World Briefs: Pope to meet abuse victims

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ROME -- Pope Francis says he plans to meet soon with abuse victims to underscore the Vatican's determination to "move forward" with "zero tolerance" toward clergy accused of abusing minors.

In an off-the-cuff news conference on his plane as he returned from the Holy Land on Monday, the pope also said the Vatican was investigating three bishops over sexual abuse allegations and had found one guilty.

But Joelle Casteix, western regional director of a victims' organization, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said in a statement that Pope Francis' personal overture to victims would change nothing and would allow vulnerable children to remain at risk.

India-Pakistani accord

NEW DELHI -- Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hailed his meeting with Indian counterpart Narendra Modi as a "historic opportunity" and said he's ready for talks on all topics to overcome years of mistrust.

The meeting marks a fresh start for the nuclear-armed neighbors, who have fought three wars since the British carved up South Asia in 1947.

Thai coup critic arrested

BANGKOK -- Thai soldiers arrested a former education minister as he was being interviewed in Bangkok by foreign reporters after he emerged from hiding to criticize last week's coup.

Chaturon Chaisang, a member of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's cabinet, was answering questions at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand yesterday when soldiers arrived and took him into custody. Mr. Chaturon had defied an order to report to the junta and said the coup won't solve Thailand's political conflict.

A birth on death row

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- A pregnant Sudanese woman sentenced to death after refusing to renounce her Christian faith in favor of Islam gave birth in prison Tuesday.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, gave birth to a girl early Tuesday in the hospital wing of a prison in Omdurman, the twin city of Sudan's capital, Khartoum.

Under Sudanese law, a pregnant woman can't be executed until giving birth and raising the child for two years, according to Amnesty Internation, which has protested her incarceration.

Inspectors attacked

DAMASCUS, Syria -- A convoy of chemical weapons inspectors came under attack Tuesday while traveling to the site of a suspected chlorine gas attack in Syria, but all staff members were safe, the international watchdog agency said.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been working with the United Nations to oversee the destruction of the Syrian government's stockpiles since September 2013, when President Bashar Assad's administration acknowledged having chemical weapons and agreed to give them up to avoid the threat of U.S. military strikes.

Hunger-striking detainees

JERUSALEM -- Israel hospitalized 40 hunger-striking Palestinian detainees this week as their fast entered a second month, the spokeswoman of Israel's Prison Authority said Tuesday. In all, some 240 detainees are currently on a hunger strike.

The prisoners demand their release and the halt of open-ended "administrative detention," which allows Israel to hold people without charge or trial. Over the years, virtually all administrative detainees were Palestinians.

-- Compiled from news services


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