Why Pope Francis is going to Greece

The Economist Daily Dispatch: April 7th 2016

The pope and the patriarch: Breaking protocol
Next week Pope Francis will visit Lesbos, the epicentre of Europe’s refugee crisis. Patriarch Bartholomew, the Istanbul-based cleric who is “first among equals” in the Eastern Orthodox Church, will join him. The visit was arranged by the Greek Orthodox Church, which is squabbling with the Patriarch over territorial control of Lesbos. Pope Francis is far more concerned about the refugees stuck on the island, writes our religion columnist

China and Panama: The dragon’s trail
Protests are erupting globally over the revelations in the Panama papers. But not in China. Documents show that nine prominent families, including a relative of President Xi Jinping, own or have owned offshore companies. Censors have removed online mentions of the scandal. But the news will strengthen perceptions that China’s elite enjoy enormous wealth and privilege despite Mr Xi’s anti-corruption drive, writes our Beijing bureau chief

Facebook: Like gold dust
Facebook has defied even optimists’ projections of how big it could become. Americans spend a third of their time on mobile devices on Facebook, compared to about a tenth on Google search and YouTube combined. Facebook will shortly announce plans to turn Messenger into a portal through which people can order taxis, communicate with businesses and the like. More friends await, writes our US technology editor

Podcasts: Small medium goes large
Podcasts were first created in 2001. The first generation lacked professionalism, and advertisers were scarce in the wake of the financial crash. But they are experiencing a renaissance. Listening to them is simpler thanks to new technology. And the percentage of American adults polled who had listened to a podcast in the previous month doubled between 2008 and 2015. This is the year podcasts come of age

~6.15pm London

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