Iraq seats new government

BAGHDAD — Iraq seated a freely elected government Tuesday after nine months of haggling, bringing together the main ethnic and religious groups in a fragile balance that could make it difficult to rebuild a nation devastated by war as American troops prepare for their final withdrawal.

One of the government's first priorities will be to decide whether to ask the Obama administration to keep thousands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq after their scheduled departure in December 2011.

Vatican clarifies remarks on condoms

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Tuesday sought to clarify the pope's controversial comments about condoms and HIV, saying he by no means suggested condom use could be condoned as a means of avoiding pregnancy.

The Vatican's moral watchdog, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a statement Tuesday saying some commentators had misunderstood and misrepresented the pope's remarks in a book-length interview released last month titled "Light of the World."

In the book, Benedict said that condoms weren't the real or moral solution to battling HIV and AIDS. But he said the intention to use condoms in some cases, such as for male prostitutes, could be a first step toward a more moral and responsible human sexuality.

Cuba reports a slight increase in tourists

HAVANA — Cuba says its crucial tourism sector is looking up, with the number of visitors rising 4 percent in 2010.

The official Prensa Latina news agency says some 2.5 million people visited the Caribbean island this year. That compares with about 2.4 million in 2009.

Tuesday's report said Canadians topped the ranks of tourists, followed by Italians, Germans and Spaniards.

The United States' nearly half-century-old trade embargo keeps most Americans from traveling to Cuba.