VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Argentine Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope Wednesday and chose the papal name Francis, becoming first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
A stunned-looking Bergoglio shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square, marveling that the cardinals had had to look to "the end of the earth" to find a bishop of Rome.
He asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose stunning resignation paved the way for the tumultuous conclave that brought the first Jesuit to the papacy. The cardinal electors overcame deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast conclave.
GOP DRAWS STARK BUDGET CONTRASTS WITH OBAMA
WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Republicans drew stark contrasts with Democrats on tricky budget issues as President Barack Obama came to the Capitol on Wednesday in a stepped-up effort to improve relations with lawmakers whose votes he needs to enact his second-term agenda.
Obama was holding a rare meeting with House Republicans geared at thawing political gridlock, even though he conceded in an interview airing hours earlier that a political accommodation may be impossible.
Many Republicans who long have chided Obama for failing to engage their party on the nation's biggest problems are applauding his newfound outreach - part of a concerted effort by the president to mend ties with Congress in hopes of reaching a grand compromise on fiscal issues.
Neither side is backing down from entrenched positions that have prevented deals in the past - a status quo scenario that Obama acknowledged could preclude any agreement.
"Ultimately, it may be that the differences are just too wide," he said in an interview broadcast Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America," hours before he was to meet with House Republicans at the Capitol.
MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS DETAIL HUMILIATION
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Victims of sexual assault and violence in the military told Congress Wednesday they're afflicted with a slow and uncaring system of justice that too often fails to hold perpetrators accountable and is fraught with institutional bias.
They testified to a Senate panel examining the military's handling of sexual assault cases that the military justice system is broken and urged Congress to make changes in the law that would stem the rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment that they said are pervasive in the service branches.
Defense Department officials said they have taken aggressive steps to combat sexual assault in the ranks. Robert Taylor, the Pentagon's acting general counsel, called sexual assault an "abhorrent crime" that does enormous harm to the victim and undermines the good order and discipline that is essential in military units.
"The Air Force has zero tolerance for this offense," said Lt. Gen. Richard Harding, the judge advocate general of the Air Force.
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