Pope Francis celebrated an active if low-key 80th birthday on December 17, sharing breakfast with eight homeless people before celebrating Mass with cardinals as greetings flowed in from around the world. The pope chatted individually with each of the homeless guests: four Italians, two Romanians, a Moldovan and a Peruvian, at the Vatican hotel where he resides, and shared Argentinian cakes with them before heading to Mass, the Vatican said. The guests offered the pope a bouquet of sunflowers. They were invited from among those staying around St Peter's Square and at nearby showers for the homeless established by the pope's almsgiver. The pope has sent enough birthday cakes for 1,500 people to kitchens serving the poor and homeless in Rome.
Veteran Indian actor Simi Grewal recently hosted her co-star from Mera Naam Joker, Ksenia Ryabinkina with the Kapoors at a party and clicked a bunch of selfies. The 69-year-old beauty starred in the 1970 movie with Ryabinkina, who played the Russian trapeze artist in the film. In case you need a reminder, this is her from the film: Simi captioned the photo: “Finally with the Guest of Honor! Russia’s Ksenia Ryabinkina. Lovely to meet her after decades. Remember her? The trapeze artist in Joker!” She even clicked pictures with parents-to-be Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor. She also got Raj Kapoor’s wife, Krishna Kapoor to pose for the picture.
Both president Barack Obama and president-elect Donald Trump believe the United States never should have invaded Iraq in 2003. The war in Iraq and its chaotic aftermath in many ways prefigure the present moment in the Middle East; it triggered a sectarian unraveling that now haunts both Iraq and Syria and looms large in the minds of an Obama administration wary of further intervention in the region’s conflicts. In a new book coming out this month, John Nixon, a former CIA officer who interrogated Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein after he was captured by coalition forces in December 2003, details his encounter with the toppled despot and the varied discussions that followed. Early on, Hussein warned that the occupation of Iraq wouldn’t be as much of a “cakewalk” as Washington’s neoconservatives assumed at the time.
Veteran Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar celebrated his 94th birthday on December 18 with wife Saira Banu in the hospital, where he was admitted following illness. Kumar, who was admitted to Lilavati hospital in suburban Bandra on December 13 following a swelling in his right leg, thanked fans and well wishers for their messages. In a series of posts on Twitter, the actor also shared a picture of himself cutting the birthday cake sitting on the hospital bed. "Saira, helps me cut a cake," he captioned one picture.