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Church beatifies Pole slain by communists in 1984

Thousands of Poles filled a vast sunbathed square in Warsaw on Sunday for the beatification of Jerzy Popieluszko, a charismatic priest tortured and killed in 1984 by communist Poland's secret police for supporting Lech Walesa's Solidarity freedom movement.

Archbishop Angelo Amato, head of the Vatican's saint-making office, presided over the Mass at Pilsudski Square that was also celebrated by 120 bishops and 1,600 priests. Popieluszko's 90-year-old mother Marianna, his sister, brothers and Walesa were among some 140,000 attending. Amato read Pope Benedict XVI's declaration that made Popieluszko blessed for his martyrdom in giving his life to defend good.

The 21/2-hour Mass was followed by a three-hour procession of his remains — referred to as relics — encased in a small silver reliquary to a new church of God's Providence in southern Warsaw. Popieluszko's grave remains in the yard of St. Stanislas Church, where he gave riveting sermons during a time of harsh repression under martial law.

maryland

Columnist's speech canceled over flap

A graduation speech by veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas on June 14 at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda has been canceled because of controversial remarks she made about Israel. Thomas, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, issued an apology on her website Friday for comments captured on video by an interviewer for rabbilive.com. On the video dated May 27, Thomas says Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine," suggesting they go to Germany, Poland or the U.S.

russia

Mine blast study says officials hid fire

An official investigation will show that management at the Raspadskaya coal mine in western Siberia intentionally concealed a fire that had smoldered for days underground before two catastrophic explosions last month, according to Russian news reports. The mine's management did not curtail work despite the danger the fire would ignite when it mixed with methane underground. The twin explosions killed 90 people, including 19 emergency workers who were sent down to rescue miners after the first explosion, and who were trapped by a second blast so powerful it seared and crumbled buildings on the earth's surface.

guatemala

Number of Agatha deaths reaches 172

The death toll from Tropical Storm Agatha has risen to 172. National disaster agency spokesman David de Leon says 101 people are still missing in the country and 148 were injured. The updated toll means at least 205 people in Central America were killed by Agatha, whose heavy rains unleashed floods and mudslides two weekends ago.

long island

Bomb talk delays Florida-bound flight

A man told a flight attendant aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 373 he had a bomb in his carry-on luggage, forcing passengers to deplane at MacArthur Airport while the aircraft was inspected. Draco Slaughter, 75, of Chicago was arrested on a charge of first-degree falsely reporting an incident, Suffolk County police said. The flight from Chicago was making a scheduled stop before leaving for West Palm Beach.

peru

Van der Sloot seeks his own lawyer

Joran van der Sloot will spend all week at criminal police headquarters being questioned in the death of a 21-year-old Lima woman and has asked to be able to hire his own lawyer after being represented by a state-appointed one. The Dutchman, 22, who is also the prime suspect in U.S. teen Natalee Holloway's 2005 disappearance in Aruba, is being held in a seventh-floor cell with a bunk bed and blanket and gets three hot meals a day, said Maj. Jose Gamboa, spokesman for the Peruvian national police. Van der Sloot is suspected in the May 30 killing — five years to the day after Holloway's disappearance — of Stephany Flores, a business student who police say he met playing poker at a casino.

Elsewhere

Australia: Police will investigate whether Google illegally collected private information from wireless networks, making Australia at least the second country to probe the Internet giant's "Street View" mapping service.

Pakistan: A tropical storm lashed the coast, damaging mud houses and submerging roads in Karachi, the country's largest city. Seven people were electrocuted in floodwaters.

Times wires

Church beatifies Pole slain by communists in 1984 06/06/10 [Last modified: Monday, June 7, 2010 1:05am]

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