Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:45 Published in National News
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Four homeless people have helped Pope Francis celebrate his 77th birthday at the Vatican.
They live nearby and were invited to attend the morning Mass which Francis celebrates daily at the Vatican hotel where he lives. One of the men held his dog as he was presented to Francis after Mass. The Vatican said Francis invited his household help to join him in a "family-like" atmosphere, and he spoke of them one by one during his homily.
After Mass, all ate breakfast with Francis at the hotel.
Francis already blew out the candles on his birthday cake, presented to him on Saturday by children at the Vatican.
Another present awaits him. His favorite Argentine soccer team, San Lorenzo, will give him a replica of their championship trophy.
Monday, 16 December 2013 17:29 Published in Local News
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - After months of legal wrangling and false starts in a battle to resume domestic horse slaughter, plants in New Mexico and Missouri are working to begin processing equine for human consumption.
The efforts come on the heels of an order late Friday by a federal appeals court that lifted an emergency stay on the companies' plans.
Blair Dunn, an Albuquerque who represents Valley Meat Co. of Roswell and Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Mo., says the plants Monday "are pushing full steam ahead to be ready to go as soon as possible."
Rains Natural Meats, he says, even has horses on site. But it's unclear if the plants will open before Christmas or wait until after the holidays.
The Humane Society vows "the fight for America's horses is not over."
CHICAGO (AP) - A federal court is ordering an Illinois county clerk's office to issue a marriage license to any same-sex couple who wants to wed immediately because one of them has a life-threatening illness.
Illinois last month became the 16th state to legalize gay marriage, but couples can't apply for licenses until June 1.
But following U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman order Monday to the Cook County clerk's office, they will be able to marry straightaway if they can provide a doctor's note saying one partner has a life-threatening illness.
Two Chicago women became the first same-sex couple to wed in Illinois last month after they asked a federal judge for an expedited license. Gay rights advocates say three gay couples have been granted emergency marriage license applications in Cook County.