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Vatican recalls envoy from Ireland

VATICAN CITY

Vatican recalls envoy from Ireland

Chafing under extraordinary criticism, the Vatican made the rare move of recalling its ambassador to Ireland on Monday after accusations that the Holy See sabotaged efforts by Catholic bishops to report clerical sex abuse cases to police.

A Vatican spokesman said that Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza was recalled to help prepare an official response to Irish complaints but that the decision "does not exclude some degree of surprise and disappointment at certain excessive reactions."

The spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, acknowledged the recall of an ambassador was a measure rarely used by the Holy See, underlining "the seriousness of the situation."

The deepening crisis follows a July 13 report that the Irish diocese of Cloyne failed to act on complaints against 19 priests from 1996 to 2009.

Washington, D.C.

No FAA funds leads to furloughs, stops work

The Federal Aviation Administration was forced into a partial shutdown Monday after Congress failed to temporarily extend its funding. The agency was ordered to furlough thousands of employees and freeze $2.5 billion in airport construction money.

The nation's air travel network remained unaffected, with air traffic controllers and other employees deemed "essential" ordered to work. But nearly 4,000 of the agency's 32,000 employees were put on abrupt unpaid leave.

Postal Service may be closing more offices

The Postal Service is launching a study of thousands of local post offices for possible closure in an effort to save money.

The cash-strapped agency, which lost $8 billion last year, is expected to announce the action today.

Most of the approximately 3,600 offices that face reviews are in rural areas, but postal official say they are looking into alternate service, such as locating offices in local businesses, town halls or community centers.

Oregon Democrat Wu won't seek re-election

U.S. Rep. David Wu, facing an accusation of an unwanted sexual encounter with an 18-year-old woman and a request for an investigation by the House Ethics Committee, will not seek re-election next year, a spokesman for the Oregon Democrat said Monday.

The spokesman said Wu was also pondering whether he would complete his term.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.

Attack on soldiers brings life sentence

A man who killed one Arkansas soldier and wounded another — an act he called retribution for the deaths of Muslims abroad — took an unexpected plea deal Monday that abruptly ended his murder trial and spared him the death penalty.

Abdulhakim Muhammad was sentenced to life in prison without parole for capital murder, with 11 more life sentences on the remaining charges and an additional 180 years in prison.

TEHRAN

Iran will get $10B to build a gas pipeline

Iran signed a $10 billion deal with Iraq and Syria on Monday for the construction of a gas pipeline that would deliver natural gas from Iran to the two states and to Europe, state media reported.

The construction of the 3,500-mile pipeline is expected be completed in either 2014 or 2016.

The pipeline will eventually have a capacity to pump 110 million cubic meters of natural gas per day.

Elsewhere

Los Angeles: Jurors in the Michael Jackson manslaughter case of Dr. Conrad Murray will not watch previously unseen footage from the singer's final rehearsals to determine the state of his health before his death, a judge ruled Monday.

New York: Nick Davies, the Guardian reporter who spent years investigating phone hacking claims in Rupert Murdoch's media empire, has won a book deal from Faber and Faber Inc.

Israel: Security forces intercepted a boat Monday on the Dead Sea carrying assault rifles and ammunition from Jordan, Israeli authorities said.

Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez said he will pursue his re-election bid next year even as he struggles to overcome cancer.

Washington state: Two unrelated mass shootings within a few hours in two communities south of Seattle wounded at least 20 people, police said.

Times wires

Vatican recalls envoy from Ireland 07/25/11 [Last modified: Monday, July 25, 2011 11:36pm]
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