Pope Francis eschews ride, walks mile-long procession

Pope Francis has again broken with the practice of his predecessors, walking the full length of an annual mile-long procession from one Roman basilica to another.

The 76-year-old Francis, who walks with a slight limp because of apparent lower back pain, paused several times in prayer during the 45-minute nighttime walk between St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major.

Thousands of pilgrims holding candles lined the route on a chilly spring evening.

During his nearly eight-year pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI would make the annual Corpus Domini procession riding on a specially outfitted flat-top pickup truck, kneeling in prayer. Pope John Paul II did the same in his final years.

On Thursday, two priests knelt on the truck in prayer before the Eucharist while Francis walked behind.


Man faces murder charge in jogger’s mauling by dogs

A Southern California man was arrested Thursday on a felony murder warrant stemming from the mauling death of a jogger by a pack of dogs earlier this month.

The warrant against Alex Jackson, 29, also charges him with owner negligence, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Jackson was originally arrested shortly after the May 9 death of Pamela Devitt, 63, who was out for a jog when she was attacked by four pit bulls in Palmdale.

Jackson was released on bail while DNA testing was conducted to determine if his dogs carried out the attack.

Since January, authorities received at least three other reports of Jackson’s dogs attacking other people, Robison said.


Nine injured as tornadoes touch down in two states

At least two tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma and another hit Arkansas on Thursday as a powerful storm system moved through the middle of the country. At least nine injuries were reported.

The National Weather Service reported two tornadoes on the ground near Perkins and Ripley in north central Oklahoma and another west of Oden, Ark.

Seven people were injured in tornadoes in Arkansas. Two other injuries were attributed to lightning strikes in that state.



Navy making sailors’ uniforms fire-resistant

The Navy is phasing in flame-resistant clothing for every sailor who goes to sea.

The decision announced Thursday follows testing last year by the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility in Natick, Mass., that revealed the camouflage working uniforms most sailors wear at sea are flammable.

The nylon and cotton blend uniforms worn by most sailors aboard ships will burn and melt until they’re completely consumed.

Sailors in specific jobs, such as engine room personnel, firefighters and those in flight-related duties, are still issued flame-resistant clothing.

The test results upset some sailors and their families and they questioned why the flame-resistant uniform isn’t standard for all sailors at sea.

A working group took up the issue and proposed the phased-in clothing change for all sailors at sea, or afloat.


— From news service reports