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Key events in life of Benedict XVI

(AP) Benedict XVI says he is stepping down at the end of the month, lacking the strength to fulfill his duties at the head of the Catholic Church. The 85-year-old German becomes the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years. Here are some key events in the life of a conservative pontiff who grappled with a global sex abuse scandal that exploded during his leadership:

— April 16, 1927: Born Joseph Alois Ratzinger in Marktl am Inn, Germany, youngest of three children to Joseph and Maria Ratzinger.

— 1943-1945: Assistant in Germany’s anti-aircraft defense and infantry soldier; imprisoned in 1945 in American POW camp in Neu-Ulm.