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U.S. leads snub of telecom rules

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - A disappointed American delegation led a Western snub of a U.N. telecommunications treaty Thursday after rivals, including Iran and China, won support for provisions interpreted as endorsing greater government control of the Internet.

The unraveling of the conference displayed the deep ideological divide at the 193-nation gathering in Dubai, where envoys grappled with the first revisions of global telecom codes since 1988 - years before the dawn of the Internet age.

A Western bloc led by a powerhouse U.S. delegation sought to stop any U.N. rules on cyberspace, fearing they could squeeze web commerce and open the door for more restrictions and monitoring by authoritarian regimes that already impose wide-ranging clampdowns.

- AP

Vatican backs Chinese bishop

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican on Thursday refused to accept the decision by Chinese authorities to revoke the title of Shanghai's auxiliary bishop.

Bishop Ma Daquin was jointly named for the post in a rare consensus between Beijing and the Vatican. He has been confined to a seminary since announcing his intention to drop out of the government agency that oversees the officially sanctioned church, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, in front of a congregation during his July 7 ordination as auxiliary bishop.

The No. 2 official in the Vatican's missionary office, Hong Kong Monsignor Savio Hon Tai-Fai, said Thursday that Ma remains auxiliary bishop and that the "so-called" Chinese Catholics bishops' conference has no authority to change that. - AP

Confusion over Mandela's care

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The nation's presidency declined to directly address reports Thursday that antiapartheid icon Nelson Mandela was being treated at a different hospital than previously identified by a senior government official, raising questions about who was caring for the 94-year-old former president.

Mandela, admitted Saturday to a hospital, had been thought to have been at 1 Military Hospital near the capital, Pretoria, after Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said she visited the leader there Monday. But as local media suggested Mandela wasn't at that hospital Thursday night, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj issued a statement seeming to indicate he wasn't there.

"President Mandela is being treated at a Pretoria hospital as said from the first statement we issued," Maharaj said. "We have refrained from disclosing the hospital in order to ensure privacy and also to allow doctors space to do their work of caring for [him] without interruptions or undue pressure."

- AP