By Aislinn Laing (Reuters) - Two victims of sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic Church priest in Chile launched a fresh attack on the country's bishops on Wednesday, accusing them of failing to reform or learn from the crisis. Juan Carlos Cruz and Jose Andres Murillo, two prominent victims of the abuse who gave evidence of their ordeal to Pope Francis in Rome, said the pontiff had also acted to slowly in handling the crisis. Cruz said the Chilean church's leaders, several of whom face criminal investigation for their roles in allegedly covering up abuse, had failed to follow through on their promises to institute reform. "What we have in Chile is a veritable band of criminal bishops," he said. "After visiting the pope, after everything that's happened, that is happening with civil justice, they have learned nothing." Church officials declined to comment. The Chilean Catholic Church was engulfed by scandal after a visit by the pope in January last year that brought to the surface a string of abuse allegations now being investigated by criminal prosecutors. After initially dismissing some claims, the pope later summoned Chile's bishops to Rome for questioning after a Vatican investigation reported that they had been guilty of "grave negligence" in investigating abuse in the church. The pope has accepted the resignations of seven Chilean bishops, and the country's episcopal conference has vowed to tighten up child protection measures and work more closely with civil authorities to bring abusers to justice. But the archbishop of Santiago, Ricardo Ezzati, remains in his post despite facing abuse cover-up allegations - accusations that he, like most of the Chilean church's senior leadership, denies. Cruz and Murillo, both victims of the now-defrocked father Fernando Karadima, called for a wholesale overhaul of Chile's church leadership. Murillo called for "more women and lay church workers" to be made bishops in Chile. Cruz said he believed the pope's efforts to uncover abuse in the church were being hampered by powerful forces around him. "I believe the pope's apology to us was sincere, and I think he is trying with all his heart but not with the speed that the severity of these issues deserves," Cruz said. "It is so much that the pope needs help and people to support him. What has struck me is the number of people working against him in his close circle." (Reporting by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
- Yahoo News
Black National Guardsman describes being deployed to protect Biden’s inauguration: 'I just felt this huge sense of pride'
As most of the 25,000 National Guardsmen who were called upon to protect Washington, D.C., during the presidential inauguration began heading home this week, one Black service member agreed to speak to Yahoo News about the experience of protecting the nation’s capital in the wake of a pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill.
- The Independent
Mike Pence is homeless after leaving office and ‘couch-surfing’ with Indiana politicians, report says
Mike Pence has been residing in public housing for the past eight years
- The Telegraph
Russian authorities offer contradictory explanations for Kremlin-like security at alleged ‘Putin’s palace’
Russia’s top security agencies have offered contradictory explanations for heightened security measures around a billion-dollar property on the Black Sea, dubbed “Putin’s palace" by opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Faced with over 95 million views of Mr Navalny’s YouTube investigation into the residence, President Vladimir Putin had to issue a denial on Monday, insisting that neither he, nor his family own the property whose very existence enraged millions of Russia. Angry protests spread across the country’s 11 time zones on Saturday in response to the allegations about Mr Putin’s lavish lifestyle as well as the arrest of Mr Navalny who was locked up for violating the terms of his suspended sentence. The day after the politician was jailed, Mr Navalny’s team published the investigation into the property which detailed a web of its obscure owners as well President Putin’s close friends and relatives who have allegedly been pumping money into its construction and maintenance. The property, believed to be Russia’s largest private home, boasts a casino, private theatre and even a smoking room with a stripper pole. The waters along the coast are off limits for fishermen and the Kremlin security service, FSO, is known to be issuing permits for anyone wanting to get close, which has been seen as the ultimate evidence that President Putin does use the palace. Floor plans of the palace as well as rare photographs and 3D visualisations showing its opulent interior have become the butt of jokes and given rise to countless parodies and internet memes. Russian news outlet RBC on Wednesday quoted a statement from the country’s main intelligence agency FSB, explaining that it had to close the airspace over the property due to “growing spying activities of a number of neighbouring countries including NATO members.” The FSB, however, failed to comment on the fact that the no-fly zone was first established there in 2011. Separately, the FSO, whose job is to provide security to Russia’s top officials including the president, on Wednesday, denied that there are any facilities in the area under its protection.
The president's views on some hot-button social issues have led to clashes with US Catholic hierarchy.
- Associated Press
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday criticized Iran's hard-liner dominated judiciary over last week's prosecution of the countrys telecommunications minister. Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi was released on bail after he was summoned for prosecution. Judiciary officials cited his refusal to block Instagram and impose limitations on the bandwidth of other foreign social media and messaging systems.
China said on Wednesday it was seeking details about 25 of its nationals who were among 61 crew on two supertankers seized by Indonesia on suspicion of illegally transferring oil. Indonesia said on Sunday it had seized the vessels after they were detected making the transfer from Iranian-flagged MT Horse to Panamanian-flagged MT Freya, causing an oil spill. The Indonesian authorities said the seizure was not related to U.S. sanctions, which Washington imposed in a bid to shut off Iran's oil exports in a dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Telegraph
Joe Biden challenged Vladimir Putin over the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, and reports of Russian bounties on the heads of US soldiers in Afghanistan, in their first presidential phone call. Mr Biden also raised concerns about Russian "aggression" against Ukraine, and reaffirmed Washington's "strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty." The US president said he was willing to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty for five years. Kremlin officials said documents had been exchanged to extend the pact. Mr Biden also raised concerns over Russian cyber hacking, interference in US elections, and treatment of peaceful protesters. Mr Biden made clear he would "act firmly in defence of our national interest in response to malign actions by Russia," the White House said. The Kremlin said Mr Putin told Mr Biden that he supports "normalisation" of relations between their two countries. Mr Putin "noted that the normalisation of relations between Russia and the United States" would benefit "the entire international community," the Kremlin said.
