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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Worldcrunch

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI became the first Roman pontiff in six centuries to step down, boarding a helicopter outside St. Peter's on Thursday that took him to the Vatican retreat of Castel Gandolfo south of Rome where he will stay hidden from view for the forseeable future.

Earlier, the Pope pledged "unconditional obedience" to whomever will succeed him. For more details on the day's events, here's the Associated Press report .

Global press attention is squarely on Rome, where the Cardinals are gathering to begin the process of choosing the next pope. Here are some front pages from around the world Thursday saluting Benedict's departure.

Austria

Belgium


Bolivia

Brazil

China

France

Greece

India

Vatican

Poland

Spain

UK

USA

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