VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI responded to criticism that the club of churchmen who will choose his successor is too Eurocentric, elevating six new cardinals from Colombia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, the Philippines and the U.S. during a formal ceremony Saturday.
Pope Benedict welcomed the prelates into the College of Cardinals during a short, hour-long ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica, telling them that their presence among the other red-robed prelates was a sign of the "unique, universal and all-inclusive identity" of the Catholic Church.
The ceremony was both joyful and emotional: Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, seen by many to be a rising star in the church, visibly choked up as he knelt before Pope Benedict to receive his three-pointed red hat, or biretta, and gold ring. He wiped tears from his eyes as he returned to his place.
Among the six new cardinals is Archbishop James Harvey, the American prefect of the papal household.
GOMA, Congo -- Regional leaders meeting Saturday in Uganda called on Congolese rebels to "stop all war activities and withdraw from Goma," but the rebels did not seem interested in that.
Instead, they continued their advance on more government territory, sending troops in several directions to surround the small town of Minova, a steppingstone toward the next big prize, Bukavu, one of the largest cities in eastern Congo.
The Congolese army, which has been routed in just about every battle in recent weeks, was massing troops around Minova and drawing upon notorious militias accused of raping and killing civilians to beef up its ranks.
ISLAMABAD -- A roadside bomb in northwestern Pakistan killed at least seven people early Saturday, including four children, police officials said, as the government struggled to control sectarian violence in the country.
Militants struck a procession of Shiite Muslims in Dera Ismail Khan, a town on the edge of the restive tribal region in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. At least 30 people were wounded when the bomb, which was remotely detonated, ripped through the procession as it passed, the police officials said.
BANGKOK -- Protesters calling for Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down rallied Saturday in the heart of Bangkok, clashing with police in the first major demonstration against the government since it came to power last year.
Organizers had spoken of mobilizing hundreds of thousands of supporters. But only around 10,000 turned up, and by dusk the leaders called the rally off.
An army coup in 2006 toppled Ms. Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, triggering years of instability and mass-protests.
NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania -- Thousands of Mauritanians lined the road from the airport Saturday to welcome back President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who went to France for five weeks of medical treatment after being accidentally shot in a friendly fire incident.
His return puts an end to speculation over the state of his health, as well as over the future of Mauritania. Analysts had warned that his extended departure could create the instability needed for another coup in this north African desert nation, which has suffered six since the 1970s.
-- Compiled from news services