Chatter: Bye-bye, Benedict




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That was Benedict's big fat papal speech. Ratzinger the Retiring has just finished giving his final general audience at the Vatican before he slips off the red slippers for good, tomorrow evening. The pope said he was aware of the "gravity and novelty" of his decision to quit, but that "to love the church means also to have the courage to take difficult, painful decisions, always keeping the good of the church in mind, not oneself."

His words were met with cheers and applause from the tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square – among them, many of the cardinals who will elect his successor. Once the speeches are over, the palazzo doors locked and the Swiss Guards off duty, what legacy will Pope Benedict XVI leave behind him?

So the Iranian nuclear talks resulted in... more talks. At the close of their latest summit in Kazahstan, Iran and six world powers have agreed to another two meetings in as many months: one between technical experts in March and another between government negotiators in April.

Tehran's chief envoy described the session as "positive." He said the West was finally taking a "more realistic" approach to Iran's disputed nuclear program, which presumably means proposing to scrap certain sanctions in exchange for Iranian concessions. The offers are on the table; let the bargaining commence.


"Several" people are reported dead in a shooting at a factory in Switzerland. Details are still unclear, but reports say shots were fired in the canteen of a wood-processing plant near the city of Lucerne. There are believed to be multiple deaths and injuries; emergency services are working at the scene.

Drugged, then shot to death – and all by their supposed comrades. That was the sorry fate of 17 Afghan policemen, who were killed early this morning at their post in Ghazni province, south of Kabul. The Taliban claims its infiltrators carried out the attack. Two suspects have been arrested.

There have been many, many other insider attacks, but observers say this could just about be the single worst.

There's a whole wide world of weed out there. It's not just the odd stoner state: from Egypt to Pakistan to Cambodia, countries are abandoning the US-backed battle against cannabis in favor of a more liberal approach.

In a new series, GlobalPost investigates drug wars, drug laws and drug scores the world over.


The first rule of Yeti hunting: don't shoot the Yeti. Actually, that's the second rule – at least according to the US government's guidance to abominable-snowman fanatics in Nepal. A handy checklist, first issued in 1959 and recently unearthed among the archives, gives Americans three simple rules for what to do in case of a close encounter with one of the reclusive – and perhaps more pertinently, not real – creatures.

Find the full list here.