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8 hours ago · by · 0 comments

29 Injured In London Subway Bombing

A homemade bomb exploded in a rush-hour subway car injuring 29 people in London on Friday.  Most of those injured suffered flash burns while others were hurt when the blast triggered a stampede.  Police and ambulances were on the scene within minutes and emergency services said none of the injuries were serious or life-threatening.  Britain raised its terrorism threat level to critical — meaning another attack is expected shortly.   The British government is investigating the explosion as a terrorist incident and a manhunt for the perpetrators ensued in what police said was the fourth terrorist attack in the British capital this year.

The bomb went off around 8:20 a.m. as the train was at Parsons Green station in the southwest of the city.  The bomb was hidden in a plastic bucket inside a supermarket freezer bag but it only partially exploded, sparing the city much worse carnage.  Prime Minister Theresa May said the device “was intended to cause significant harm.”  Witnesses describe a loud bang and a massive flash of flames that went up the side of the train, followed by a chemical smell.  As the flames shot up the side of the train chaos ensued as hundreds of people poured from the train.   Others describe a scene of “every man for himself” as people pushed to get out the doors.  Photos taken inside the train showed a white plastic bucket inside a foil-lined shopping bag, with flames and what appeared to be wires emerging from the top.

Trains were suspended along a stretch of the Underground’s District Line, and several homes were evacuated as police set up a 150 foot area around the scene while they secured the device and launched a search for those who planted it.  Hundreds of police investigators, along with agents of MI5 were pouring over surveillance camera footage, carrying out forensic work and interviewing witnesses.

The next day, two suspects were detained over the bombing, an 18-year-old refugee from Iraq and a 21-year old from Syria.  Police searched three addresses, including the house of Penelope and Ronald Jones, of Sunbury.  The couple has been honored by Queen Elizabeth II for fostering more than 200 children, including refugees from Middle Eastern conflicts.  Both of the suspects were fostered by the British couple.

The 18-year-old was detained Saturday at the southeast England port of Dover, a departure point for ferries to France. Later the same day, the 21-year-old man, identified as Yahyah Farroukh, was detained as he left his work shift at a restaurant in Hounslow, West London.  Surveillance footage shows a man near the Sunbury address Friday morning carrying a bag from Lidl supermarket. Images posted on social media following the attack appeared to show wires protruding from a flaming bucket contained in a Lidl bag on the floor of the train carriage.

The threat level was lowered to severe by Sunday and police said the investigation was making rapid progress.  Both men are being held under the Terrorism Act 2000 but neither has been charged.  British authorities say they have foiled 6 terror plots since the since the van and knife attack on Westminster Bridge and Parliament in March, which killed five people. Police and MI5 say that at any given time they are running about 500 counterterrorism investigations involving 3,000 individuals.

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6 days ago · by · 0 comments

Hurricane Irma Predicted To Hit Florida

 

 

Hurricane Irma made its first landfall in the northeast Caribbean early Wednesday after growing into one of the most powerful storms ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean.  The storm is one of three (Irma, Jose and Katia) hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, the first time since 2010 that three active hurricanes have been in the Atlantic.  Jose, in the open Atlantic far to the southeast of Irma, became a hurricane. Katia, in the Gulf of Mexico, also became a hurricane.

Irma has maintained intensity above 180 mph longer than any storm in Atlantic basin history.  Late Wednesday night, Irma’s core was spinning about 85 miles northwest of San Juan, with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph.  In the US Virgin Islands, Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp ordered a 36-hour curfew.

Irma’s core slammed the tiny island of Barbuda before moving over St. Martin and Anguilla and parts of the British Virgin Islands. Its maximum sustained winds of 185 mph were well above the 157 mph threshold of a Category 5 storm.  Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne said that the telecommunications system in Barbuda, where 1,800 people live, was wiped out and cell towers were knocked over.  Both of the island’s hotels were demolished, he added.  There is also no way to land airplanes on the islands, Browne said from Antigua, whose 80,000 people comprise most of the two-island nation’s population.

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said Irma destroyed four of the most solid government buildings on the French-administered portion of nearby St. Martin, an island of about 75,000 people.  Puerto Rico and Storm surge is a concern for the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Central Bahamas (up to 20 feet), as is heavy rain (up to 20 inches in the Virgin Islands, and up to 20 in parts of Puerto Rico).

Computer models show that on Thursday the storm will move very near or over the Turks and Caicos, with catastrophic damage likely. The storm will also pass just north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, bringing hurricane force winds to northern sections of the island, with flooding and mudslides probable.

