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The Christian world celebrates Easter

People gathered around the Christian world to celebrate Easter Sunday, with Pope Benedict XVI using his Easter address to call for peace in North Africa and the Middle East.

The Pontiff said politics across the regions should be based on respect for all and urged Libya to allow civilians access to humanitarian aid. Celebrating Easter Mass in St Peter's Square in Vatican City – which was packed with tens of thousands of pilgrims – he prayed for the realisation of a society where "every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person".

The Pope also prayed for people in the Middle East "so that the light of peace and of human dignity may overcome the darkness of division, hate and violence". His "Urbi et Orbi" message called for the Ivory Coast to "tread the path of reconciliation and pardon" and he prayed that Japan found consolation as it sought to recover from last month's earthquake and tsunami.