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Jan 14, 2015 11:39 PM

Pope heading to Philippines, where adoring crowds await

The Associated Press

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) Pope Francis is heading for the Philippines on Thursday where adoring crowds await his arrival as the first pope to visit the predominantly Catholic nation in 20 years.

The government has declared national holidays during his visit, which runs through the weekend.

During his time in Sri Lanka, he traveled to the jungles of war-torn north for a show of solidarity with the victims of the country's 25-year civil war, urging people to forgive one another "for all the evil which this land has known."

The pope's trip is giving Philippine authorities daunting security challenges, including an outdoor Mass on Sunday that could draw a record 6 million people.

Francis also plans to visit Tacloban, which devastated by a typhoon in 2013.


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