World Briefs

British royal couple expecting a baby

LONDON – The most widely anticipated pregnancy since Princess Diana’s in 1981 is official: Prince William’s wife, Kate, is pregnant.

St. James’s Palace announced the pregnancy Monday, saying that the Duchess of Cambridge – formerly known as Kate Middleton – has a severe form of morning sickness and is currently in a London hospital. William is at his wife’s side.

News of the pregnancy drew congratulations from across the world, with the hashtag “royalbaby” trending globally on Twitter.

The couple’s first child will be third in line to take the throne – leapfrogging the gregarious Prince Harry and possibly setting up the first scenario in which a U.K. female heir could benefit from new gender rules about succession.

Israel feels heat from allies over settlements

JERUSALEM – Israel rejected a wave of American and European condemnations Monday about plans to build thousands of new homes in West Bank settlements, vowing to press forward with the construction in the face of widespread international opposition.

The announcement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office was likely to deepen a rift that has emerged between Israel and some of its closest allies after the U.N.’s recognition of a Palestinian state last week. The U.N. decision appears to be fueling a tougher international line against Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Pope joins tweeting masses @Pontifex

VATICAN CITY – Benedict XVI, the pope known for his hefty volumes of theology and lengthy encyclicals, is now trying brevity – spreading the faith through his own Twitter account.

The pontiff will tweet in eight languages starting Dec. 12 using his personal handle @Pontifex, responding live to questions about faith during his weekly general audience, the Vatican said Monday.

Within 10 hours of the Vatican’s announcement, Benedict already had garnered nearly a quarter-million followers on the English version of @Pontifex alone, with thousands more following him in the eight other language accounts.

All that, and he hadn’t sent a single tweet.

Associated Press

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