Category: RTM News Reel Written by Hada Messia, CNN
Rome (CNN) -- The spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI, surprised the world Monday by saying he will resign at the end of the month "because of advanced age."
It's the first time a pope has resigned in nearly 600 years.
"Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," the pope said, according to the Vatican.
After Benedict's resignation becomes effective on February 28, cardinals will meet to choose a new leader for the church.
Pope explains why he's resigning Pope Benedict to resign 2005: Pope Benedict XVI gives first Mass 2005: Pope Benedict XVI gives first Mass
"Before Easter, we will have the new pope," the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said at a news conference.
The decision was not impulsive, he said.
"It's not a decision he has just improvised," Lombardi said. "It's a decision he has pondered over."
After his resignation, Benedict, 85, will probably retire to a monastery and devote himself to a life of reflection and prayer, he said.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said the decision "shocked and surprised everyone."
"Yet, on reflection, I am sure that many will recognise it to be a decision of great courage and characteristic clarity of mind and action," he said.
Benedict -- born Joseph Ratzinger -- will not be involved in choosing a new pope or in guiding the church after his resignation, Lombardi said.
Benedict was elected pope in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II, the third-longest-serving leader of the Catholic Church.
He has served during a time in which the church is declining in his native Europe but expanding in Africa and Latin America.
His papacy also has been marked with a series of scandals and controversies, including hundreds of new allegations of sexual abuse by priests.
Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927, in Marktl Am Inn, Bavaria, a heavily Catholic region of Germany.
He spent his adolescent years in Traunstein, near the Austrian border, during the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler.
Ratzinger wrote in his memoirs that school officials enrolled him in the Hitler Youth movement against his will when in 1941, when he was 14.
He said he was allowed to leave the organization because he was studying for the priesthood, but was drafted into the army in 1943. He served with an anti-aircraft unit until he deserted in the waning days of WW II.
After the war, he resumed his theological studies and was ordained in 1951. He received his doctorate in theology two years later and taught dogma and theology at German universities for several years.
In 1962, he served as a consultant during the pivotal Vatican II council to Cardinal Frings, a reformer who was the archbishop of Cologne, Germany.
As a young priest, Ratzinger was on the progressive side of theological debates, but began to shift right after the student revolutions of 1968, CNN Vatican analyst John Allen Jr. said.
In his book "Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith," Allen says Ratzinger is a shy and gentle person whose former students spoke of him as a well-prepared and caring professor.
Pope Paul VI named him archbishop of Munich in 1977 and promoted him to cardinal the next month. Ratzinger served as archbishop of Munich until 1981, when he was nominated by John Paul II to be the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position he held until his election as pope.
He became dean of the College of Cardinals in November 2002 and in that role called the cardinals to Rome for the conclave that elected him the 265th pope.
In his initial appearance as pope, he told the crowd in St. Peter's Square that he would serve as "a simple and humble worker in the vineyards of the Lord."
He is the sixth German to serve as pope and the first since the 11th century.
The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415. He did so to end a civil war within the church in which more than one man claimed to be pope.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 February 2013 12:06
Category: RTM News Reel Written by Katherine Wojtecki and Greg Botelho, CNN
Chicago (CNN) -- A day after 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was laid to rest -- and 11 days after she was shot to death on the streets of Chicago -- police are questioning two people in relation to her slaying, a police spokeswoman said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called Hadiya's family on Sunday morning to tell them about the development in the investigation, said Chicago police spokeswoman Melissa Stratton.
No one has been arrested or charged yet in Hadiya's death, which occurred a week after she performed at President Barack Obama's second inauguration.
She was an honor student and band majorette at King College Prep School when a man shot her at a park in what her godfather, Damon Stuart, described as an "ideal community" on Chicago's South Side.
Police have told CNN affiliates that the teenager had no gang affiliation and likely was not the intended target.
Hadiya's performance at last month's inauguration and her death coming as the gun control debate brewed in Washington made her slaying a national story. She also was a standout student who urged friends to stay away from gangs.
The killing -- which occurred in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood near the Obamas' Chicago home -- drew the first couple's attention. First lady Michelle Obama attended Hadiya's funeral Saturday, and her husband wrote a note to Hadiya's family that was printed on the funeral program: "We know that no words from us can soothe the pain, but rest assured that we are praying for you, and that we will continue to work as hard as we can to end this senseless violence."
Her slaying -- the 42nd in the city this year -- also highlighted the problem of gun violence in Chicago. More than 500 people were fatally shot in 2012.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 February 2013 11:46
Category: RTM News Reel Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
(CNN) -- "Be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered." "Thong type costumes are problematic." "Avoid sheer see-through clothing."
