Security Will Be Tight During Pope’s Visit to New York
Portions of the sky above, the water around, and streets all over New York will be sealed off next week when Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the city.
As a religious leader and a head of state, recently accused by Osama bin Laden of leading a crusade against Muslims, the pope presents city and federal law enforcement authorities with a security challenge of considerable complexity.
Planning began in October for a three-day trip that will involve visits to some of the city’s biggest and most high-profile locations: ground zero, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Yankee Stadium, the United Nations and the Park East Synagogue — which will constitute “the first-ever visit by a pope to a synagogue in the United States,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said Wednesday.
All the locations will be swept for bombs. Some other measures will be visible: scuba divers in the East River, counter-snipers patrolling rooftops, helicopters, and armored limousines.
Other measures will not be visible, like undercover detectives mingling in crowds or officers carrying pager-sized radiation detectors on their belts.
Officials Tell How Sect in West Texas Was Raided
For years, the veiled world behind the doors of a fundamentalist Mormon polygamist temple tantalized local imaginations in the West Texas hill country.
On Thursday, a Texas ranger described in detail what occurred last week when law enforcement officers, responding to a call for help from a 16-year-old who said she was being sexually abused in the compound, sought entry.
In essence, Capt. Barry Caver of the Texas Public Safety Department said at a news conference here, the officers knocked and asked for a key. The church members quietly said no.
“They opted not to do that because they would be aiding or assisting us in the desecration of their worship place,” Caver said.
The authorities called in a locksmith to open the gate, but they were unable to move the deadbolts to open the front doors of the temple. They tried to use a “jaws of life” tool, normally used to remove people trapped in cars after accidents, to open the doors. But the doors were too tightly constructed, Caver said.
Dalai Lama Visits Seattle Town
The Baptist church that once stood on a residential corner in this city’s Greenwood neighborhood was long ago converted to a Buddhist monastery, pillows in the place of pews.
Outside, a bright white stupa stands amid half-million-dollar bungalows, some with signs in their windows reciting current creed: “Another Neighbor for Peace and Justice.”
“It’s a spiritual city, perhaps more than a religious city,” said Chuck Pettis, president of the Sakya Monastery, where three monks practice Tibetan Buddhism.
Spirits here are soaring these days. More than 150,000 people are expected to flock to hear the Dalai Lama during a five-day conference starting Friday.
The visit by the Dalai Lama, who arrived here on Thursday afternoon on a flight from Japan, is his first to the United States since the onset of international protests over the crackdown in Tibet.