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WORLD: Pope shuffles Vatican leaders before vacation

Pope shuffles Vatican leaders before vacation

VATICAN CITY -- Preoccupied for months by the clerical sex abuse scandal, the pope on Wednesday shuffled the Vatican bureaucracy before heading off on vacation. His most significant appointment: the head of a new office designed to fight secularism in the West.

Pope Benedict XVI tapped a trusted Italian, Monsignor Rino Fisichella, to head the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, a new Vatican department designed to reinvigorate Christianity in the parts of the world where it is falling by the wayside.

Benedict has made rekindling the faith in Europe a priority of his papacy.

2 Iraqi officers killed in ambush

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi officials said gunmen have killed two police officers in western Iraq.

The intelligence officer and his bodyguard were ambushed Wednesday by three gunmen at the entrance to a clinic in the town of Hit in Iraq's Sunni-dominated Anbar province.

The bodyguard managed to shoot and kill one attacker and wound the two others before he died, a Hit police officer said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

As police approached one of the attackers, he detonated an explosive belt strapped to his body. The third gunmen blew himself up on the way to the hospital. The two were killed, but not one else was hurt.

Iraq's security forces are frequently targeted in the town, a former al-Qaida stronghold.

Petraeus gets nod on Afghan war command

WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Wednesday unanimously confirmed Gen. David Petraeus as the new commander of the Afghanistan war, and President Barack Obama swiftly issued a statement saying Petraeus had his ''full confidence.''

Petraeus replaces Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whose three-decade career ended in disgrace because of inflammatory remarks he and his aides made to Rolling Stone magazine.

''Gen. Petraeus is a pivotal part of our effort to succeed in Afghanistan -- and in our broader effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida -- and he has my full confidence,'' Obama said in a statement shortly after the Senate's 99-0 vote.

Petraeus' replacement at Central Command has not been announced.