World briefs – March 9

The Philadelphia archdiocese has suspended 21 priests who were named as child molestation suspects in a scathing grand jury report released last month.

Archdiocese suspends 21 priests named in report

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia archdiocese has suspended 21 priests who were named as child molestation suspects in a scathing grand jury report released last month.

Cardinal Justin Rigali said Tuesday that the priests have been removed from ministry while their cases are reviewed.

The two-year grand jury investigation into priest abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has resulted in charges against two priests, a former priest and a Catholic school teacher. They are accused of raping young boys, while a former high-ranking church official was accused of transferring problem priests to new parishes without warning anyone of prior sex-abuse complaints.


Scores arrested in mob crackdown in Italy, Germany

ROME — Police conducted a major crackdown on the ’ndrangheta crime syndicate Tuesday, arresting scores of suspects in Italy and Germany and seeking more in countries as far away as Canada and Australia.

The cross-border operation shows how the ’ndrangheta, today considered more powerful than the Sicilian Mafia, has extended its reach well beyond its original base in Italy’s southern Calabria region.

Thirty-one suspects were picked up in Italy, Italian police said, mostly in Calabria but also elsewhere in the country, including near Rome. Six suspects, all Italian citizens, were apprehended in Germany on an Italian-issued European arrest warrant, German and Italian officials said.


Taliban car bomb kills 20, wounds 100 in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Taliban detonated a car bomb in Pakistan’s third-largest city on Tuesday, killing 20 and wounding more than 100 people in an attack they said targeted the offices of the country’s main intelligence agency.

The blast in the Punjabi city of Faisalabad underscored the reach of al-Qaida and Taliban in the U.S.-allied nation.

The militants are based in the tribal regions close to Afghanistan, but have been able to tap into extremist networks in the country’s heartland of Punjab and strike there with regularity over the last three years.

The remote-controlled bomb also devastated a gas station and an office of Pakistan’s state airline in the industrial city.


Court upholds Yunus’ dismissal from bank

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A Bangladeshi court upheld on Tuesday the government’s dismissal of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus from the microfinance bank he founded to lift many out of poverty.

Yunus will appeal the ruling to the country’s highest court, the last legal option he has to stay in the post he has held since Grameen Bank’s founding nearly three decades ago. His lawyer Rokanuddin Mahmud said the appeal will be filed Wednesday.

Last week, the central bank ordered Yunus, 71, out of Grameen, saying he was violating the country’s retirement laws.

At that time, Grameen said Yunus would remain in his post while the bank fights the order. But Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said Tuesday that Yunus must step down during the appeals process.


Exxon Mobil wins ruling in oil spill cleanup dispute

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Exxon Mobil Corp. has won a round in a dispute with environmentalists who want more money to clean up oil left on the shoreline of Prince William Sound from the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker spill.

U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland ruled Monday against a request from former University of Alaska marine science professor Rick Steiner. Steiner had filed a motion trying to force the oil company to pay a $92 million claim filed in 2006 by the state and federal governments.

Government lawyers are waiting for studies on the remaining oil and the effectiveness of cleanup techniques before pursuing the claim, the Anchorage Daily News reported Tuesday.

“The court urges the governments and their trustees to proceed with all possible speed to complete studies that are under way and any necessary evaluation which they may require,” Holland wrote.

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