Some 2,000 mourners packed a Catholic church to honor Christina Taylor Green, the bubbly 9-year-old who was the youngest victim of the Arizona shootings, while hundreds more lined streets outside in a show of unity and support. Christina's was the first of half-a-dozen funerals in the coming days, and was to be followed Friday with a service for U.S. District Judge John Roll at the same church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Security was expected to be tight at the ceremony, with many federal judges among the mourners.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The pope on Friday approved a miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II's intercession and set May 1 as the date for his beatification, an event that will be a major morale boost for a church reeling from a wave of violence against Christians and fallout from the clerical sexual abuse scandal. Pope Benedict XVI declared in a decree that a French nun's recovery from Parkinson's disease was miraculous, the last step needed for the beloved pontiff's beatification.
ROME (AP) — Lawyers for Premier Silvio Berlusconi are confirming that he is under investigation in a prostitution case they call "absurd and groundless." Nicolo Ghedini and Piero Longo said the probe represented a "very serious interference in the prime minister's private life." They said the allegations "have already been refuted by all witnesses and people directly involved."
TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Thousands of angry demonstrators marched through Tunisia's capital Friday, demanding the resignation of the country's autocratic leader a day after he appeared on TV to try to stop deadly riots that have swept the North African nation. Protesters chanted slogans against President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, including "Ben Ali, out!" and "Ben Ali, assassin!" One poster read "We won't forget," a reference to the rioters killed, many by police bullets.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The two doctors treating Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords have very different backgrounds and contrasting personalities. One is trauma surgeon Dr. Peter Rhee, who has treated some of the most horrific wartime injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan. The other, Dr. Michael Lemole, is a reserved neurosurgeon who happens to be the brother-in-law of television show host Dr. Oz.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — New international disarmament talks with North Korea are possible only if the North backs off recent aggression against South Korea and demonstrates it is willing to bargain in good faith, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday. Gates said diplomacy is worthwhile, starting with direct talks between the North and South. South Korea has rejected new talks for now, reflecting intense anger and impatience over North Korean attacks.
ATLANTA (AP) — Americans are no more convinced than before Barack Obama was elected as the first black president that the country is closer to achieving Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of racial equality, a poll shows. Seventy-seven percent of people interviewed in an AP-GfK poll say there has been significant progress toward King's dream, about the same as the 75 percent who felt that way in 2006, before Obama was elected. Just over one in five, 22 percent, say they feel there has been "no significant progress" toward that dream.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Will he be fired or not? GOP Chairman Michael Steele is fighting for survival atop the Republican National Committee, seeking to hold off four challengers accusing him of financial mismanagement and poor stewardship during his rocky, two-year tenure.
NEW YORK (AP) — Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" has already become the most expensive show ever mounted on Broadway. Soon it may reach another milestone: The show stuck in previews the longest. Producers delayed the $65 million show for the fifth time Thursday, pushing the opening date to March 15 to fine-tune and put in a new ending. Lead producer Michael Cohl promised this is "the final postponement."
The Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos got their rebuilding under way. The Oakland Raiders still haven't found their man. Pat Shurmur, who quickly turned rookie quarterback Sam Bradford into a rising NFL star, is about to learn that the Browns are no easy fix. In Denver, John Fox was picked over four other candidates to replace Josh McDaniels, who was fired Dec. 6 amid the Broncos' worst slide in four decades and the embarrassing Spygate II videotaping scandal.