Pope Francis has called for the Church in Cuba to have "the freedom and the means" to pursue its mission, on his first visit to the island. He also hailed improving ties between the US and Cuba as "an example of reconciliation for the whole world". The Pope was greeted by President Raul Castro after landing in the capital, Havana. Thousands of people lined the route of the Pope's motorcade to the home of the Vatican's ambassador to Cuba.
Italy's government said on Thursday it would put Rome city hall under close supervision following allegations it had fallen under the sway of organized crime, but allowed the beleaguered mayor to stay in office. A scandal dubbed "Mafia Capital" has rocked Rome this year, laying bare suspicions of rampant corruption that helped explain the shabby state of city streets and the dire state of municipal accounts.