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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

NY Archbishop ‘Protected’ $57 million from Abuse Victims

Many Catholics have regarded Cardinal Timothy Dolan, current archbishop of New York, as part of the solution as he compassionately sought to turn a corner in the scandal. Over 6,000 pages of documents released on Monday by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, however, reveal his role in safeguarding the church’s assets as well as trying both to convince abusive priests to quit and to urge the Vatican to streamline its dismissal process. In one of the documents, he asks permission from the Vatican to move $57 million into a cemetery trust fund to protect the church’s assets from the church’s victims. The note explains his rationale, saying, “I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.” The Vatican approved the request in five weeks; it took them up to five years to dismiss abusers from the priesthood. The released documents also included the personnel files of 42 clergy offenders with “substantiated” allegations from the past 80 years. Advocates have noted that the released documents are incomplete and omit the files of many  who had been accused of abuse.

Egyptian Army Might Suspend Constitution, Dissolve Parliament

If President Mohamed Morsi does not strike a power-sharing agreement with the liberal opposition coalition by Wednesday, the Egyptian army has said it will push him aside and suspend the Islamist-backed constitution. The army says it has drawn up a plan that involved installing an interim council of civilians and technocrats from all political factions, headed by Egypt’s chief justice, to draft a new constitution. Once the constitution has been agreed upon, new presidential elections would be held. Morsi rebuffed the ultimatum on Tuesday, but it is not clear what the army plans to do should he not step down by the Wednesday, 5pm deadline (1am EDT). Anti-Morsi protesters clashed with Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers and hard-line Islamists, whose leaders called upon them to support the president. As happened while ousting Mubarak, a new wave of sexual assaults by groups of men is on the rise; a group formed to protect women in Tahrir Square said it recorded 46 attempts on Sunday alone.

Prosecution Presents Evidence for ‘Aiding the Enemy’ at Bradley Manning Trial

Seeking to bolster the charges of ‘aiding the enemy’ against Private Bradley Manning, prosecutors presented the judge with evidence that members of al-Qaeda had read the material Manning leaked and recommended that their followers do so as well. It also presented the proof that Osama Bin Laden had asked for and received the WikiLeaks cables. Some of the recommendations by al-Qaeda operatives were published in “Inspire,” its English-language magazine, months after Manning had been arrested. To find him guilty of this charge, which is the most serious, the prosecution will have to prove that Manning gave evidence to WikiLeaks without permission, knowing that it would be published online and seen by al-Qaeda. They must also prove he did so with malicious intent. Manning has said he leaked the war logs to raise awareness of “the true costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Thousands of Refugees Stranded on Syria’s Borders

As neighboring countries close their borders, tens of thousands of Syrians attempting to flee the civil war find themselves stranded within the country’s dangerous frontier regions. Human Rights Watch called on Turkey, Jordan and Iraq to stop restricting refugees’ ability to escape the violence that is plaguing Syria, warning that doing so essentially creates “an open-air prison.” Syria’s border regions are conflict-ridden and the towns that dot them have been subjected to air strikes by the government and retaliation by the rebels. As the Assad regime’s forces increased the shelling of Homs, one of Syria’s largest cities, rebels threatened to retaliate by targeting two Shi’ite villages that border Aleppo, reflecting the increasing sectarian tone of the civil war.

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