[Updated at 12:24 p.m. ET] President Obama issues the following statement on Pope Benedict's decision to step down: "On behalf of Americans everywhere, Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Michelle and I warmly remember our meeting with the Holy Father in 2009, and I have appreciated our work together over these last four years.
"The Church plays a critical role in the United States and the world, and I wish the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s successor."
[Updated at 8:57 a.m. ET] Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement about Pope Benedict's resignation:
"The Holy Father brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the confidence of a soul united with His God in all he did. His resignation is but another sign of his great care for the Church. We are sad that he will be resigning but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership as successor of St. Peter.
Though 78 when he elected pope in 2005, he set out to meet his people – and they were of all faiths – all over the world. He visited the religiously threatened – Jews, Muslims and Christians in the war-torn Middle East, the desperately poor in Africa, and the world’s youth gathered to meet him in Australia, Germany, Spain and Brazil.
Injured ski champ Lindsey Vonn is thanking medical staff and fans for their help and support after she suffered a season-ending injury in a fall at the Alpine Ski World Championships in Austria on Tuesday.
Vonn sustained a "complex knee injury" when she crashed during the opening day of the championships, doctors said.
Now the 28-year-old Olympic gold medalist is saying "thank you" to members of the medical team who treated her after her crash in Schladming.
"First off I want to say thank you to the amazing medical staff that cared for me. I plan on returning to Vail as soon as I can to have the necessary surgeries. I am also grateful to my fans for the the outpouring of support, which has really helped me stay positive. I can assure you that I will work as hard as humanly possible to be ready to represent my country next year in Sochi," Vonn said in a statement released by her publicist.
The Russian city of Sochi will play host to the Winter Olympics in February 2014.
[Update 1:13 p.m. ET] Still more details about Lindsey Vonn's serious knee injury today at the Alpine Ski World Championships: She suffered a torn ACL and MCL in her right knee, and also fractured her lateral tibial plateau, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said.
The tibial plateau is the top of the shinbone, at the knee joint.
The 2010 Olympic downhill gold medalist "will be out for the remainder of this season but is expected to return to racing for the 2013-14 Audi FIS World Cup season and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi," the association said.
[Update 12:54 p.m. ET] New details about Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn's crash today at the Alpine Ski World Championships: She suffered a complex torn ligament in her right knee, according to Dr. Christian Kaulfersch, who is treating her at a hospital in Schladming, Austria.
Vonn's U.S. team is deciding whether to fly her back to the United States or keep her in Europe for a possible operation, Kaulfersch said.
[Update 10:51 a.m. ET] Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn was airlifted to a hospital Tuesday after she crashed during the opening day super-G at the Alpine Ski World Championships in Austria, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said.
The American suffered a "complex knee injury," according to the hospital where she was taken. Her injuries are not life-threatening, a hospital spokesman said.
Vonn was immediately attended to by race medical officials in Schladming, Austria, before being transported to the hospital, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said in a statement on its website.
Vonn, 28, won the downhill gold in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and is a four-time overall Alpine Ski World Cup champion.FULL STORY
One of two crane barges needed by salvage crews to help lift a stranded Navy minesweeper off a reef in the Philippines has arrived and another one is on the way, a Philippine news agency reports.
"The crane barge, Smit Borneo, arrived off Puerto Princesa Sunday morning. Another one, much bigger, is expected to arrive anytime soon," Philippine Coast Guard Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena told the news agency.
The warship USS Guardian ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef on January 17. Waves have battered the vessel since, badly damaging it.
Navy experts say the only way to safely move it off the environmentally sensitive reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is to cut it into pieces and lift those pieces off the reef with heavy cranes.
The U.S. Embassy also is organizing efforts with local authorities for restoration of the reef. The U.S. is offering a $100,000 grant to a Philippine university to "support coral restoration research at Tubbataha Reef," the embassy said in a statement.
[Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET] Although an Algerian military raid against the hostage-takers wrapped up on Thursday, a senior U.S. official stresses that more military operations could be coming.
"There are still hostages, and there are still terrorists," the official said, according to CNN's Elise Labott. "So tomorrow is another day."
[Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET] British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned his compatriots to prepare for "bad news ahead" related to kidnapping of dozens of hostages at a BP gas plant in Algeria.
"It is a fluid situation, it is ongoing," Cameron told the Reuters news agency. "But I think we should be prepared for the possibility of further bad news, very difficult news, in this extremely difficult situation."
The cancer charity founded by cyclist Lance Armstrong has released a statement calling on him to be "completely truthful" about claims that he used banned substances.
The statement comes one day ahead of the expected airing of part of Armstrong’s much-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey. In the taped interview, scheduled to air Thursday and Friday, Armstrong is said to have acknowledged using performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career.
“This week, Lance came to the LIVESTRONG Foundation to talk to our team in person. He expressed his regret for the stress the team suffered in recent years as a result of the controversy surrounding his cycling career. He asked that they stay focused on serving people affected by cancer, something our team has always done excellently and will continue to do,” the statement posted on Livestrong.org said.
