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Pope prays for space shuttle victims

 The Pope called on all people to pray for the seven astronauts killed when the space shuttle Columbia broke up as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. Speaking during the Angelus in St Peter's Square yesterday, Pope John Paul II said his prayers were with the victims' families. "The painful news of the tragic explosion of the US space shuttle Columbia has triggered sharp emotions in everyone," he said. "I invite everyone to pray for the victims of the accident. At this extremely testing time, I am spiritually close to the relatives. I assure them that I will remember them in my prayers."