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Head of Catholic Church concludes pontificate with departure from Vatican to retreat in Italian town of Castel Gandolfo.
Resigning pope is known for his staunch traditionalism and strong defence of Catholic orthodoxy.
Announcement comes as Benedict XVI considers changing rules governing conclave to fast track election of his successor.
Holding Mass in Beirut, Benedict urges community not to leave region, despite war and pressure from radical Islamists.
Thousands participate in ceremony in Lebanese capital, which comes at the end of Benedict's three-day Middle East trip.
Benedict XVI urges religious groups to root out fundamentalism and work towards a pluralistic society.
The attacks in Afghanistan on April 15 were a faint echo of the Tet Offensive, and the message was strikingly similar.
The pope's visit to Cuba comes as its government strengthens diplomatic ties with the Vatican.
Catholic leader condemns cartel-related violence but does not mention pedophilia allegations during his Mexico trip.
Catholics await pontiff's arrival on first visit to Hispanic Latin America, but abuse scandal casts shadow over trip.
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Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.

 
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