Is this the new edict of a religiously conservative government that wants to make sure that men -- and especially women -- are covered up? Could it be the dress code for visiting the Vatican, the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock or other holy sites?
Nope, these words are actually part of the wardrobe advisory e-mail that CBS sent to attendees of this Sunday's Grammy Awards. Yep, CBS, the network that brought you a promo during last week's Super Bowl for its show, "2 Broke Girls," featuring the show's young female stars writhing on a stripper pole, is now concerned about sending the wrong message.
The language that CBS used in explaining its clothing recommendations is actually hilarious -- it seems to have been written by a cross between an elderly lawyer and Goody Procter from "The Crucible."
Here are some of the highlights: Talent should, "avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack." What exactly is "fleshy under curves" and why does it sound so oddly hot? (And by frowning upon the showing of buttock cracks, does this mean that many of the union plumbers working at the Grammy venue may also have wardrobe problems?
However, the most bizarrely worded wardrobe line is that talent must, "be sure that the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible 'puffy' bare skin exposure." What exactly is "puffy" bare skin? Is that code for some word I don't know about? And why did CBS put the word "puffy" in quotes? It sounds even dirtier that way.
My big question is this: What caused CBS to be so concerned that this year it issued a written wardrobe advisory? CBS has aired the Grammys for more than 40 straight years, dating back to 1973. Obviously over that time we have seen some pretty risqué outfits.
Could it be because CBS wants to appease conservatives who freaked out over the outfit Beyonce wore while performing in the Super Bowl halftime show?
Right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham protested Beyonce's outfit with a sarcastic tweet: "Very family-friendly dancing S&M by Beyonce. What every girl shd aspire to. #waronwomen."
A writer at "The National Review" penned a column entitled, "Put a Dress on," demanding that Beyonce not wear a "black teddy" on stage but something less revealing. (Of course, if similar language was espoused from people in the Muslim world, these same conservatives would denounce it as Muslims attempting to oppress women, but it's somehow OK when they do it.)
The real reason is unclear. CBS declined to officially comment but sources there stated that a similar verbal wardrobe warning had been given in the past.
What is clear is that this wardrobe advisory is not gender neutral. Its very language tells women what they cannot wear. "Female breasts" must be adequately covered. "Female breast nipples" must not be exposed.
Even where there's no specific gender reference, we all understand that no one is concerned that Bruce Springsteen, who is nominated for a Grammy this year, will show up exposing the, "bare fleshy under curves" of his buttocks. No, CBS is more concerned with making sure that women are properly covered.
Beyond the apparent sexism of the wardrobe advisory, we also need to keep in mind that freedom of expression is not just words. Freedom of expression also includes expressing yourself through the clothes you wear, especially for the talented musical artists attending the Grammys.
These performers should be able to dress any way they choose, both men and women. A big part of the Grammys is enjoying the range of outfits worn, from the glamorous to the provocative to ones that make you wonder what was the bet the person lost that made them wear that outfit -- I'm looking at you Nicki Minaj, who last year dressed like a bright red version of "The Flying Nun" and was accompanied by a man dressed like the pope.
And of course, if someone wears an outfit that truly violates FCC regulations, then CBS should not allow that person on camera. That is not only CBS' right, it's CBS' obligation. But the CBS wardrobe advisory note goes too far -- it both hampers creativity and imposes restrictions that are sexist.
I hope that at Sunday's Grammys we see people dressed as creatively and provocatively as they choose. Part of me even hopes that Bruce Springsteen wears an outfit that exposes his "puffy" bare skin -- whatever that may be.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 February 2013 16:42
Category: RTM News Reel Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
Pictured, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, center, mother of slain King College Prep high school teen Hadiya Pendleton, and her son, right, Nathaniel Pendleton Jr., enter the Calahan Funeral Home Friday for the visitation for Hadiya. The funeral for the 15-year-old who was killed Jan. 29 will be held Saturday morning at a South Side church.
A swarm of mourners filed in and out of the Calahan Funeral Home Friday for the visitation for Hadiya Pendleton. They began lining up outside the South Side funeral home hours before and didn’t stop coming throughout the six-hour long event.
A who’s who of Chicago notables attended the service, the first in a two-day final farewell to the teen.
Among the attendees were City Treasurer Stephanie Neely and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Pendleton’s classmates and other students who didn’t attend her school were there also. The funeral will be held Saturday at Greater Harvest Baptist Church, located at 5141 S. State St., following the 9 a.m. wake.
The 15-year-old King College Prep high school volleyball player and majorette was shot Jan. 29 in a city park down the street from her school. She died shortly after the shooting at a local hospital.
