VATICAN: Pope Francis said yesterday he had reliable data showing that “about 2 per cent” of Catholic clergy are paedophiles.
He vowed to “confront it with the severity it demands” in an interview with Italian daily La Repubblica.
The pontiff was quoted as saying “priests and even bishops and cardinals” were among the 2 per cent, though a Vatican spokesman denied that the current occupier of St Peter’s Chair had said serving cardinals were paedophiles.
YEMEN: President Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi has fired Major Generals Mohammed al-Someli and Mohammed Ali al-Maqdishi, state TV reported at the weekend.
The report did not say why the pair had been sacked, but the news came after Shi’ite Hawthi rebels took the north-eastern city of Amran from conservative Sunnis and a local army unit.
INDIA: Police fired rubber bullets and used batons to disperse hundreds of protesting villagers yesterday after four kidnapped Muslims were found dead.
A faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, which is fighting for an independent Bodo tribal homeland, denied that it was behind the killings.
The Bodo accuse Muslims of illegally entering India from Bangladesh.
SINGAPORE: The National Library Board pulled a children’s book about real-life same-sex penguin parents from the shelves at the weekend after claiming it offended family values.
As well as And Tango Makes Three, the board banned The White Swan Express, which sees a lesbian couple adopt, and Who’s In My Family, which teaches children about single and same-sex parent families.
Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said the board’s approach was to “reflect existing social norms and not to challenge or seek to change them.”
IRAQ: Gunmen stormed two buildings in Zayouna, eastern Baghdad, on Saturday night, killing at least 29 people — 20 of them women, officials said yesterday.
The two buildings were reportedly brothels and writing on the door of one said: “This is the fate of any prostitution,” according to news agency AFP.
Locals in Zayouna, a mixed Sunni and Shi’ite neighbourhood, have accused Shi’ite militas of killing women thought to be prostitutes.
IRAN: Eight Facebook page admins have been jailed for between eight and 21 years, state media agency IRNA reported yesterday.
The report said the verdict was handed down in April following several court appearances.
Facebook is officially banned in Iran.
SYRIA: Heavy fighting was reported yesterday between Kurdish fighters and jihadist forces in the north of the country.
Isis fighters from the self-declared caliphate have stepped up attacks after capturing weapons from government forces in neighbouring Iraq.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Islamists had captured 12 Kurdish fighters.
UNITED STATES: Bizarre religious zealots sent a plane carrying banners aimed at rehabilitating the swastika over a number of US beaches at the weekend.
The banner, from the International Raelian Movement, featured a Star of David with a swastika superimposed over it and the equation in symbols: “Swastika plus CND peace sign equals love.”
The group, which believes extraterrestrial scientists created life on Earth, wants to promote the swastika’s pre-nazi meaning of peace.
Residents of Brighton Beach in New York were particularly appalled, citing the areas high concentration of holocaust survivors and their descendants.