An election victory for Pakistan’s Sharif
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looked poised Sunday to return to office with a resounding election victory — a mandate that could make it easier to tackle the country’s daunting problems, including growing power outages, weak economic growth and shaky government finances.
Questions remain about Sharif’s stance on another key issue: violent Islamic extremism. Critics have accused his party of being soft on radicals because it hasn’t cracked down on militant groups in its stronghold of Punjab province.
That could be a concern for the U.S., which has pushed Pakistan for years to take stronger action against a variety of Islamic militant groups.
Turkey says it won’t be drawn into war
Turkey’s prime minister vowed Sunday his country won’t be drawn into Syria’s civil war, despite twin car bombings the government believes were carried out by a group of Turks with close ties to pro-government groups in Syria.
The bombings left 46 people dead and marked the biggest incident of violence across the border since the start of Syria’s bloody civil war, raising fears of Turkey being pulled deeper into a conflict that threatens to destabilize the region.
Syria has rejected allegations it was behind the attacks. Turkish authorities said Sunday they had detained nine Turkish citizens with links to the Syrian intelligence agency in connection with the bombings.
Pope Francis gives church new saints
Pope Francis on Sunday gave the Catholic Church new saints, including hundreds of 15th-century martyrs who were beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, as he led his first canonization ceremony Sunday in St. Peter’s Square.
The “Martyrs of Otranto” were 813 Italians who were slain in the southern Italian city in 1480 for defying demands by Turkish invaders who overran the citadel to renounce Christianity.
Their approval for sainthood was decided upon by Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, in a decree read at the ceremony in February where the former pontiff announced his retirement.
Ginsburg: Roe gave opponents a target
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she supports a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, but feels her predecessors’ landmark Roe v. Wade ruling 40 years ago was too sweeping and gave abortion opponents a symbol to target.
Ginsburg, one of the most liberal members of the nation’s high court, spoke Saturday at the University of Chicago Law School. Ever since the decision, she said, momentum has been on abortion opponents’ side, fueling a state-by-state campaign that has placed more restrictions on abortion.
Senator blasts IRS
Republicans said Sunday that the Internal Revenue Service’s heightened scrutiny of conservative political groups was “chilling” and further eroded public trust in government.
Lawmakers said President Barack Obama personally should apologize for targeting tea party organizations and they challenged the tax agency’s blaming of low-level workers. “I just don’t buy that this was a couple of rogue IRS employees,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “After all, groups with ‘progressive’ in their names were not targeted similarly.”