- - Sunday, October 16, 2011


Socialist Hollande wins primary to face Sarkozy

PARIS — French Socialist leader Martine Aubry conceded defeat Sunday in France’s left-wing opposition primary, hailing rival Francois Hollande as the Socialist candidate to beat President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr. Hollande will run against Mr. Sarkozy in next year’s two-round election in April and May and, according to opinion polls, will start as favorite to defeat the conservative president, who has had a difficult five-year term.

Sunday’s election was France’s first U.S.-style primary that was open to any voter who pledged support for the Socialist Party.

Oct. 9, a bigger-than-expected 2.66 million voters turned out for the first round, which Mr. Hollande won with only a narrow nine-point lead over Ms. Aubry.


Pope utilizes wheeled platform

Pope Benedict XVI began using a wheeled platform Sunday to navigate the long aisle of St. Peter’s Basilica, adopting the device employed by his ailing predecessor to reduce fatigue.

As the platform, pushed forward by aides, glided up the marble floor toward the main altar, Benedict gripped his pastoral staff with one hand and the device’s support bar with the other.

The 84-year-old pontiff occasionally took his hand off the bar to wave to thousands of faithful flanking his route in the basilica, where he celebrated a Mass dedicated to encouraging missionary zeal.

Benedict walked steadily around the central altar and up and down its steps but appeared less sprightly Sunday than he usually does.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi insisted the platform wasn’t being used for any “medical reason.”

“The sole purpose is to ease the effort of the Holy Father, to reduce the fatigue,” Father Lombardi said.


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