic Church a new glow — less judgmental, more merciful.

    Like many others in the big Sunday crowd in St.


    The elections of President Obama and Pope Francis made history — Obama as the first African-American U.S. president and the Argentine-born Jorge Bergoglio as the first non-European pope in centuries.

    A year ago today, the world's 1.2 billion Catholics got their first Jesuit pope and the first from the global south. Taking the name Francis, he soon became one of the world's most popular newsmakers.

    Following two doctrinally conservative leaders, the Argentine-born pope's pastoral approach has given the Catholic Church a new glow — less judgmental, more merciful.

    Like many others in the big Sunday crowd in St.


    Transcript

    LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

    This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

    DAVID GREENE, HOST:

    And I'm David Greene. Good morning. President Obama has wrapped up a meeting in Vatican City with Pope Francis, the man who in just one year has become the world's spiritual superstar. Now, the elections of both men made history, Barack Obama as the first African-American president, and the Argentine-born Jorge Bergoglio became the first non-European pope in centuries.

    NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us now to talk about what these two men share and where they disagree.


    Transcript

    MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

    For the second time this year, Vatican officials were subjected to scathing questions by a U.N. panel. The questions focus on the church's handling of cases of sexual abuse by priests. The grilling came in two days of hearings in Geneva by the U.N. Committee on Torture. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli is following this and joins me now. And, Sylvia, earlier this year, it was a U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child that issued a very harsh report about clerical sex abuse.


    Transcript

    RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

    This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The Vatican got a grilling this past week for its handling of the clerical sex abuse scandal. The setting - a United Nations hearing in Geneva. Meanwhile in Rome, a new advisory board to Pope Francis held its first meeting on the sex abuse crisis.

    In a moment we'll hear from a member of that board whose personal story of abuse may be hard for some listeners to hear. But first, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports on that U.N.


    The first non-European pope in modern history will makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week, a region with centuries of religious strife.

    Francis — the first pope to take the name of the saint of peace — will carry far less historical baggage than any of his predecessors.

    When John Paul II visited Israel in 2000, he prayed at the Western Wall and apologized for the church's sins against Jews.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdVepadhCb0


    Eighteen miles off Tuscany's coast, Gorgona is Italy's last island prison. Its steep cliffs rise up from azure Mediterranean waters. Here, a select group of convicts serves the end of long sentences by farming. And now, a legendary winemaker is training them to make high-end wine.

    Mentioned by Dante in The Divine Comedy, Gorgona was for thousands of years a refuge for hermits and monks.


    A most unusual regatta recently took place off Tuscany's southern coast: Vintage sailboats known as the Grandes Dames of the Sea — some more than 100 years old — plied the waters of Porto Santo Stefano, a fishing village known for ideal sailing conditions

    Among the more than 40 yachts was one, Manitou, that was known as "the floating White House" when her owner was President John F. Kennedy.

    The boat is made of mahogany — a 62-foot boat that weighs 30 tons, skipper Alex Tillery says proudly.


    On the outskirts of Rome, far from the coast, there's a top-security compound where Italy is trying to tackle one of Europe's major crises: the rising flows of unauthorized migrants making perilous journeys from North Africa across the Mediterranean.

    In all of 2011, the year of the Arab uprisings, slightly more than 60,000 migrants arrived by sea in Italy.

    By mid-August this year, the number surpassed 100,000.

    Reports of migrant boats in distress have


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