FROM Susan Abraham
The Catholic Church Before and After Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI declared today, "I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter." Speaking in Latin, the 85-year old Pope told a group of cardinals that "advanced age" will cause him to resign on the last day of this month. It's the first such action in 600 years, and the Vatican says that one billion Roman Catholics should have a new Pope before Easter. Even close aides reportedly were surprised by the end of an eight-year reign tainted by clerical sex abuse and divided between traditionalists and reformers. We hear more about the decision, the state of the church and the prospect of a new Pope from Africa or Latin America.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?