March 6th, 2013
04:27 AM ET

Kate's 'slip' prompts speculation it's a girl

British newspapers are abuzz with speculation that Prince William's pregnant wife Catherine is expecting a girl after a member of the public reported hearing what seemed to be a hint that a daughter is on the way.

The Duchess of Cambridge was talking to members of the public on a visit to the coastal town of Grimsby, in northeast England, on Tuesday when the apparent slip of the tongue was made.

Sandra Cook, 67, said, "The lady next to me gave her a teddy bear and I distinctly heard her say: 'Thank you, I will take that for my d...' Then she stopped herself."

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Sistine Chapel closing for conclave preparations
A prayer service is held in the Sistine Chapel on October 31, 2012.
March 5th, 2013
07:54 AM ET

Sistine Chapel closing for conclave preparations

The Sistine Chapel is closing to the public Tuesday afternoon so that Catholic officials can prepare for an eventual conclave to elect a new pope, the Vatican announced.

Catholic cardinals have yet to announce when the conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI's successor would start. On Monday they began a series of meetings designed to, among other things, decide when the conclave will begin. They were due to continue these meetings, known as General Congregations, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Filed under: Catholic Church • Christian • Religion • Vatican
March 3rd, 2013
12:05 AM ET

Clues to be found in next pope's moniker

The secret election to pick a new pope has yet to begin. But whoever is picked may already be mulling over his choice of name - and what it means.

In the long history of popes, stretching back two millennia to St. Peter, some names have picked up negative associations, while others have come to signify conservatism or a desire for change.

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Filed under: World
February 28th, 2013
02:10 PM ET

Benedict: I'm 'simply a pilgrim' now

  • Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, takes effect at 2 p.m. ET (8 p.m. in Rome)
  • Benedict now in papal retreat 15 miles from Vatican; tells crowd he's starting the last part of his pilgrimage on Earth
  • Benedict, 85, met with cardinals Thursday morning, pledges his "unconditional obedience" to the next pope
  • Updates below; full story here; see CNN Mexico's coverage in Spanish

[Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET] Uniformed police officers have now taken over the task of guarding the pope emeritus. When his papacy ended 10 minutes ago, Swiss Guards left their posts, closed the doors of Castel Gandolfo, and hung up their halberds.

[Updated at 2 p.m. ET] The papacy of Benedict XVI is now officially over, ending a pontificate in retirement rather than death for the first time in nearly 600 years.

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February 27th, 2013
06:04 AM ET

Reports: Dead, injured in Switzerland shooting

[Updated at 9:14 a.m. ET] A gunman killed two people and himself, and injured seven other people, in Wednesday's shooting at a lumber plant near Lucerne, Switzerland, local media reported.

[Updated at 6:34 a.m. ET] Several people were killed in a shooting at a wood manufacturing factory on the outskirts of the central Swiss city of Lucerne on Wednesday, police said. Several others were wounded.

Rescuers flew four critically wounded people to two area hospitals, according to air rescue spokeswoman Karine Hoerhager.

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February 27th, 2013
04:14 AM ET

Thousands bid farewell to pope

[Updated at 6:59 a.m. ET] In his final general audience, Pope Benedict XVI told tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square about his own spiritual journey through eight years as pontiff.

Dressed all in white and looking serene, the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics called for a renewal of faith.

As he finished, cheers erupted from the crowd in the square - acknowledged by Benedict, who is steeping down tomorrow, with an open-armed embrace.

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Filed under: Catholic Church • Christian • Religion
Vatican reveals Pope Benedict XVI's new title
February 26th, 2013
07:27 AM ET

Vatican reveals Pope Benedict XVI's new title

[Updated at 8:26 a.m. ET] We're getting details about the future of the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.

The pontiff will keep the name Benedict XVI and the title "his holiness" once he retires. He also will be known as pope emeritus, emeritus pope or Roman pontifex emeritus, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters at the Vatican on Tuesday.

Benedict surprised the world when he announced earlier this month that he would retire effective this Thursday.

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Pope's Twitter account to end when he leaves
Pope Benedict XVI clicks on a tablet to send his first Twitter message at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on December 12.
February 22nd, 2013
11:43 AM ET

Pope's Twitter account to end when he leaves

This will be one short-lived Twitter feed.

When Pope Benedict XVI leaves office on February 28, his Twitter presence as @Pontifex will also come to an end, according to Vatican Radio.

Benedict has been active on Twitter for only about two and a half months, but more than 2 million people have chosen to follow his tweets in nine languages.

