Catholic priests burn Harry Potter books in Poland

The Harry Potter series of books spins an epic tale of good and evil focused on the adventures of the eponymous bespectacled young wizard. (AFP)
Updated 01 April 2019

Catholic priests burn Harry Potter books in Poland

  • ‘We obey the Word,’ priests said in a Facebook post showing photographs of the public book burning
  • ‘It’s hard for me to believe that we’re so backward!’

WARSAW: Catholic priests in the northern Polish city of Koszalin burned books they say are sacrilegious this weekend, including tomes from British author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of fantasy novels.
“We obey the Word,” priests said in a Facebook post showing photographs of the public book burning and quoting Biblical passages from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament.
One passage exhorting believers to destroy the enemies of God includes the passage “burn their idols in the fire.”
The post shows three priests carrying a basket of books and other items including an African-styled face mask through a church to an outside fire pit.
Photographs show priests saying prayers over the fire pit, where other items including a ‘Hello Kitty’ umbrella and a Hindu religious figurine, are also burning.
The Facebook page belongs to the “SMS from Heaven” Catholic evangelical foundation set up to spread Christian message via mobile phone text messages.
“I’d like to believe this is a joke... Seriously? Are people burning fantasy literature in the 21st century in some kind of sick ritual?!” one Facebook user said in a comment underneath.
“It’s hard for me to believe that we’re so backward!” they added.
Launched in 1997, the Harry Potter series of books spins an epic tale of good and evil focused on the adventures of the eponymous bespectacled young wizard as he struggles against the dark wizard Lord Voldemort.
It has sometimes drawn criticism from religious and conservative circles for what they say is its focus on witchcraft.
In recent months, Poland’s influential Roman Catholic church has been struggling to deal with the fallout of revelations about pedophilia among priests that are unprecedented in this overwhelmingly Catholic country.
Last month, the Polish episcopate admitted for the first time that nearly 400 of its clergy had sexually abused children and minors over the last three decades.
That reflected the findings published in February by a charity focused on sex abuse in the church.


‘Jetman’ stuns with Iron Man-style flight over Dubai

Updated 18 February 2020

‘Jetman’ stuns with Iron Man-style flight over Dubai

  • The Frenchman hovered above Dubai’s coast before shooting off into the air and skimming the city’s skyline
  • Daredevil Vince Reffet’s carbon fiber wings are powered by four mini jet engines

DUBAI: Daredevil Vince Reffet has soared into the skies above Dubai in the latest “Jetman” stunt, taking off from the ground and climbing to 1,800 meters in a feat reminiscent of Marvel’s “Iron Man” and hailed as a world first.
Reffet and his collaborators, known as “Jetmen,” have literally scaled new heights with the help of jetpacks and carbon-fire wings, staging a series of aerial displays that send them tearing through the skies at breakneck speed.
In an awe-inspiring flight captured on viral video, the Frenchman on Friday hovered five meters above the crystal waters of Dubai’s coast before shooting off into the air and skimming the city’s skyline.


“We accomplished another world first in 100 percent autonomous human flight with @jetmandubai, who took off from the ground before soaring to a high-altitude flight of up to 1,800m!” tweeted Expo 2020 Dubai, the mammoth trade fair that will open in October.
The Jetmen had previously launched themselves into the air by jumping down from high platforms.
“It’s the result of extremely thorough teamwork, where each small step generated huge results. Everything was planned to the split second, and I was overjoyed by the progress that was achieved,” Reffet said in a statement.
“One of the next objectives is to land back on the ground after a flight at altitude, without needing to open a parachute. It’s being worked on.”

Reffet’s carbon fiber wings are powered by four mini jet engines. The equipment, which is controlled by the pilot’s movements, is capable of reaching speeds of 400 kilometers per hour.
On Friday, Reffet hovered five meters above the crystal waters of Dubai’s coast before shooting off into the air and skimming the city’s skyline.
The Jetmen have pulled off a series of eye-popping flights in Dubai, soaring in tandem above the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa, and alongside an Emirates Airbus A380, the world’s largest commercial airplane.
Last year, Reffet and fellow Frenchman Fred Fugen also flew through the famed “Heaven’s Gate” archway in the mountains of China’s Hunan province.