“We expect Lance to be completely truthful and forthcoming in his interview and with all of us in the cancer community. We expect we will have more to say at that time. Regardless, we are charting a strong, independent course forward that is focused on helping people overcome financial, emotional and physical challenges related to cancer. Inspired by the people with cancer whom we serve, we feel confident and optimistic about the Foundation’s future and welcome an end to speculation.”
Armstrong stepped down as chairman of the charity in 2012.
CNN's Gloria Borger reports that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has informed President Obama that he intends to step down from the U.S. Department of the Interior at the end of March.
Salazar expects to return to his ranch and family in Colorado.FULL STORY
The Dakar rally – one of the toughest motorsports events in the world – was hit by a third death in just days when a French motorcycle rider was killed Friday following a collision with a Chilean police car.
Thomas Bourgin, 25, was on his way to start the seventh stage of the endurance race when he was hit by the vehicle in Chile, race organizers said. An inquiry has been launched into the incident which comes after the deaths Wednesday of two people following a crash between a taxi and a team support vehicle.FULL STORY
Lawyers for James Holmes, accused of killing 12 and wounding scores more in last summer's mass shooting inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, will get more time to prepare his defense, a judge has ruled.
Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester granted a defense motion for a continuance at today's expected arraignment. It now is scheduled for the week of March 12. The judge said Friday he was concerned that the case would be appealed if he moved too fast. Holmes' defense lawyers will have to review a mountain of documents, DVDs and CDs before the March court date.FULL STORY
[Updated at 11:13 a.m. ET] The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is safe to fly, according to U.S. aviation, transportation and industry officials. "We are confident about the safety of this aircraft, but we're concerned about these incidents," said Michael Huerta, FAA Administrator at a news conference this morning in Washington. He said a probe would focus on the aircraft's electrical components and how the electrical system interacts with mechanical components.
[Initial post at 8:05 a.m. ET] Federal regulators will announce Friday that they plan to carry out a "comprehensive review of Boeing 787 critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly."
The announcement follows a week of problems for the state-of-the-art airliner and is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET at a news conference with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Ray Conner.FULL STORY
[Update 6:32 p.m. ET] Eighty-five people were injured in the crash, including people who were treated and released at the scene, according to Charles Rowe, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman.
Two people had been listed in critical condition, but now authorities are saying only one person's condition remains critical.
[Update 1:46 p.m. ET] Coast Guard records indicate that the same Seastreak ferry has been involved in prior crashes, including one in 2009 when the vessel slammed into a New Jersey dock and tore a 2- to 3-foot gash in the starboard bow of the vessel.
A year later, a collision with a dock pile punctured a hole in the port side of the same boat.
[Update 12:33 a.m. ET] Seastreak LLC, the company operating the ferry, has released a statement on its website. In part, it says that "our thoughts and prayers are with those that were injured."
"Seastreak LLC will work closely with the federal, state and local authorities to determine the cause of the accident," the statement says.
[Update 12:28 a.m. ET] Two of the 57 hurt passengers are critically injured, authorities say.
[Update 11:43 a.m. ET] U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, releases a statement saying that National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Deborah Hersman assured him "that this serious accident will receive a full and thorough investigation."
“Ferry systems are crucial for New Jersey commuters, and the public must have every assurance that the ferries they ride are operating safely. I have every confidence in Chairman Hersman and the NTSB, and I know they will conduct a first-rate investigation so we can take steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”
Retail giant Wal-Mart has had an apparent change of heart about attending a gun-control summit called by Vice President Joe Biden.
The company tells CNN's Christine Romans it plans to send representatives to the Thursday meeting at the White House. It had previously said its experts on gun control were unavailable to meet due to a scheduling conflict.FULL STORY
Richard Blanco has been selected as the inaugural poet for the January 21 inauguration of President Barack Obama, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Wednesday.
"Blanco will be the youngest-ever inaugural poet and the first Hispanic or LGBT person to recite a poem at the swearing-in ceremony," the committee said.
“I’m honored that Richard Blanco will join me and Vice President Biden at our second inaugural,” Obama said today, according to the committee's statement.
“His contributions to the fields of poetry and the arts have already paved a path forward for future generations of writers. Richard’s writing will be wonderfully fitting for an inaugural that will celebrate the strength of the American people and our nation’s great diversity,” Obama added.
"I’m beside myself, bestowed with this great honor, brimming over with excitement, awe, and gratitude,” Blanco, 44, said in a statement.
– First funerals for two of 20 children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School are Monday
– Six adults and the shooter are also dead after shootings on Friday morning
– Police: Nancy Lanza, mother of gunman, died from multiple gunshot wounds
– Gunman Adam Lanza had assault rifle magazines that held 30 bullets each, police said
– Victims' names released Saturday; all of the slain children were either 6 or 7 years old
[Update 5:45 p.m. ET] Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed an executive order Monday allowing Newtown to send its schoolchildren to Chalk Middle School in the town of Monroe so the children won't have to return to the scene of Friday's massacre of students and teachers.
[Update 4:01 p.m. ET] Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy supports stricter federal gun control, Malloy said during a press conference Monday in Hartford.