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Filed under: Catholic Church • Religion • Vatican
February 20th, 2013
06:03 AM ET

Cameron marks 1919 massacre

UK Prime Minister David Cameron visited the site of the infamous 1919 Amritsar massacre by British troops in India on Wednesday - but those hoping he might apologize for the atrocity were disappointed.

Cameron, the first serving British prime minister to visit Amritsar, a Sikh holy city in the northwestern state of Punjab, laid a wreath at a memorial to the hundreds killed in the massacre.

Writing in a book of condolences at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial, he described the massacre as "a deeply shameful event in British history." He added, "We must never forget what happened here."

However, he did not give a formal apology for the atrocity, which occurred while India was part of the British Empire.

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Filed under: World
February 12th, 2013
06:23 AM ET

French lawmakers to vote on same-sex marriage bill

Same-sex marriage in France could take a step closer to reality Tuesday, as lawmakers vote on a controversial bill that would extend the right to marry and adopt to same-sex couples.

If the draft measure is approved as expected in France's National Assembly, it must still go before the Senate before it can become law.

If passed, it would mark the biggest step forward for French gay rights advocates in more than a decade.

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February 5th, 2013
03:27 PM ET

UK lawmakers approve same-sex marriage in first vote

[Updated at 3:27 p.m. ET] A little clarification: The bill would, as drafted, enable religious organizations in the United Kingdom to conduct same-sex marriages if they wish.

[Updated at 3:14 p.m. ET] More details on the vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom: The second reading of the bill passed in a 400-175 vote Tuesday.

The bill will be up for further debate in the House of Commons, and it still would need to go though other stages, including another vote in the House of Commons and approval in the House of Lords, before it can become law.

[Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET] The UK House of Commons has passed a bill to introduce same-sex marriage in the country.

The legislation still must go through several more stages, including approval in the House of Lords, before it can become law.

[Posted at 9:23 a.m. ET] UK lawmakers are to vote on a bill to introduce same-sex marriage Tuesday, an issue that has prompted widespread rebellion within Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party.

Three top party members appealed to Conservative MPs to get behind the controversial legislation in a letter published in the Telegraph newspaper Tuesday.

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January 25th, 2013
08:39 AM ET

Dozens injured in Egypt protests

The streets around Cairo's Tahrir Square were again roiled by violent clashes between police and protesters Friday, as crowds gathered to mark two years since the start of the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

At least 29 protesters have been treated over the past 12 hours for cuts, broken bones and birdshot injuries, Health Ministry spokesman Khaled El Khatib said.

Six police officers have also been hurt in the disorder near Tahrir Square, the Interior Ministry said.

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Cameron promises referendum on Britain's place in Europe
British Prime Minister David Cameron delivers his speech on the UK's relationship with the EU on January 23, 2013 in London.
January 23rd, 2013
04:49 AM ET

Cameron promises referendum on Britain's place in Europe

British Prime Minister David Cameron promised Wednesday that a referendum would be held on Britain's membership of the European Union, if his party wins the next election in 2015.

Cameron said the British people should have a choice about whether to remain in the EU on the basis of a renegotiated settlement - or to leave.

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U.S. attorney: We acted reasonably in Swartz case
Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz fought for Web freedoms but faced charges that he illegally downloaded online documents.
January 17th, 2013
12:12 PM ET

U.S. attorney: We acted reasonably in Swartz case

A federal prosecutor is pushing back against a claim by the grieving family of Internet activist Aaron Swartz that "prosecutorial overreach" was a factor in his suicide, saying her office acted "fairly and responsibly."

News of the death of Swartz, 26, last Friday sent shock waves through the hacker community and the larger online world. His family and partner issued a statement saying that federal charges filed over allegations that he stole millions of online documents - mostly scholarly papers - from MIT through the university's computer network contributed to Swartz's decision to take his own life.

But the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz, disputed their account of events in a statement released Thursday, while expressing her sympathy "as a parent and a sister" for their loss.

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Filed under: Courts • Technology
January 16th, 2013
07:06 PM ET

Americans among hostages at Algerian gas field

[Updated at 7:06 p.m. ET] A claim by hostage-takers in Algeria that they are holding seven Americans is inaccurate, with the real number thought to be as few as three, two U.S. officials said Wednesday.

For more details read our full story here.

[Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET] Islamic militants have released Algerian hostages - but not other hostages - whom the militants had taken at an Algerian gas field near the Libyan border, Algerian State TV has reported.

Foreign hostages - from Norway, Britain, the United States, France and Japan - still reportedly were being held.

Meanwhile, Algerian authorities have received demands from the militants, but the government will not negotiate, the Algerian Interior Minister said in an interview with state television.

[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET] Americans are among the hostages that Islamists have taken at an Algerian gas field, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday. She wouldn't say how many people were taken.

