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For if the pontiff's kiss seals an unspoken deal between the institutions of church and state, it may also touch off something far less predictable among the millions of people who are watching him.
Two 17-year-old burglary suspects were arrested Monday after slamming a stolen minivan into a power pole, causing live wires to touch off a brush fire at an elementary school.
Should God so choose, McCartney said in a recent interview, the organization's gathering might touch off a national upsurge in religious fervor, like the two that swept America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The start of work at the site has yet to touch off large-scale protests in the West Bank, and most of Bethlehem was quiet Thursday.
Fighting between the Zairian army and Tutsi rebels Friday entered a seventh day, crippling efforts by relief agencies to reach tens of thousands of refugees and threatening to touch off a regional war, diplomats and officials said.
government's integrity is at stake, a key Senate committee chairman vowed to bolster two current government probes - perhaps with congressional subpoena power - into possible CIA ties to a drug ring that helped touch off the crack scourge of the 1980s.