Scott Neuman

There's never been much doubt that Pope John Paul II was destined for sainthood. In more than a quarter-century as the head of the Holy See, he left such an indelible mark that at his funeral in 2005, mourners chanted "Santo subito (sainthood now)."

That road might have seemed less obvious for the other saint-to-be, Pope John XXIII — especially for young Catholics who may not be familiar with his relatively short but highly influential papacy, from 1958 to 1963.

A February accident at a nuclear waste dump that resulted in the contamination of 21 workers resulted in part from "poor management, ineffective maintenance and a lack of proper training and oversight," a Department of Energy report concludes.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel says the report, released Thursday, says the release of radioactive material into the environment from the Feb. 14 accident at the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., could have been prevented. The facility is a repository for defense-related nuclear waste.

The Marshall Islands, the Pacific chain where the U.S. carried out dozens of nuclear tests in the late 1940s and 1950s, has filed suit in the Hague against Washington and the governments of eight other countries it says have not lived up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Simon Ostrovsky, the Vice News journalist who was reportedly seized by pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine earlier this week, has been released, according to his employer.

"VICE News is delighted to confirm that our colleague and friend Simon Ostrovsky has been safely released and is in good health," the website reports on Thursday.

Rewind to the year 1888: The 202-foot SS City of Chester, departing San Francisco harbor in thick fog, is nearly cut in two by the much larger liner Oceanic, arriving from Hong Kong. Within six minutes, the smaller ship disappears under the turbulent current near the site of the present-day Golden Gate Bridge, claiming 16 lives.

President Obama said Thursday that the U.S. believes Japan's administration of a contested island chain should not change "unilaterally," as he assured Tokyo that a U.S. security treaty "covers all territories administered by Japan."

Pop star Justin Bieber has been lurching from crisis to crisis in recent months, but his latest faux pas could be his biggest, risking the affections of possibly a billion Beliebers.

Georgians will now be able to carry firearms in such places as schools, bars, churches and government buildings under a sweeping new law signed by the governor on Wednesday.

The Safe Carry Protection Act, also known to critics as the "guns everywhere bill," was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, who said it will allow "people who follow the rules [to] protect themselves and their families from people who don't follow the rules.

The ex-Army intelligence analyst responsible for the biggest leak of classified material in U.S. history is now officially known as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

President Obama, at the start of a four-stop trip to Asia, sought to reassure Japan that the U.S. is on its side in a dispute with China over the tiny Senkaku islands chain, which has led to bluster and naval jockeying between the two countries in recent years.

An American journalist operating in eastern Ukraine has been kidnapped by pro-Russian gunmen, the separatists said Wednesday.

Simon Ostrovsky, working for Vice News, was seized at gunpoint early Tuesday by masked men in the restive eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk.

President Obama, aboard Marine One, took an aerial tour of devastation caused by a massive mudslide a month ago that left at least 41 people dead near the town of Oso, Wash.

The president, who made a stop in the state on his way to Japan for the start of a four-stop visit to Asia, witnessed toppled trees, mud and debris from the March 22 landslide.

"We're going to be strong right alongside you," Obama promised the people of Oso on Tuesday.

The United States is urging North Korea to refrain from a new nuclear test amid indications of "heightened activity" at Pyongyang's Punggye-ri test site.

"We have certainly seen the press reports ... regarding possible increased activity in North Korea's nuclear test site," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "We are closely monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula."

Reuters says:

Ten years after the friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan that killed U.S. Army Ranger and former NFL star Pat Tillman, one of the soldiers who mistakenly pulled the trigger says he's still haunted by demons from the night of April 22, 2004.

The island nation of Sri Lanka has ordered the deportation of a British tourist for arriving in the country sporting a Buddha tattooed on her arm. Authorities say the ink shows disrespect for religious feelings in the majority-Buddhist nation.

Naomi Coleman, 37, says she got through immigration at the airport near the capital, Colombo, without incident, despite wearing a short-sleeved shirt that exposed the tattoo of a Buddha seated on a bed of lotus flowers.