- Associated Press
A group of U.N experts has criticized Sri Lanka's requirement that those who die of COVID-19 be cremated, even it goes against a family's religious beliefs, and warned that decisions based on “discrimination and aggressive nationalism” could incite hatred and violence. The experts, who are part of the Special Procedures of the U.N Human Rights Council, said in a statement Monday that rule amounts to a human rights violation. “We deplore the implementation of such public health decisions based on discrimination, aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism amounting to persecution of Muslims and other minorities in the country,” the experts said.
AstraZeneca Plc will license Japanese biotechnology company JCR Pharmaceutical, to produce some 90 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to help Japan avoid shortages and delays, the Nikkei newspaper reported. The government in December agreed to buy 120 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University with deliveries to begin in May, the Nikkei said. Officials at JCR Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca's Japan unit were not immediately available for comment outside business hours on Wednesday.
- Los Angeles Times Opinion
Letters to the Editor: Senate GOP's message: If a president incites a coup, do it right before Jan. 20
By attempting to stop Trump's impeachment trial, Senate Republicans send the message that a president cannot be held accountable late in the term.
- National Review
A federal judge in Texas has blocked President Biden’s executive order halting deportations of some illegal immigrants. Biden signed the order halting deportations for 100 days on January 20, several hours after his inauguration, as part of a blitz of executive orders aimed at undoing Trump administration policies. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton subsequently sued the Biden administration to reverse the order, citing an agreement between the Department of Homeland Security and Texas requiring the state’s approval to halt deportations. Judge Drew Tipton of the Southern District of Texas blocked the implementation of Biden’s order on Tuesday for a period of 14 days. Tipton said that the delay was appropriate according to the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946. The news comes after Biden promised to propose legislation during his first 100 days in office providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. On Inauguration Day, Biden signed an executive order to review the public-charge rule, which restricts immigration by applicants who may require government assistance such as food stamps. The president also ordered the Department of Homeland Security to work to safeguard the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
- The Independent
‘There appeared to be no remorse,’ says Calcasieu Parish sheriff Tony Mancus
- Associated Press
Leaders of a protest movement sought Wednesday to distance themselves from a day of violence when thousands of farmers stormed India's historic Red Fort, the most dramatic moment in two months of demonstrations that have grown into a major challenge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. Farmers demanding the repeal of new agricultural laws briefly took over of the 17th-century fort, and images broadcast live on television shocked the nation. In a particularly bold rebuke to Modi’s Hindu-nationalist government, the protesters hoisted a Sikh religious flag.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) will supply Saudi Arabia with 3 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses priced at $5.25 each in about a week on behalf of the British drugmaker, its chief executive told Reuters on Monday. SII has no immediate plans, however, to divert supplies to Europe, even though AstraZeneca has come under pressure from the EU to deliver more shots after announcing a big cut in shipments due to production problems at a Belgian factory. SII, the world's biggest vaccine manufacturer, has partnered with AstraZeneca, the Gates Foundation and the Gavi vaccine alliance to make up to a billion doses for poorer countries.
- Yahoo News Video
Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday against moving forward with former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, making clear a conviction of Trump for “incitement of insurrection” is unlikely.
- The Telegraph
Donald Trump may be out of office, but his legacy is likely to throw a spanner in the works for the Biden revolution. The Democrats control the White House, the House of Representatives and, with the aid of Kamala Harris’s casting vote, the Senate. But it took less than a week for a Trump-appointed judge to slam the brakes on a Biden immigration initiative. US District Judge Drew Tipton issued a restraining order preventing the new administration from enforcing a 100-day moratorium on deportations. His ruling was a foretaste of what is to come over the next few years. Immigration, of course, is one of the biggest areas of contention between the parties. While Donald Trump was in power, the Democrats repeatedly – and often successfully - went to court to block immigration restrictions. Think back to the ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. It was repeatedly knocked back by the courts. It had to be rewritten time and time again before finally getting approved by the Supreme Court. It is hardly surprising that the Republicans will use the courts to delay – and if possible block - the Biden administration where it can.
- Associated Press
A Texas man accused of taking part in the attack on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month while wearing a shirt with a message that stood for “murder the media” was arrested Tuesday, the FBI said. Nicholas DeCarlo, 30, was charged with obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building and parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds, according to a criminal complaint. Investigators say DeCarlo, of Burleson, Texas, was seen in photos smoking a cigarette inside the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Myanmar's army warned on Tuesday it would "take action" if an election dispute was not settled and declined to rule out staging a coup if its demands were not met, just days out from the convening of a new parliament. Military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun told a new conference there may have been fraud in the November contest, which was won in a landslide by Aung San Suu Kyi's National league for Democracy (NLD) party. "We will take action according to the constitution and existing laws if they don't resolve the issue," he said of the election commission, declining to give further details.
- The Independent
Biden tells Fox News reporter he talked to Putin about ‘You’ when asked about his call with Russian president
Leaders reportedly discussed Ukraine tensions, a massive cyberattack and Russia’s poisoned opposition leader