National News from Yahoo

Challenges await Pope Francis as he embarks on Mideast trip

Pope Francis says this weekend’s trip to the Holy Land is “strictly religious” — “[a] pilgrimage of prayer,” he called it — but it will also be a huge political and even physical challenge for him. Starting on Saturday, Francis, 77, will visit three separate...


Canadian rehab center confirms it's treating Rob Ford

(Reuters) - A Canadian rehabilitation facility on Friday said it was treating Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who had largely disappeared from sight after promising to seek help for an alcohol problem. The GreeneStone Clinic Muskoka, located in cottage county some 200 km (125 miles) north of Toronto, issued a statement asking the public and media respect its patients' privacy. Ford, who shot to prominence last year after admitting to smoking crack, buying illegal drugs and driving after drinking, insisted for months he did not have a problem. Earlier this month he told a Toronto newspaper that rehab was "amazing".


LA kidnapping case will test victim's credibility

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Neighbors say Isidro Garcia is a doting father, loyal husband and good provider for his family. That doesn't mean he's not all the things prosecutors say he is: an abusive rapist who kidnapped a 15-year-old girl and eventually made her his wife.


States look to the past for execution methods

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The disarray surrounding lethal injection in the U.S. is beginning to steer states back toward methods of execution that many had long ago deemed less humane than the needle.


Putin promises to respect Ukraine's election

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — President Vladimir Putin pledged Friday that Russia will respect the results of Ukraine's presidential election, a strong indication the Kremlin wants to cool down the crisis. But new violence and rebel vows to block the balloting made prospects for peace appear distant.


Poll: Sign-ups rise but little love for health law

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama celebrated when sign-ups for his health care law topped 8 million, far exceeding expectations after a slipshod launch. Most Americans, however, remain unimpressed.


Obama taps Texas mayor Castro for Cabinet post

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a second-term Cabinet reshuffle, President Barack Obama tapped San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro on Friday to be the nation's next housing secretary, giving a prominent national platform to one of the Democratic Party's most celebrated up-and-comers.


UN panel slams Vatican on priest sex-abuse scandal

GENEVA (AP) — In a report that could expose the Catholic Church to new legal arguments by clerical sex abuse victims, a U.N. committee found Friday that the Vatican does exercise worldwide control over its bishops and priests and must comply with the U.N.'s anti-torture treaty.


Ukraine's presidential vote: a step out of crisis

MOSCOW (AP) — Ukrainians vote Sunday in an early presidential election that could be a crucial step toward resolving the country's crisis, but separatists in the east are threatening to block the vote. The election — which comes six months after the outbreak of protests that led to the president's ouster and a deepening chasm between pro-Europe and pro-Russia Ukrainians — aims to unify the fiercely divided country or at least discourage further polarization.


Visa, MasterCard renew push for chip cards

NEW YORK (AP) — Visa and MasterCard are renewing a push to speed the adoption of microchips into U.S. credit and debit cards in the wake of recent high-profile data breaches, including this week's revelation that hackers stole consumer data from eBay's computer systems.


AP Source: Sterling surrendering Clippers control

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Donald Sterling has agreed to surrender his stake in the Los Angeles Clippers to his estranged wife, and she is moving ahead with selling the team, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Friday.


Thai coup makers hold ex-PM, disperse protests

BANGKOK (AP) — Ousted members of Thailand's former government surrendered to the new military junta Friday, as soldiers forcefully dispersed hundreds of anti-coup activists who defied a ban on large-scale gatherings to protest the army's seizure of power.


Ukraine: 500 rebels attack govt troops; 20 killed

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Russia will recognize the outcome of Ukraine's presidential vote, President Vladimir Putin promised Friday, voicing hope that Ukraine's new leader would halt the military operation against separatists in the east.

Pages