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Pope names Kateri Tekakwitha as first Native American saint

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI named seven new saints on Sunday, including the first Native American, praising their “heroic courage” in a year when the Catholic Church is seeking to counter the rising tide of secularism in the West. Kateri Tekakwitha, informally known as “Lily of the Mohawks” who…

Israel PM vows to continue building in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday pledged to continue unhindered construction in Jerusalem, including in its annexed eastern sector, despite criticism from the European Union. “We are not putting any limitations on building in Jerusalem, it is our capital,” he said at the start of the weekly…

Former senator George McGovern dies at age 90

WASHINGTON — Former US senator George McGovern, a liberal icon who vowed to end the Vietnam War but lost a landslide presidential election to Richard Nixon in 1972, died early Sunday at the age of 90. The family said in a statement that the liberal standard-bearer died at about 5:15…

Boys hitting puberty up to two years earlier: study

WASHINGTON — Boys in the US are hitting puberty as much as two years earlier than in previous decades, according to a new study out Saturday from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The study suggests a well-documented trend seeing girls hit adolescence earlier than their historic counterparts has been mirrored…

Romney attends final campaign fundraiser

BOCA RATON, Florida — After raking in hundreds of millions of dollars for his presidential bid, Mitt Romney held the final fundraiser of his campaign Saturday just 17 days before the election, an aide said. The Republican nominee, locked in a dead heat with President Barack Obama, has come to…

French president demands probe after newborn dies en route to hospital

French President Francois Hollande demanded an inquiry Saturday after a mother lost her baby in giving birth in a car on her way to hospital because the clinic closer to her home had been closed in a health care shake-up. “No French person should be more than 30 minutes from…

Saudi minister insists regional unrest will not affect hajj

The annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca will not be affected by events in Syria and elsewhere across the region, Saudi Arabia’s interior minister said Saturday. “I don’t expect pilgrims or the pilgrimage to be affected by what is taking place elsewhere, whether Syria or any other place,” the minister, Prince…

Lab chief: Lance Armstrong’s 2001 test was suspicious, not a failure

Lance Armstrong’s contentious 2001 Tour of Switzerland drug test was suspicious, but wasn’t proof of EPO doping, even by today’s stringent standards, the laboratory chief who oversaw the procedure has told AFP. That test taken 11 years ago forms part of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) damning dossier which…

Hong Kong customs seize four tons of smuggled ivory

Hong Kong customs officers seized almost four tonnes of ivory worth about $3.4 million, hidden in shipments from Kenya and Tanzania, officials said Saturday. The 1,209 pieces of raw ivory tusk and a small number of ivory ornaments were discovered in two containers marked “plastic scrap” and “roscoco beans”, shipped…

Taiwan temple to launch ‘divine advice’ app

A temple in southern Taiwan is to launch a smartphone app that allows the faithful to seek advice from the heavens while on the move, reports said Saturday. “With the increasing popularity of smartphones, we will launch our own divination app next year,” said Hung Yang-chen, website designer for Jhen…

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