North African media outlets report that more than 40 Westerners have been taken hostage by Islamists who are angry over Algiers' support for a French offensive in Mali.

At least one foreigner died and others were kidnapped in the attack on the In Amenas field near the Libyan border in the east, Algeria's Interior Ministry. Algerian media later reported a second person, a British national, was killed as well.

[Updated at 11:54 a.m. ET] At least one foreigner died, six people were injured and an undetermined number of people taken hostage in a terrorist attack on a gas field in eastern Algeria, the interior ministry said Wednesday.

[Initial post at 11:24] A gas field in Algeria was attacked Wednesday morning by "unidentified armed people," who are now occupying the site, BP said.

British nationals are caught up in the incident, the British Foreign Office said. Ireland's foreign minister says there are reports that an Irish citizen also is involved. The office of the French president refused to comment on reports that French citizens also are involved. The In Amenas field is operated by a joint venture of Sonatrach (the Algerian national oil company), BP and Statoil, BP said.

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January 15th, 2013
01:29 PM ET

French president on Mali: We needed to stop the rebels

[Updated at 1:29 p.m. ET] Islamist rebels would have taken Mali's capital had France's military not intervened in the African nation in the last few days, French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday.

"If we had not taken up our responsibility and if on Friday morning we had not acted with this intervention, where would Mali be today?" he asked.

The French defense minister told CNN that up to 800 troops are in Mali to help Malian forces in an offensive against Islamist militants, and that up to 1,700 total French forces - including the 800 in Mali - are involved in a variety of capacities, such as offering logistical support from various French military bases across Africa.

Hollande, speaking on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, said France intends to "make way as quickly as possible" for an African force.

Read more about France's military intervention, which began Friday.

January 11th, 2013
07:07 AM ET

Police: BBC presenter Savile abused hundreds

Britain's late TV presenter and radio host Jimmy Savile sexually abused hundreds of people and carried out more than 30 rapes, police said Friday, as they unveiled a report exposing "vast, predatory and opportunistic" abuses over six decades.

Nearly three-quarters of his victims were children, the report said.

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Filed under: Crime • United Kingdom • World
France's Brigitte Bardot might want Russian citizenship, too
This February 2001 file photo shows animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot in Romania.
January 4th, 2013
10:38 AM ET

France's Brigitte Bardot might want Russian citizenship, too

First it was Gerard Depardieu. Now another famed French movie star, Brigitte Bardot, might be interested in Russian citizenship.

The 78-year-old Bardot, an animal rights campaigner, will request Russian nationality Friday if plans to euthanize two elephants at a zoo in the French city of Lyon go ahead, her foundation said.

She has asked French President Francois Hollande to intervene on behalf of the elephants, who are believed to have tuberculosis. She told French newspaper Le Parisien that the former circus elephants could be helped with the right veterinary care and that her foundation could help find them a more suitable place to live.

This comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Russian citizenship to Depardieu, who was angry about French plans to raise taxes.

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Ivory Coast mourns 60 killed in New Year's stampede
People stand next to clothing and various items spread over the pavement at the scene of a stampede in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Tuesday.
January 1st, 2013
03:44 PM ET

Ivory Coast mourns 60 killed in New Year's stampede

[Updated 3:44 p.m. ET] Ivory Coast's president has declared three days of national mourning after a New Year's Day stampede that killed 60 people.

The horror unfolded about 1 a.m. after a New Year's Eve fireworks show in Abidjan, the West African country's largest city and former capital. The dead included 26 children, 28 women and six men, Youth Minister Alain Lobognon reported via Twitter.

Many of the victims were trampled on or suffocated by the surging crowd, a senior fire official said on national television. Rescue workers were at the scene two hours later but could not save the victims, the official AIP news agency said.

President Alassane Ouattara promised a speedy investigation.

"The president of the republic offers his saddest condolences to the families and close relations of the victims and ensures them of his compassion in those painful circumstances," Ouattara's office said in a statement issued Tuesday night.

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Nurse found dead after prank call on Catherine
The King Edward VII Private Hospital on December 4, 2012 in London, England.
December 7th, 2012
10:48 AM ET

Nurse found dead after prank call on Catherine

[Updated at 11:29 a.m. ET] A nurse at the hospital that was duped by a prank call from two Australian radio DJs concerning Prince William's pregnant wife, Catherine, has apparently committed suicide, the hospital confirmed Friday.

The nurse "was recently the victim of a hoax call," King Edward VII Hospital said in a media statement.

The DJs impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles in the prank call, in which some details of the Duchess of Cambridge's condition and care were given.

The nurse who died was the person who first took the hoax call and transferred it through to Catherine's ward, the hospital said.

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