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Benedict to beatify John Paul II

Former Pope John Paul II will move a step closer to sainthood this week, when his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, approves the case for his beatification, Vatican sources said on Wednesday.

In “a few days,” the Vatican’s Prefect for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, is expected to present Benedict with the evidence that John Paul performed a miracle and should be beatified, one source said.

At that point, Benedict is expected to approve the recommendation and set a date for the ceremony less than six years after the death of the Polish pontiff.


Cuba, U.S. meet on immigration

HAVANA | Senior U.S. and Cuban diplomats met in Havana on Wednesday to discuss immigration issues in an encounter that was expected to turn to more contentious matters, such as the detention of a U.S. man whom Cuba accuses of spying.

Heading the talks for the U.S. is Roberta Jacobsen, deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. It was not clear who was representing the Cuban delegation.

Talks got under way Wednesday morning, said Gloria Berbena, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Interests Section, which Washington maintains instead of an embassy.

The gathering will focus on a 17-year-old agreement under which the U.S. issues 20,000 visas to Cubans a year. But diplomats on both sides use the twice-yearly meetings to detail a long-standing list of complaints.

From wire dispatches and staff reports