Pope to allow all priests to forgive abortion during Holy Year
By Isla Binnie VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis will give all priests discretion during the Roman Catholic Church's upcoming Holy Year to formally forgive women who have had abortions, in the Argentine pontiff's latest move towards a more open and inclusive church. In Church teaching, abortion is such a grave sin that those who procure or perform it incur an automatic excommunication, which can only be lifted by designated church officials. Francis described the "existential and moral ordeal" faced by women who have terminated pregnancies and said he had "met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision".
Federal judge orders Kentucky clerk and her staff to court
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) ? A county clerk in Kentucky who has invoked "God's authority" and is defying the U.S. Supreme Court by refusing to license same-sex marriage has been summoned along with her entire staff to explain to a federal judge why she should not face stiff fines or jail time.
Black Lives Matter movement experiencing growing pains
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists, black and white, marched outside the Minnesota State Fair this weekend, hoping to bring attention to the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police.
European stocks sink on worries over Chinese economy
Michigan House panel mulls 2 lawmakers' fitness for office
LANSING, Mich. (AP) ? A Michigan legislative committee on Tuesday held a disciplinary hearing for two conservative lawmakers accused of misusing public resources to hide an affair, including by sending a false, sexually explicit email claiming one of them had sex with a male prostitute.
UNESCO chief: IS destruction of Syrian temple 'intolerable'
BEIRUT (AP) ? Islamic State militants in Syria committed an "intolerable crime against civilization" by destroying the Temple of Bel, one of the ancient world's most iconic monuments, the head of the U.N. cultural agency said Tuesday.
Benedict Cumberbatch, Helen Mirren lead London Film Fest
Pope: Priests in Holy Year can absolve 'sin of abortion'
VATICAN CITY (AP) ? Pope Francis declared on Tuesday he is allowing all priests in the church's upcoming Year of Mercy to absolve women of the "sin of abortion" if they repent with a "contrite heart," saying he is acutely aware some feel they have no choice but to abort.
Obama pushes for more U.S. ice-breaking might in Arctic
By Roberta Rampton ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed a faster timetable for buying a new heavy icebreaker for the U.S. Arctic, where quickly melting sea ice has spurred more maritime traffic, and the United States has fallen far behind Russian resources. The move, part of a push to convince Americans to support Obama's plans to curb climate change, has long been urged by Arctic advocates as climate change opens up the region to more shipping, mining and drilling. The announcement came as Obama heads to the coastal town of Seward, named after Secretary of State William Seward, who negotiated the purchase of Alaska in 1867 from Russia.
US university missing 'radioactive' package: report
A package containing radioactive material has been missing for more than 10 days and a US university is urgently appealing for help in tracking it down, a report said. Texas A&M University was quoted by local broadcaster KBTX as saying Monday that the missing FedEx shipment contains a "radioactive source for research purposes" and does not pose a risk -- as long as the contents are not disturbed. The package was shipped to the Texas A&M Radiation Safety Office but the university was "confident" it had not been received, according to a university statement quoted by KBTX.