Pope letter details concern over bishop

Pope letter details concern over bishop


The Vatican was so concerned about the fallout from Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest that it planned to ask three Chilean bishops accused of knowing about his decades-long crimes to resign and take a year’s sabbatical – a revelation that comes just days before Pope Francis makes his first visit to Chile as pope.

A confidential 2015 letter from Francis, obtained by The Associated Press, details the behind-the-scenes maneuvering by the Vatican and Chile’s bishops to deal with the prelates connected to the disgraced Rev. Fernando Karadima. And it reveals the bishops’ concern about Francis naming a Karadima protege, Bishop Juan Barros, to the helm of the diocese of Osorno – an appointment that roiled the diocese, with hundreds of priests and lay Catholics staging protests against him.

Those protests are expected to greet Francis during his visit to Chile, which begins Monday.

Ecuador grants nationality to WikiLeaks founder

QUITO, Ecuador

Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after more than five years of living in asylum at the nation’s embassy in London, officials announced Thursday.

Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said officials accepted Assange’s request for naturalization in December, and they continue to look for a long-term resolution to a situation that has vexed officials since 2012.

“What naturalization does is provide the asylum seeker another layer of protection,” Espinosa said.

Ecuador gave Assange asylum after he sought refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden for investigation of sex-related claims.

France’s Macron tries to sway Trump on nuclear accord


French President Emmanuel Macron is trying to play world peacemaker, using a phone call with President Donald Trump to insist on the importance of the Iranian nuclear accord and efforts to calm tensions with North Korea.

Macron’s office said Thursday that Macron stressed to Trump that it’s essential that the Iran deal is “respected by all signatories.” The U.S., France and other powers struck the deal in 2015 to curb Iran’s nuclear activities.

The French leader also called for solidarity among U.N. Security Council members, including the U.S. and France, to “progress toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Lawsuit challenging Alabama’s voter ID law is dismissed


A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s voter ID law that requires people to show government-issued photo identification at the polls.

The Alabama lawsuit was one of the latest battles in the U.S. between voting-rights advocates, who say the measures are aimed at suppressing voter turnout, and conservative states that argue the protections are needed to ensure honest elections.

U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler on Wednesday ruled in favor of the state, saying the provision does not discriminate against minorities and is not an undue infringement on the right to vote since the state makes free IDs available for voting purposes.

Associated Press

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