From the United Nations to the Sept. 11 memorial to Central Park to Madison Square Garden — and everywhere in between — there was no escaping Pope Francis this week in New York City. Catholics and non-Catholics alike strained to see the Pontiff, with mixed success. Some got close enough to receive blessings. Many had to settle for catching a glimpse of him tooling around by motorcade in his black Fiat 500. Here's a look at varied impressions made by the nonstop pope on his frantic two-day visit:
By Emily Stephenson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A county clerk in Kentucky who was briefly jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples said on Friday that she and her family have switched to the Republican Party because the Democrats no longer represented them. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, 50, who has said her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian prevent her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, said they had changed parties last week.
By Emily Flitter NEW YORK (Reuters) - A group of Joe Biden supporters trying to build momentum for a White House run by the vice president is hiring paid staff in about a dozen crucial primary states. The political action committee backing the vice president, Draft Biden, has begun building operations in 11 states holding primary elections on "Super Tuesday" in March 2016, two of the group's officials told Reuters, an important series of votes for any candidate seeking their party’s nomination. Draft Biden doesn't have a firm number for how many staff in total it will hire in those states, said Josh Alcorn, a senior advisor to the group, but the recruitment process is under way.
Embattled carmaker Volkswagen tapped Porsche chief Matthias Mueller Friday to steer it out of the wreckage of a widening scandal over pollution test rigging, as Washington said it would test all diesel cars for devices that fool emissions tests. The 62-year-old Mueller replaces Martin Winterkorn, who was forced to resign Wednesday over the stunning revelations by US environmental authorities that the German carmaker had fitted some of its diesel cars with software capable of tricking environmental tests -- a scam that could lead to fines worth more than $18 billion. The scale of VW's deception became clear when the company admitted that 11 million of its diesel cars are equipped with so-called defeat devices that covertly turn off pollution controls when the car is being driven and back on when tests are being conducted.
U.S. environmental regulators said on Friday they are sending a letter to all automobile manufacturers saying they are stepping up emissions-testing activities in response to Volkswagen's alleged violations of pollution laws. "We are upping our game," Chris Grundler, head of transportation and air quality at the Environmental Protection Agency, told reporters in a teleconference. Volkswagen could face $18 billion in fines from the EPA after it admitted using software in diesel cars that evades emissions tests.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, who has repeatedly been challenged by the conservative wing of his Republican Party, told members on Friday that he will resign from the House at the end of October. An aide to Boehner, who holds the top job in the House, said the Ohio lawmaker will step down from the speakership and his seat in Congress effective on Oct. 30. U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the No. 2 Republican in the House, is expected to be the top contender to replace Boehner as speaker, Republican Representative Peter King told reporters.
By Scott Malone and Philip Pullella NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pope Francis goes to the United Nations on Friday to address global leaders on the need to help refugees fleeing wars and plea for greater attention to the world's poor and downtrodden. The pope arrived in New York on Thursday night from Washington after urging Congress to help heal many of the nation's divisive wounds such as the current heated political battle over immigration. A brass band from a Catholic high school greeted his plane with the classic tune "New York, New York," and the pope accepted flowers from the crowd of about 200 at the airport.
By Michael Martina and Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Washington on Thursday for a state visit and talks with President Barack Obama that are expected to be clouded by differences over alleged Chinese cyber spying, Beijing's economic policies and territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Vice President Joe Biden greeted Xi and his wife as they landed at Andrews Air Force Base on the second leg of a weeklong trip that begin in Seattle.