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White House slams Benetton’s Obama kissing ads

WASHINGTON — The White House on Thursday slammed a new Benetton advertising campaign showing US President Barack Obama kissing Chinese and Venezuelan leaders smack on the lips. “The White House has a longstanding policy disapproving of the use of the president’s name and likeness for commercial purposes,” spokesman Eric Schultz…

Berlusconi packs up sword, vase on last day in office

Italy’s departing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly packed up two gifts ahead of his last day in office on Wednesday — a scimitar from Kazakhstan and a Ming dynasty vase from China. The report in La Repubblica newspaper said the larger-than-life billionaire, who has been in power for 10 of the past 17 years, had…

Obama regains top spot in Forbes most powerful list

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama has regained the top spot in Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s most powerful people, edging out Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and last year’s winner, Chinese President Hu Jintao, who slipped down to third. Obama, who topped the list in 2009 only to…

Pope creates three new saints

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI created three new saints of the Catholic Church on Sunday in recognition of their missionary and social work with a canonisation mass in St Peter’s Square. “Christians can show the world God’s love by loving their neighbour. Today, the Church shows its members three…

Vatican asks Hindus to fight anti-Christian propaganda

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Thursday asked Hindus to fight “hateful propaganda” and allow Christians to practise their religion freely, in a message delivered to mark the upcoming festival of light, Diwali. The message, signed by the head and deputy head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious dialogue, Cardinal…

Weary pope uses mobile platform for first time

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI made use of the same mobile platform used by his long-ailing predecessor John Paul II for the first time on Sunday, with the Vatican saying it was to “ease his tiredness.” The 84-year-old pope used the wheeled platform to make his way from the…

Pope ‘shaken’ by talks with sex abuse victims

Pope Benedict XVI met victims of sexual abuse by clergy on the second day of his visit to his German homeland, an encounter that left him “deeply shaken”, Vatican officials said. He also held joint prayers with members of the Protestant faith in Germany, in a bid to build bridges…

Berlin police detain two terror suspects in bomb plot

Berlin police arrested two men Thursday on suspicion of acquiring chemicals for a planned bomb attack and searched a mosque in the German capital, a spokesman told AFP. The arrest of a 24-year-old German of Lebanese origin and a 28-year-old from the Gaza Strip, comes ahead of the 10th anniversary…

Pope voices fears of ‘eclipse of God’

SAN LORENZO DE EL ESCORIAL, Spain — Pope Benedict XVI Friday warned of an “eclipse of God” as he spoke to nuns outside a 16th century Spanish monastery during protest-hit Catholic youth celebrations. About 1,600 nuns clapped and cheered as the 84-year-old pontiff arrived at the monastery of San Lorenzo…

Hackers attack site of Catholic youth celebrations

MADRID — Hackers temporarily blocked the official World Youth Day site Thursday just as Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Madrid to preside over the festivities, a spokeswoman for the event said. The site (www.madrid11.com) was taken down for about an hour at around midday (1000 GMT) and the event’s computer…

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