The sponsor of a bill to make the Holy Bible the official book of Louisiana has withdrawn the measure ahead of a full vote in the state House of Representatives, saying the proposal has become a distraction.

As we reported last week, a mix of Republicans and Democrats had moved the largely symbolic bill, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Carmody of Shreveport, out of committee on an 8-5 vote.

The Supreme Court has ruled that a Michigan ballot initiative to ban racial preferences in college admissions is constitutional, overturning a lower court decision.

In a 6-2 decision Tuesday, the justices said the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals was wrong to set aside the voter-approved ban as discriminatory.

Netflix, buoyed by its foray into original productions such as the political drama House of Cards, said Monday it has added 2.25 million new customers and plans to raise its new-subscriptions rate by $1 or $2 a month.

The video streaming service reported first quarter earnings of $53 million, or 86 cents a share. Its share price surged by 6 percent following the announcement of earnings that compared with $2.7 million in the same period a year ago.

An alleged gang member appearing in court in Utah was shot dead by a U.S. marshal on Monday after he reportedly lunged at a witness.

Deseret News says 25-year-old Siale Angilau, aka "C-Down," was on trial in federal court in Salt Lake City when the fatal shooting took place.

Authorities announced Monday that the death toll from last month's mudslide near Oso, Wash., had risen to 41. Four people are still listed as missing.

Tuesday marks one month since the devastating landslide that caught the small community in the Cascade foothills by surprise. A rain-soaked hillside collapsed, setting in motion a massive flow of mud and debris.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan says that "targeted killings of civilians" based on ethnicity were carried out in the war-torn country after rebels last week seized the city of Bentiu.

You can see the video here. New Delhi Television calls it "an indication of increased conflicts between man and animal."

In the footage, a leopard is seen bursting through roof tiles of a one-story building in the central city of Chandrapur, Maharashtra, about 400 miles east of Mumbai.

NDTV says:

The situation in eastern Ukraine remains on edge Monday, following a weekend of violence that reportedly left up to five pro-Russian separatists dead at the hands of Ukraine nationalists. Moscow has used the killings to press its case that Ukraine's Russian speakers are threatened and to accuse Kiev of not living up to last week's agreement on steps to ease tensions.

Here's some of the latest news from the region:

Rescue workers still searching for bodies from the March 22 landslide that killed at least 39 people near the town of Oso, Washington, erected a simple, but moving memorial to the victims of the tragedy. Four people are still listed as missing.

NPR's Martin Kaste, who took the photo, says the rescue effort is in a "transition phase" as crews from other states are leaving and being replaced by fresh searchers.

Japan says it will kill fewer whales when its seasonal Pacific hunt begins next week and will only observe whales in the Antarctic, after a U.N. court ordered it to stop taking the marine mammals from the Southern Ocean.

A powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck near Mexico's resort town of Acapulco could be felt as far away as Mexico City, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the epicenter of Friday's quake was located about 80 miles northwest of Acapulco at a depth of about 15 miles. The effects, however, were felt 165 miles northeast in the Mexican capital, where shaking startled residents and lasted for about 30 seconds.

Unbridled industrialization with almost no environmental regulation has resulted in the toxic contamination of one-fifth of China's farmland, the Communist Party has acknowledged for the first time.

In the wilds of Africa, chimpanzees consistently choose to make their sleeping nests in a particular tree that offers the "just right" kind of comfort that Goldilocks famously preferred.

That's according to a new study in the journal PLOS ONE that could also bolster a theory that solid shut-eye may have been a key to human evolution.

Chelsea Clinton announced Thursday that she and husband Marc Mezvinsky are expecting their first child, also a first grandchild for former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Mark and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year," Chelsea Clinton, who is 34, said at a New York event while sitting on a stage with her mother, according to The Associated Press.

Hillary Clinton said she's "really excited" about becoming a grandmother.

Nobel Prize-winning Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, has died in Mexico City. He was 87.

The Associated Press says:

"Garcia Marquez's magical realist novels and short stories exposed tens of millions of readers to Latin America's passion, superstition, violence and inequality.

"Widely considered the most popular Spanish-language writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century, Garcia Marquez achieved literary celebrity that spawned comparisons to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.

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