In brief | Nation & World, February 23, 2014


UN Security Council demands that Syria allow humanitarian aid

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council united for the first time on a resolution on Syria’s humanitarian crisis Saturday, demanding that President Bashar Assad’s government and the opposition provide immediate access everywhere in the country to deliver aid to millions of people in desperate need.

The fate of the Western and Arab-backed resolution rested with Russia, Syria’s closest ally, and China, another supporter.

After two weeks of negotiations and a watering-down of the original text, they decided to join the rest of the 15-member council in sending a strong message, especially to the Assad government, that food, medicine and other essentials must not be blocked to civilians caught in the three-year conflict.

“Today the council has finally shown that whatever its political differences over Syria, it was not entirely indifferent to the devastating humanitarian crisis,” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said after the vote.

According to the United Nations, 9.3 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance and 6.8 million have fled their homes but remain in the country.

Two popes at ceremony an unprecedented blend of past, present and future

VATICAN CITY — Retired Pope Benedict XVI joined Pope Francis in a ceremony Saturday creating the cardinals who will elect their successor in an unprecedented blending of papacies past, present and future.

Benedict entered St. Peter’s Basilica surrounded by a small entourage and was greeted with applause and tears from the stunned people in the pews.

He smiled, waved and seemed genuinely happy to be there, taking his seat in the front row, off to the side, alongside the red-draped cardinals.

It was the first time Benedict and Francis have appeared together at a public liturgical ceremony since Benedict retired a year ago and became the first pope to step down in more than 600 years.

After processing down the central aisle at the start of the service, Francis went directly to Benedict, clasped him by his shoulders and they embraced.

1 dead, 9 others treated during carbon monoxide exposure at New York mall

HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. — A hospital spokeswoman says a man has died after being overcome by carbon monoxide at a New York mall.

Huntington Hospital spokeswoman Julie Robinson-Tingue said the man was one of 10 people brought in after the carbon monoxide incident Saturday at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station on Long Island. The hospital did not immediately release any information about the man.

Suffolk County police earlier said three officers were among those overcome by carbon monoxide at the mall, which is about 35 miles east of New York City. They responded to a call shortly after 6 p.m.

Robinson-Tingue said three people were being treated at the hospital and the others have been discharged.

Several restaurants at the mall were evacuated as a precaution.

Christie keeps low profile in Washington as Democrats attack

WASHINGTON — Moving cautiously to repair his image, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is maintaining a low profile this weekend as the nation’s governors gather in Washington.

Republican officials have been eager to change the subject as Democrats link Christie’s troubles to vulnerable GOP governors in a challenging election season.

The usually outspoken Christie avoided a media-sponsored forum, wasn’t granting interviews, didn’t attend a White House dinner and skipped a news conference hosted by the Republican Governors Association, an organization he heads.

Advisers privately acknowledge a larger effort to reduce media coverage of ongoing abuse-of-power investigations in New Jersey that threaten to derail his ambitious political future. When elected to his second term last fall, Christie was considered one of his party’s strongest prospective presidential candidates.

By wire sources