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POPE EXTOLS THE VIRTUES OF SILENCE

Pope Benedict XVI is asking everyone to quiet down. In his annual communications message released Tuesday, Benedict extolled the sounds of silence. He said a little bit of quiet makes people better listeners and better communicators by giving them more time to think about what they are hearing and saying. And in a world inundated by tweets and 24-hour news coverage, that precious time to think and reflect gives words greater value, he said. "Joy, anxiety and suffering can all be communicated in silence - indeed it provides them with a particularly powerful mode of expression," he said.

Club okays six new dog breeds

Six dogs will make history this year as the newest breeds eligible to compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Feb. 13-14 in New York. The new breeds bring to 185 the number that will compete. Joining the competition are the American English coonhound, the Entlebucher mountain dog, the Finnish Lapphund, the Norwegian Lundehund, the Cesky terrier and the Xoloitzcuintli, previously known as the Mexican hairless.

Elephant in peril, activists warn

The Sumatran elephant could be extinct in the wild within three decades unless immediate steps are taken to slow the breakneck pace of deforestation, environmentalists warned Tuesday. The International Union for Conservation of Nature recently listed the animals as "critically endangered" after their numbers dropped to between 2,400 and 2,800 from an estimated 5,000 in 1985. The decline is largely because of destruction of their habitat, with forests all across the Indonesian island of Sumatra being clear-cut for timber, palm oil and pulp and paper plantations.

Associated Press

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