Pope calls for prayers for Syrian nuns
VATICAN CITY (AP):
Pope Francis yesterday called for prayers for 12 Orthodox nuns who were taken by force from their convent in Syria by opposition fighters. Religious officials in the region have said the women were being held against their will, but a Syrian opposition activist said they were merely taken away for their own safety. Francis didn't call for their release but appealed for prayers from the crowd at the end of his general audience in St Peter's Square.
Millions vote in Indian city polls
NEW DELHI (AP)
Millions of residents of India's capital lined up yesterday to cast their ballots in city polls that are expected to serve as an indication of how Indians will vote in next year's national elections. The incumbent Congress party's top elected official, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, was seeking a fourth consecutive term in the 70-member Delhi Assembly. Opposing her were the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and the fledgling Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man's Party. Security was tight, with 65,000 police officers and additional paramilitary troops on duty to prevent any outbreak of violence at the more than 11,000 polling stations across the capital.
Cambodia to resume adoptions after four-year halt
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (AP):
Cambodia will resume international adoptions in 2014, more than four years after suspending them over concerns about child exploitation, an official said yesterday. Deputy Social Affairs Minister Nim Thoth told reporters that foreigners interested in adopting Cambodian children would be able to make applications in the next year. A specific timeframe wasn't given. Cambodia banned international adoptions in 2009 amid concerns that some children were being trafficked.