hTrafalgar battle marked
PORTSMOUTH, England -- Seventeen tall ships from five countries held a mock sea battle Tuesday off England's coast to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, Adm. Horatio Nelson's stunning victory at sea (celebrated above by historian Alex Naylor as Nelson) that gave Britain naval supremacy for a century. To avoid appearing to gloat over the famous victory over Napoleon Bonaparte's warships from France and Spain, the organizers didn't have the historic tall ships carry out a precise re-enactment of the battle with a victor and a loser. Instead, they opted for a battle pitting an unidentified red navy against an unnamed blue one. As tens of thousands of spectators watched from shore near Portsmouth harbor, the ships, including a replica 18th-century frigate portraying HMS Victory -- the flagship that Nelson commanded -- exploded gunpowder and used state-of-the-art pyrotechnics to simulate the clash. The rout at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 contributed to Napoleon's eventual downfall and allowed Britain to dominate the oceans.
Ceremony begins processfor sainthood of late pope
ROME -- The Roman Catholic Church placed Pope John Paul II on the path to sainthood Tuesday during a joyous ceremony at a Roman basilica -- the fastest start to a beatification process in memory for a man many considered a saint long before he died. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, John Paul's vicar for Rome, presided over the Latin-filled ritual launching the beatification "cause" at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
High court agrees to hearappeal from death row ...
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court said Tuesday it would decide when people should get a fresh chance to prove their innocence, agreeing to hear a Tennessee death row inmate's appeal based on DNA evidence that wasn't available when he was convicted of killing a young mother. The outcome could determine when prisoners can use this modern scientific technique to get a new trial, an issue especially important for people convicted years before the advent of sophisticated genetic technology. Justices will clarify the standards for winning new trials in the 20-year-old case of Paul House, a convicted sex offender who was accused of raping and beating to death a neighbor.
... Abortion clinic proteststo get more consideration
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court intervened again Tuesday in a long-running fight over protests outside abortion clinics. Justices said they will consider whether an anti-abortion group's campaign against abortions, conducted outside these clinics 20 years ago, may have violated federal racketeering and extortion laws. The court has already dealt with the same case several times before. Most recently justices ruled in 2003 that the laws were wrongly used against anti-abortion leader Joseph Scheidler and others.
Civil War historian dies
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Novelist and Civil War historian Shelby Foote, who became a national celebrity explaining the war to America on Ken Burns' 1990 PBS documentary, has died at 88. Foote died Monday night, said his widow, Gwyn. The Mississippi native and longtime Memphis resident wrote a stirring, three-volume, 3,000-page history of the Civil War, as well as six novels.