Pope Benedict XVI officially ended his papacy, becoming the first pontiff in 600 years to step down!

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, ITALY—Pope Benedict XVI ended his papacy, becoming the first pontiff in 600 years to step down. From now on, he will be known as Benedict XVI, pope emeritus.

The landmark resignation took effect at 8 pm on Thursday, three hours after the former pope had left Vatican City and flown to Castel Gandolfo, a summer residence on the outskirts of Rome. Over the next few days, cardinals will gather at the Vatican to plan a conclave that will elect his successor.

 

The pontiff’s retirement thrusts the church into uncharted waters, as the next pope will lead Roman Catholicism with his predecessor just a stone’s throw away. Pope Benedict, who is a prolific writer and respected theologian, has said he doesn’t expect to withdrawal completely from public life.

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Earlier Thursday, in Rome, the pope pledged obedience to his future successor. Meeting with cardinals for the last time inside the Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict said he would remain with them “in prayer” after he steps down this evening.

“Among you, the College of Cardinals, is the future pope to whom I pledge today unconditional obedience and reverence,” the pope told the cardinals.

 

In his last hours as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI addressed a crowd of faithful from the balcony of his summer palace, saying that he would soon no longer be leader of the Catholic Church, rather “a pilgrim who begins the last stop of his pilgrimage.”

 

Greeted by a crowd of people chanting “Benedetto, Benedetto” and waving flags, the pope thanked his supporters and said that he would continue to “work for the good of the Church.”

Pope Benedict XVI's Final Day

 

He will return to Vatican City once renovations are complete on his future residence: a former convent inside the Vatican’s medieval walls.

 

“We serve the Church and all of humanity. This is our joy. No one can take that away from us,” the pope told cardinals. The so-called princes of the church then lined up to individually bid him farewell.

 

After his official resignation, the ring that bears the seal of his authority will be broken. Earlier Thursday the Vatican post office, which serves the world’s smallest state, began stamping letters with a new mark: Benedictus PP. XVI Renuntiat Ministerio Petrino, indicating the pope had renounced the ministry.

Pope Benedict XVI to Resign

WSJ

Galaxy S IV to premiere at Times Square on March 14

Samsung has already sent out invitations for a press event on March 14, where it will unveil the Galaxy S IV smartphone.

It seems though its plans for the announcement are much bigger.

Today Samsung invites all of its social network followers to join the Galaxy S IV premiere in New York. Everyone is invited on March 14, 7PM at Times Square.

The people there will be able the follow the UNPACKED announcement event via a livestream, which, we guess, will be hooked on to some of the big screens, lining the square.

They should also be able to “experience Samsung’s new flagship smartphone at Times Square”, whatever that means.

Samsung has suffered a blow in Japan where a Tokyo court ruled in favor of Apple over a patent lawsuit that it had brought against its rival for the use of data transmission technologies.

Samsung copies Apple’s Passbook: The Samsung Wallet

Samsung on Wednesday unveiled its own mobile payment solution called Samsung Wallet that looks quite a lot like Apple’s Passbook app which is part of iOS 6. Just like Apple’s Passbook, Samsung’s Wallet too lets you manage your coupons, boarding passes, various tickets and loyalty cards all in a single app and redeem these at a point of sale by showing the digital barcode to a clerk.

Again, just like Passbook, Samsung’s solution supports real-time notifications when, for example, event details change or your flight gets rescheduled. Even the Samsung app’s icon resembles the look and feel of the Passbook icon…

Here’s the Apple’s Passbook icon versus Samsung’s Wallet.

Samsung Wallet, Passbook (icon, small)

The South Korean conglomerate is launching its Passbook-inspired Wallet as a developer preview, describing the solution as “a convenient mobile app which allows users to store and manage event tickets, boarding passes, membership cards and coupons all in one place.”

Samsung said developers looking to integrate Wallet into their own apps can request API access, which will enable users of their software to add passes and tickets to the app. Launch partners include , Belly, Booking.com, Expedia, Lufthansa, Major League Baseball Advanced Media Hotels.com and Walgreens.

According to The Verge, Samsung Wallet will not initially work with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology:

When we asked why Samsung did not include and NFC tap-to-pay features in Wallet, the company said that retailers prefer barcodes over NFC because they don’t have to install any new infrastructure to support it. Samsung didn’t rule out NFC features in Wallet for the future, however.

This is surprising as Samsung yesterday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain said its future NFC-enabled handsets will be able to connect to Visa’s PayWave systems available at several merchants around the world.

Samsung is scheduled to reveal its next-generation Galaxy smartphone at the Unpacked event on March 14 and Wallet is probably going to be one of the highlights of the show.