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Pope relic recovered

ITALIAN police have recovered the piece of cloth stained with the blood of the late Pope John Paul, a day after they found the stolen gold and glass case that once contained the relic.

They told a news conference in L'Aquila, east of Rome, they found the fragment on Friday in the garage of two men who were being detained for having stolen the reliquary last week.

MEDICS EASE MALE BAN

A US professional group that certifies obstetricians and gynaecologists has loosened a decades-old restriction limiting treatment of males, after mounting pressure from doctors and researchers.

The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynaecology previously disallowed members from treating male patients except when circumcising babies, treating transgendered people and helping infertile couples.

ADVENTURER WALKS ON

AN adventurer seriously hurt in a motorbike accident is thought to have entered the record books by becoming the first person to complete a trio of gruelling challenges.

Briton James Ketchell was told he would never walk properly after shattering his ankle in a road accident in 2007. But the 31-year-old from London is now believed to be the first man to have rowed the Atlantic, climbed Mount Everest and completed an arduous global cycle.

PRIVY WITHOUT PRIVACY

SIDE-by-side toilets caused a social media sensation last month when discovered at the biathlon venue for the Sochi Olympics, swiftly becoming a national joke in Russia.

Now, another privy without privacy has been found. The Associated Press found the toilets built for two in a lavatory for female staff and volunteers conducting security checks of journalists at Sochi's main media centre.

GROUNDHOG DAY

HANDLERS for groundhog Punxsutawney Phil say he is forecasting six more weeks of what has already felt like a brutally long, cold US winter.

Pennsylvania's famed groundhog emerged from his lair in front of thousands at around daybreak yesterday. Legend has it that if the furry rodent sees his shadow on February 2, winter will last another six weeks. If he does not, spring will come early.

FORD IN TROUBLE AGAIN

IT SEEMS embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford cannot cross the road these days without getting into trouble.

Mr Ford, who has admitted smoking crack cocaine, was given a ticket for jaywalking in Vancouver while attending a friend's mother's funeral.

Irish Independent