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Dozens killed as Assad defends Syria crackdown

DAMASCUS — Syrian forces backed by tanks killed at least 27 people on Sunday, activists said, as President Bashar al-Assad defended what he termed the state’s duty to crack down on “outlaws” despite mounting condemnation. Security forces killed at least 20 civilians in the city of Deir Ezzor, activists said,…

Spanish riot police ‘indignant’ over protests

MADRID — Spanish riot police said Thursday that the long hours they have been required to work this week to prevent protesters from gaining access to Madrid’s main square “is not tolerable for much longer”. Over 200 police were deployed Thursday for the third straight day to close the Puerta…

Pope urges end to ‘indifference’ over Somalia famine

The pope on Sunday urged the world not to be “indifferent” to the Horn of Africa famine, as the African Union prepares to host a donors conference for victims on August 9. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the suffering of millions in the region hit by its worst drought in…

Syrian protesters killed at Lebanon border crossing

DAMASCUS — The deadly unrest in Syria spilled over into Lebanon where a woman was killed at a border crossing as protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime entered a third month on Sunday. Gunfire from Syria raked a crowd at Al-Boqayah crossing near the town of Wadi Khaled, killing the…

‘Smoking gun’ letter reveals official Vatican cover-up of child sex abuses

A letter written by a Vatican official in 1997, marked “strictly confidential,” warned Irish bishops to avoid reporting the sexual abuse of children in the church, in hopes of avoiding public fallout from the scandals that were sure to ensue. Victims’ groups the world over were calling the letter — first…

Vatican appoints Protestant to lead science body

VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI named Saturday Nobel laureate Werner Arber, a Protestant, to head the Vatican’s scientific academy, the first time a non-Catholic is heading the centuries-old body. The 81-year old Swiss microbiologist will succeed Italian Nicola Cabibbo, who died in August, to lead the Pontifical Academy…

John Paul II to be beatified May 1

VATICAN CITY — John Paul II is to be beatified on May 1 — a key step on the path to sainthood — the Vatican announced on Friday, after Pope Benedict XVI signed an official decree. The beatification was given the nod by Benedict because of John Paul II’s “imposing…

New technologies confuse reality and fiction: Pope

Pope Benedict XVI said on Thursday that the media’s increasing reliance on images, fuelled by the endless development of new technologies, risked confusing real life with virtual reality. “New technologies and the progress they bring can make it impossible to distinguish truth from illusion and can lead to confusion between…

Vatican fast-tracks pedophile priest probe

VATICAN CITY (AFP) – The Vatican on Thursday issued new rules on the handling of abuse cases amid a worldwide scandal, ordering quicker investigations of paedophile priests and extending the statute of limitations. Announcing the measures in a bid to fend off accusations of high-level complacency, the Church also classified…

SCOTUS: No immunity for you, Papa Ratzi

SCOTUS is busy with the rulings today and it has now dealt a huge blow to the protectors of child-raping priests in the Vatican as a ruling came down today that could result in Pope Benedict taking the stand. (Raw Story): Allowing a federal appeals court ruling to stand, the…

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