A believer wears a hat with a picture depicting the holy family at the birth of Jesus Christ during a Mass honoring the family as a building block of Christianity in Madrid, Spain.



VP: Chavez suffers 'new complications'

CARACAS - Hugo Chavez has suffered "new complications" after his cancer surgery in Cuba, his vice president said Sunday, describing the Venezuelan leader's condition as delicate.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro spoke with a solemn expression in a televised address from Havana, saying he had spoken with Chavez and that the president sent greetings to his homeland. Maduro did not give details about the complications, which he said came amid a respiratory infection.


Gang rape victim's body is cremated privately

NEW DELHI - A young woman who died after being gang-raped and beaten on a bus in India's capital was cremated privately as millions of grieving, angry residents demanded greater protection for women from sexual violence.

The cremation took place during a private ceremony in New Delhi soon after the woman's body arrived in the capital Sunday on a special Air India flight from Singapore, where she died at a hospital Saturday after being sent for medical treatment.

The attack has forced India to confront the reality that sexually assaulted women are often blamed for the crime, forced to keep quiet and discouraged from going to authorities for fear of exposing their families to ridicule.


Bomb at Coptic church kills 2 in Misrata

TRIPOLI - An explosion at an Egyptian Coptic church in Libya's third-largest city, Misrata, has killed two people and wounded two others, Egypt's Foreign Ministry said.

The Foreign Ministry said Sunday's explosion killed two Egyptian citizens working at the church in preparation for traditional New Year's Eve Mass.

Egypt's ambassador visited the church in the coastal city after the attack and urged Libyan security forces to ensure the property is guarded.

A Libyan security official said the deadly attack was caused by a bomb made from an explosive material that typically requires a detonator.

South Africa

Seven job-seekers die during fitness tests

JOHANNESBURG - Provincial authorities are investigating the deaths of seven job-seekers who collapsed in the heat while undergoing a fitness test for positions as traffic officers, media reported.

The chief transport official for KwaZulu-Natal province, Willies Mchunu, has suspended further testing in the meantime.

The state-owned South African Broadcasting Corp. reported that tens of thousands of people took the fitness test late last week, even though only 90 jobs were available.

Applicants were required to run 2 1/2 miles in temperatures of more than 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many collapsed from dehydration and heat exhaustion. Some received hospital treatment.


Anglican leader Williams steps down after decade

LONDON - The head of the Church of England is leaving office after a decade as the spiritual leader of the world's 80 million-strong Anglican Communion.

Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, will be replaced by 56-year-old former oil executive Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham.

The 10 years in which the 62-year-old Williams held office saw him struggling to maintain unity within the Anglican Communion amid bitter disagreements over female bishops and church teachings on gay relationships.

Williams has been praised for engaging with church critics and atheists including Richard Dawkins.

He has also raised eyebrows with his opinions on controversial issues including the war in Iraq and Sharia law.

Williams will step down Monday to start a new role as Master of Cambridge University's Magdalene College.


Train mows down, kills 5 elephants

BHUBANESHWAR - A passenger train plowed into and killed five elephants of a herd crossing railroad tracks in eastern India, the railroad said.

R.N. Mohapatra, a railroad spokesman, said the train struck the animals early Sunday in the Rambha forest area, about 110 miles south of Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa state.

J.D. Sharma, chief conservator of the state's wildlife department, accused the railroad authorities of ignoring his department's warning that trains should slow down because a herd of elephants was moving in the area.

The Associated Press