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Pope accepts resignation of Chilean cardinal accused of covering up abuse

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Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati as archbishop of Santiago, the highest-ranking member of the Catholic Church in Chile, who has been caught up in the country’s sex abuse scandal.

The decision to accept Ezzati’s resignation, announced in a Vatican statement on Saturday, comes at a time of sustained criticism of the Church’s response to a decades-long sexual abuse crisis.

Victims of sexual abuse by clergymen say a top-level conference at the Vatican last month failed to come up with concrete measures to tackle the issue.

On March 13 an Australian court sentenced former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell to six years in prison for sexually abusing two choir boys in Melbourne – the most senior Catholic to be convicted for child sex offences. Pell is appealing.

Ezzati, 77, faces multiple charges of cover up, including some relating to the case of Oscar Munoz, a former top aide to the Santiago Archbishopric, who is facing trial on charges he abused and raped at least five children. He denies wrongdoing.

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“I leave with my head held high,” Ezzati told reporters in Santiago. “Every accusation has been responded to, and we will have to wait for what justice says: it is not enough for one to be accused of a cover-up; it has to be proven”.

In October, Ezzati exercised his right to remain silent after being summoned for questioning by a state prosecutor over the allegations.

His resignation brought to eight the number of bishops who have stepped down since all of the country’s 34 bishops offered their resignations en masse during an emergency meeting with the pope last May over allegations of a cover-up.

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The May meeting was held after Vatican investigators produced a 2,300-page report alleging that senior Church officials in Chile had failed to act on abuse claims and in some cases hid them.

Despite his resignation as archbishop of the Chilean capital, Ezzati will keep his title of cardinal. Until he turns 80, he also will be eligible to enter a conclave to elect a new pope after Francis’ death or resignation.

The Vatican said the pope had named Bishop Celestino Aós Braco of the Chilean city of Copiapó, as “apostolic administrator” to run the Santiago archdiocese until a new archbishop is named.

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Apart from the eight active bishops who have resigned in Chile, last year Francis defrocked two other Chilean bishops who had been accused of molesting children.

The pope also defrocked Father Fernando Karadima, an 88-year-old Chilean priest who was accused of sexually abusing teenage boys over many years and who was at the center of the Chilean abuse scandal.

Chilean civil justice has investigated about 120 allegations of sexual abuse or cover-ups involving 167 Church officials or workers..

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On Monday, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the French Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon, who a French court convicted of failing to report sexual abuse charges, offered his resignation to the pope, but Francis turned it down.

Church authorities in Poland last week issued a study showing that almost 400 children had been sexually abused by clergy between 1990 and 2018.


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Disney heiress who went undercover to Disneyland ‘livid’ at conditions and pay

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Heiress Abigail Disney went to one of her family's resorts to see conditions for workers herself and was disgusted by what she saw.

In comments to Yahoo News podcast "Through Her Eyes," Disney described how she went to Disneyland in California undercover and found that workers at the resort were treated poorly—and underpaid.

"Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, 'I don't know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people's garbage,'" said Disney.

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Ex-Peru president wanted for corruption arrested in the US

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Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo was arrested in the United States Tuesday to face extradition to his home country on corruption charges, authorities in the South American nation said.

The 73-year-old is suspected of involvement in the sprawling Odebrecht scandal in which the construction giant paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes throughout the continent to secure huge public works contracts.

The Peruvian attorney general's office announced on Twitter that Toledo "was arrested this morning for extradition, in the United States."

Toledo has been formally charged with receiving a $20 million payment from Odebrecht to grant it the tender to build the Interoceanic Highway that links Peru with Brazil.

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Comic-Con mines past for future hits on 50th edition

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A smorgasbord of sequels, prequels and reunions from "Terminator" to "Game of Thrones" awaits thousands of misty-eyed comic book geeks and sci-fi nerds descending on San Diego this week for the world's largest celebration of pop culture fandom.

The 50th edition of Comic-Con International will see 135,000 cosplayers, bloggers, movie executives and humble fans pile into a sweaty convention center for glimpses of their heroes, in town to promote the next mega-hit films, TV shows and comic books.

This anniversary edition promises to be more nostalgia-laden than most -- among those expected to appear are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, who will soon reunite on screen for the first time since 1991's "Terminator 2" for Paramount's killer cyborg sequel "Dark Fate."

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