500,000 pack central Dublin for St. Patrick's Day parade

DUBLIN

500,000 At St. Patrick's Day parade

An estimated 500,000 people crowded Saturday into central Dublin for the St. Patrick's Day parade, a focal point for Irish celebrations worldwide and the start of the tourist season in debt-battered Ireland. Bands from Britain, the United States and Russia joined thousands of Irish volunteers in the two-hour procession through Ireland's capital of 1.3 million. It was the biggest of more than 50 parades and street festivals across the island.

Overseas, more than a dozen landmarks — including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Empire State Building, the London Eye and Table Mountain in South Africa — were floodlit green in keeping with a holiday that highlights Ireland's emigrant footprint worldwide.

In Armagh, Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady offered prayers for the estimated 50,000 citizens who have emigrated in the past year to escape Ireland's 14.4 percent unemployment. The Catholic Church in Ireland also launched an online information pack for emigrants.

Vatican City

Vatican launches inquiry into leaks

The Vatican has launched an internal criminal investigation into the leaks of confidential documents that alleged corruption and financial mismanagement and exposed power struggles among Holy See officials, a Vatican prelate said Saturday. In addition, Pope Benedict XVI himself has set up a special commission to shed light on the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal because he was so distressed by the "disloyalty" shown by those who leaked the memos, Monsignor Angelo Becciu, undersecretary in the Vatican's Secretariat of State, told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

Caracas, Venezuela

Diplomat's daughter shot dead by police

The 19-year-old daughter of a Chilean diplomat in Venezuela has been killed by police at a road checkpoint. Consul Fernando Berendique in the western city of Maracaibo said his daughter, Karen, was shot early Saturday while riding in a vehicle with her brother and another young man. He said the trio ignored a command to stop by police at the checkpoint, fearing the officers might be robbers. Violent crime is widespread in Venezuela. The Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement that 11 police officers are under investigation for their roles in the death. It said the victim died after suffering three bullet wounds. Judicial police chief Jose Humberto Ramirez condemned the shooting.

Elsewhere

Oak Hill, W.Va.: Fayette County authorities said an 83-year-old man, Howard Junior Curry, was arrested Saturday in the fatal shootings of two women and a man in southern West Virginia.

East Liverpool, Ohio: Fire officials said tthree boys ranging from 5 to 11 years old and a man in his 30s were killed when a fire destroyed a house.

Caracas, Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez held an energetic homecoming celebration on Saturday, rallying thousands of supporters from a balcony of the presidential palace after nearly three weeks in Cuba for cancer surgery.

Sao Paulo, Brazil: Prosecutors said Saturday they will file criminal charges against 17 Brazil-based executives of Chevron Corp. for a new oil leak near an offshore well where 110,000 gallons spilled late last year.

Bogota, Colombia: The the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country's largest rebel group, said Saturday that it's ready to start freeing 10 soldiers and police officers who have been held prisoner for as long as 14 years.

Times wires

500,000 pack central Dublin for St. Patrick's Day parade 03/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 17, 2012 10:12pm]

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