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Pope Francis speaks during his weekly General Audience at the Paul VI Hall on Dec. 15 in Vatican City. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Francis forcefully condemned domestic violence during an appearance on Italian television Sunday, saying that men who commit it are engaging in something "almost satanic," Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Domestic violence levels have risen throughout the world during the pandemic, as lockdowns and strained health systems have cut many women off from vital sources of help while trapping them with their abusers, according to U.N. Women.

  • New figures released last month showed that there are 90 cases of violence against women in Italy daily, with 62% of these being incidents of domestic violence, according to Reuters.

What he's saying: "The number of women who are beaten and abused in their homes, even by their husbands, is very, very high," Francis said during the program, per Reuters.

  • "The problem is that, for me, it is almost satanic because it is taking advantage of a person who cannot defend herself, who can only (try to) block the blows," he added, per Reuters. "It is humiliating. Very humiliating."

Go deeper

Updated Jan 2, 2022 - Economy & Business

Thousands more flights canceled amid bad weather, Omicron spike

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Dec. 27. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Some 4,700 domestic flights were canceled over New Year's weekend, with poor weather conditions contributing to delays already exacerbated by the Omicron variant.

The latest: A total of 2,529 flights going within, into and out of the U.S. were canceled on Sunday as of 5 p.m, according to tracking service FlightAware. More than 6,000 were delayed.

Starbucks drops worker vaccine mandate after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks announced in a memo to employees Tuesday that it has dropped plans to implement a vaccine mandate for all U.S. workers, AP reported on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

59 mins ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.

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