Her death captured national attention, mostly because she had just returned from performing in President Barack Obama’s second-term inauguration in Washington, D.C. weeks before the shooting, and because of the shootings’ proximity to the president’s local home. Vivian Gordan Harsh Park where Pendleton and another friend were shot is located about a mile from the first family’s house in the Kenwood community on the South Side.
Thursday the White House announced that First Lady Michelle Obama would attend the funeral Saturday. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a former Chicago Public Schools chief, and presidential Senior Advisor and Chicagoan Valerie Jarrett will attend Saturday’s service as well.
The first lady’s attendance means that security around the church will be tight and roads road closures are expected. A bevy of media will likely converge nearby the church but only a select pool of press will officially be allowed in the service.
The last publicly announced funeral Michelle Obama attended in Chicago was the 2010 service for Bishop Arthur M. Brazier of Apostolic Church of God. Her planned presence at Pendleton’s service was a surprise to the Pendleton family, the father, Nathaniel Pendleton, told the Defender.
"I feel supported. When (Obama) gets finished with being the first lady, she's still a parent," he said.
Kimiko Pettis, Hadiya’s maternal aunt, said Mrs. Obama’s presence “means a lot to us.”
“The fact that they have two daughters and Hadiya was probably similar to them in characteristics…it was definitely moving to them (the White House) in order for them to make the steps to have to have Mrs. Obama to come. We’re not too far from their (Obama family) home and it’s sort of hitting them at home,” she said.
She called it “amazing” that Michelle Obama will be at the funeral.
Last Updated on Saturday, 09 February 2013 19:16
Category: RTM News Reel Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
Los Angeles (CNN) -- Rihanna left no doubt about how she feels about Chris Brown and the probation he's serving for beating her up four years ago.
The pop star sat behind Brown in court Wednesday while a prosecutor asked a judge to order the singer to restart the community labor that is his punishment for the felony assault conviction.
It was Rihanna's second time in a courtroom with Brown. The first was the day in August 2009 when Brown was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered to stay away from her. Then, she was a witness for the prosecution.
"She thinks it's utterly ridiculous what they're doing to him," Brown lawyer Mark Geragos said when a reporter asked why his assault victim was in court.
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has "tortured" Brown during his probation worse than any client he's ever had, Geragos said.
In a court filing this week, prosecutors accused Brown of not completing the 180 days of community labor ordered when he pleaded guilty to the felony assault charge.
The paperwork Brown submitted to show he had completed community labor is "at best sloppy documentation and at worst fraudulent reporting," District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. Brown wasn't in town on some of the dates reported, the motion said.
Geragos, however, angrily disputed the charges, calling them "absolutely false."
"And I don't mean just false, it is fraudulent," Geragos said after the hearing.
Brown's attorney said the prosecutor's filing was so fraudulent that he would ask the judge to punish the deputy district attorneys involved and call for a contempt of court hearing for filing false documents with the court.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Brandlin set a hearing for April 5 for Brown to return to court, but a full hearing on the allegations will be held later.
Brandlin ordered Brown to report to his probation officer within the next two days to be interviewed for a report that will be used at the hearing.
Despite the serious allegations outlined in the court filing, the prosecutor is not asking for Brown's probation to be revoked and the singer sent to jail. She is asking the judge to order him to restart his 1,400 hours of community service under the supervision of a Los Angeles probation officer.
Brown got an unusual deal when he pleaded guilty that allowed him to complete his court-ordered community service in Virginia, under the personal supervision of Richmond Police Chief Bryan Norwood. Normally, community service must be supervised by a probation office.
The district attorney alleged that investigators he sent to Virginia discovered that Brown's mother supervised most of it, and they found evidence it was never done.
In response, Geragos said he's received 10 e-mails in the past day from Richmond police officers and firefighters "who observed Chris doing his community service."
"I've got pictures, I've got witnesses," Geragos said. "I've got what they don't have. We have evidence that he did it."
The motion also accused Brown of violating probation by punching singer Frank Ocean at a Hollywood recording studio last month, threatening to "bust" -- or shoot -- the singer. It also notes a Miami incident during which Brown allegedly stole a fan's cell phone and a chair-throwing incident after a "Good Morning America" interview.
Also, Brown's claim to have medical marijuana license, which used to defend against a drug test result, was invalid because the acupuncturist who wrote it was not licensed to prescribe drugs, the motion said.
This Friday marks the fourth anniversary of the night Brown punched Rihanna inside a rented Lamborghini on a Hollywood street, leaving her face bruised and bloody.
Rihanna and Brown broke up after he was arrested for assaulting her, but they've made no secret in recent months that they are a couple again.
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 February 2013 13:32
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