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In brief: Benedict appears unhurt after attack

Sun., Dec. 27, 2009, midnight

Vatican City – Pope Benedict XVI appeared in good shape on Saturday as he addressed the faithful two days after a woman knocked him down at the start of Christmas Eve Mass.

Benedict spoke about the plight of persecuted Christians around the world and did not mention the incident in his message to a crowd gathered in a rainy St. Peter’s Square.

The 82-year-old pontiff was processing through St. Peter’s Basilica on Thursday when a woman described by Vatican officials as mentally unstable jumped the barricades and pulled him to the ground as she was taken down by guards. Benedict quickly got up and continued with the Mass.

While Benedict was unhurt in the tumble, a retired Vatican diplomat, French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, 87, fell and fractured his hip in the commotion.

Second ferry in days sinks

Manila, Philippines – A passenger ferry sank in the northern Philippines in a second sea disaster in three days. The bodies of three children were recovered and 22 people were missing today.

Search-and-rescue teams rescued 63 passengers and crew of the MV Baleno-9 and were scouring the seas for others still unaccounted for, coast guard officials said.

Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo quoted survivors as saying the ship took in water from the bow ramp.

Sea accidents are common in the archipelago because of tropical storms, badly maintained boats and weak enforcement of safety regulations.

On Christmas Eve, a wooden-hulled ferry with 73 people on board collided with a fishing vessel near the mouth of Manila Bay. Three bodies and 46 survivors have been recovered from that accident; 24 people remain missing.


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