Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

U.S. and Pakistan hint at Afghan supply route deal

WASHINGTON

U.S., Pakistan hint of supply deal

U.S. and Pakistani officials voiced cautious optimism Monday that a deal to reopen NATO's supply routes into neighboring Afghanistan was near, a move that would end a seven-month stalemate between the two countries.

Previous predictions of an imminent agreement have not been borne out, and officials from both countries declined Monday to discuss details of what might be in the works, as if not to jinx this latest effort.

Over the weekend, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called to congratulate Pakistan's new prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, and brought up the supply routes. And Monday, Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides visited Islamabad to discuss the routes.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.

Paterno family says release all records

Joe Paterno's family on Monday called on Pennsylvania's attorney general and former FBI director Louis Freeh to release all emails and records related to their investigations into the Penn State child sex-abuse scandal, saying a leaker or leakers have used selective emails to "smear" the late coach and university officials. Freeh is leading the school's internal investigation.

News reports have focused on leaked emails between administrators about graduate assistant Mike McQueary's 2001 account of an encounter between former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and a boy in the showers. CNN reported that one email outlined a change in plans among administrators after athletic director Tim Curley spoke to Paterno.

washington

Concern about climate change declines

Climate change no longer ranks first on the list of what Americans see as the world's biggest environmental problem, according to a new Washington Post-Stanford University poll.

Just 18 percent of those polled name it as their top environmental concern. That compares with 33 percent who said so in 2007, amid publicity about a major U.N. climate report and Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary about global warming. Today, 27 percent identify water and air pollution as the world's most pressing environmental issue.

The poll, conducted by phone between June 13 and 21, included 804 adults nationwide and has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

vatican city

Pope appoints head of doctrinal office

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a fellow German theologian, Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, to lead the Vatican's doctrinal office, which is responsible for enforcing orthodoxy, the Vatican said in a statement Monday.

As the prefect of the office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Mueller, 64, of Regensburg, Germany, will also oversee a continuing investigation of the social justice work of nuns in the United States as well as the handling of clerical sexual abuse cases. He was simultaneously promoted to archbishop.

He replaces Cardinal William Levada, 76, the highest-ranking American in the Vatican hierarchy, who is retiring after having served in that post since 2005. On his watch, the Congregation issued a scathing rebuke of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the central coordinating group of American nuns, and contended with a resurgence of accusations of clerical sexual abuse in 2010.

Russia

Bill would limit aid to foreign nonprofits

In the latest move to rein in dissent, Russian authorities have introduced a draft law that would require nonprofit groups that receive financing from outside Russia to publicly declare themselves "foreign agents" — a term that, to Russians, evokes Cold War-era espionage and is likely to discredit the organizations' work in the eyes of the public.

Lawmakers from United Russia, the governing party, have accelerated work on the bill and are scheduling the first of three readings on Friday. If passed, the bill would complement a new law penalizing Russians for taking part in unauthorized protests.

Elsewhere

Afghanistan: The three NATO service members who were killed Sunday in southern Afghanistan by a man dressed in the uniform of the country's police force were British troops, Britain's Defense Ministry said Monday.

UNITED NATIONS: North Korea continues to violate U.N. sanctions by attempting to ship arms to Syria and Myanmar and illegally importing luxury goods, according to a long-awaited report by a U.N. experts panel.

Japan: The unpopular government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda suffered another setback Monday when the largest faction of his Democratic Party quit over a proposed tax increase, leaving the party barely in control of parliament's lower house.

Times wires

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