Pope Francis tells retired Benedict: 'We are brothers'
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy | The two men in white embraced and showed one another the deference owed a pope in ways that surely turned Vatican protocol upside down: A reigning pope telling a retired one, "We are brothers," and insisting that they pray side-by-side during a date to discuss the future of the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis traveled Saturday from the Vatican to this hilltown south of Rome to have lunch with his predecessor, Benedict XVI, an historic and potentially problematic melding of the papacies that has never before confronted the church.
Saturday's encounter provided perhaps the most enduring images of this papal transition as popes present and past embraced, prayed and broke bread together.
President Obama ends Mideast trip with tour of ancient Petra
PETRA, Jordan | President Barack Obama set aside the Middle East's tricky politics Saturday to marvel at the beauty of one of the region's most stunning sites, the fabled ancient city of Petra.
"This is pretty spectacular," he said, craning his neck to gaze up at the rock faces after emerging from a narrow pathway into a sun-splashed plaza in front of the grand Treasury. The soaring facade is considered the masterpiece of the ancient city carved into the rose-red stone by the Nabataeans more than 2,000 years ago.
Obama's turn as tourist capped a four-day visit to the Middle East that included stops in Israel and the West Bank, as well Jordan.
French officials confirm death of al-Qaida chief Abou Zeid
PARIS | The al-Qaida-linked warlord Abou Zeid was killed in combat with French-led troops in Mali in February, France said Saturday, ending weeks of uncertainty about whether one of the group's leading commanders in the region was dead.
In a statement Saturday the office of French President Francois Hollande said the death was "definitively confirmed" and that the killing "marks an important step in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel."
Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, thought to be 47, was a pillar of the southern realm of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, responsible for the death of at least two European hostages and a leader of the extremist takeover of the north.
Cyprus officials racing to complete alternative rescue plan
NICOSIA, Cyprus | Politicians in Cyprus were racing Saturday to complete an alternative plan raising funds necessary for the country to qualify for an international bailout, with a potential bankruptcy just three days away.
Finance Minister Michalis Sarris said "significant progress" had been made, and that new legislation raising funds could be completed and debated in Parliament as early as Saturday evening, although the timing was not certain.
Cyprus has been told it must raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in order to secure 10 billion euros in rescue loans from other European countries that use the single currency, and from the International Monetary Fund. The country's lawmakers soundly rejected an unpopular initial plan that would have seized up to 10 percent of people's bank accounts, and is now seeking a way to raise the desperately needed money.
But the idea of a deposit grab returned to the fore after Cyprus' talks with longtime ally Russia for help broke down.
UK police say Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky found dead
LONDON | Boris Berezovsky, a self-exiled and outspoken former Russian oligarch who had a bitter falling out with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been found dead in southeast England, police said Saturday. He was 67.
Thames Valley police said his death was being treated as unexplained. They would not directly identify him, but when asked about him by name they read a statement saying they were investigating the death of a 67-year-old man at a property in Ascot, a town 25 miles west of London.
A mathematician-turned-Mercedes dealer, Berezovsky amassed his wealth during Russia's chaotic privatization of state assets in the early 1990s. In return for backing former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, he gained political clout and opportunities to buy state assets at knockdown prices.
But the one-time Kremlin powerbroker fell out with Putin and sought political asylum in Britain in the early 2000s. He has lived in the U.K. ever since.