February 26, 2013 Pope Benedict XVI leaves office this week, the second pope to resign voluntarily. The first was Celestine V, a hermit who quit in 1294, after a brief and disastrous stint. Some scholars say Dante damned Celestine as a coward in his Inferno. Yet his example, legally and spiritually, played a major role in Benedict's departure.
February 25, 2013 The center-left was favored, but there was no clear winner as the ballots were counted. Silvio Berlusconi's center-right coalition was not expected to do well, but was leading in the upper house of Parliament.
February 25, 2013 The Swedish furniture giant has become the latest retailer swept up in Europe's widening horse meat scandal. The affected meatballs have been pulled from stores in more than a dozen countries.
February 25, 2013 The church's cardinals can start the process of choosing a new pope right after Benedict's resignation takes effect later this week — rather than wait the 15 days that rules had required. One cardinal, Keith O'Brien of Britain, has stepped down after being accused of inappropriate behavior.
February 24, 2013 Thousands of women were taken into Magdalene Laundries, run by the Catholic Church, and forced to work without pay. The practice went on for decades after Ireland's independence, with the last one closing in 1996. For the first time, the state has acknowledged and apologized for its role in facilitating the practice.
February 24, 2013 The U.S.-based auction house that was due to sell the work on Saturday, announced that the item was withdrawn from sale. The artwork was expected to fetch between $500,000 and $700,000.
February 24, 2013 Some 100,000 people packed St. Peter's Square to hear the pope's last blessing. They interrupted him several times with applause and cheers. Benedict has one more scheduled public event: a general audience in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday.
February 22, 2013 Comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo's populist Five Star Movement is soaring in the polls ahead of elections this weekend. His rallies have attracted tens of thousands of Italians tired of a poor economy, widespread corruption and political patronage. But there are concerns that no one knows what Grillo's movement stands for.
February 21, 2013 A satellite image combining infrared, near infrared and green light produces a colorful combination. The volcano has been blowing off steam, and lava, this week.