In the Bahamas, emergency evacuations have been ordered for six southern islands — Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay and Ragged Island.  “This is the largest such evacuation in the history of the country,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.

It’s too early to tell whether it will make landfall on the US mainland but models show it could hit near  Florida’s east coast by late Sunday, and forecasters warn the core still could hit the Florida peninsula.

Emergency management officials are requiring visitors to the Florida Keys to begin evacuations by sunrise Wednesday due to incoming Hurricane Irma; resident evacuations begin 7 p.m. Wednesday.  Floridians should heed any evacuation order, Gov. Rick Scott said. “A storm surge could cover your house. We can rebuild homes — we cannot rebuild your family,” he said.

 

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7 days ago · by · 0 comments

FBI Involved In Investigation of Utah Nurse’s Arrest Over Refusing Blood Draw

 

 

Prosecutors have asked the FBI to assist in an investigation into the rough arrest of a Utah nurse after video of her being dragged screaming from a hospital drew widespread condemnation.  Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill is overseeing a criminal investigation into officers involved in the handcuffing of nurse Alex Wubbels. He is asking for FBI help in part because his office can’t prosecute possible civil rights violations like wrongful arrest.

The incident happened on July 26 but bodycam footage that was released last week sparked national outcry.  That night, a man named William Gray was taken to the hospital after suffering severe injuries from a car crash.  Gray, a reserve police officer with the police department in Rigby, Idaho-who works as a truck driver, had been injured after being in the fiery head on car crash with a truck that was fleeing from Utah State Highway Patrol.

In the video, Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne is seen squaring off against Utah nurse Alex Wubbels, the charge nurse working the night shift on the burn unit at Utah University Hospital.   Wubbels was following hospital protocol and the law when she calmly refused to allow a blood draw on an unconscious patient without consent or a warrant.   She presented the officers with a printout of hospital policy on drawing blood and said their request did not meet the criteria.

Hospital policy specified police needed either a judge’s order or the patient’s consent, or the patient needed to be under arrest, before obtaining a blood sample.  “I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do. That’s all,” Wubbels tells the officers, according to the body camera video.  She put her supervisor on speakerphone who told Payne “You’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse.” “No, we’re done,” Payne said. “We’re done. You’re under arrest.”

Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Payne insisted on drawing the blood, maintaining in his report that he wanted the sample to protect the man rather than prosecute him. He was supported by his supervisor, Lt. James Tracy, who said the nurse could be arrested if she didn’t agree.  The dispute ended with Payne handcuffing Wubbels and dragging her outside while she screamed that she’d done nothing wrong. She was detained for 20 minutes and later released without charge.

Payne, who has worked for the department for over 20 years, and a second unidentified officer were put on full paid administrative leave by Salt Lake City police after the video emerged.  Lt. James Tracy’s actions are also under review.  Payne has also been fired from his part-time job as a paramedic following comments he made on the video about taking transient patients to the hospital as retaliation.

The Rigby Police Department said they hope the incident will be investigated thoroughly and “appropriate action” will be taken.  “The Rigby Police Department would like to thank the nurse involved and hospital staff for standing firm and protecting Officer Gray’s rights as a patient and victim,” “Protecting the rights of others is truly a heroic act.”  “It is important to remember that Officer Gray is the victim in this horrible event, and that at no time was he under any suspicion of wrongdoing,” the statement said, adding that Gray “continues to heal.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help William Gray and his wife with expenses while he recovers at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.  https://www.gofundme.com/BillGray

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Barcelona Terror Attacks

Barcelona Terror Attacks

 

In Barcelona, Spain, 13 people died and over 100 were injured when a van plowed into a pedestrian walkway on La Rambla during a terrorist attack.  The driver of the van then fled on foot, killing a 14th victim during a carjacking while escaping the scene of the van attack.   Two hours later, the attacker then rammed a police barricade, exchanged gunfire with an officer who was injured and fled the scene, later abandoning the car.

Nine hours after the Barcelona attack, five men wearing fake suicide vests, drove into pedestrians in nearby Cambrils, before emerging and attacking people with knives.  One woman was killed and six others injured in this attack. All five attackers were shot by police as they were carrying out the attack.

Police have now connected an explosion that occurred in a house in Alcanar the night before to the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks. The explosion was initially thought to be a gas leak but the investigation revealed the home had over 120 gas canisters inside, which police believe were planned to be used in a larger terror attack.

Police say that the 40-year-old imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty,  thought to be the mastermind of the terrorist cell, accidentally caused the explosion.  The second man police believe was in the house, identified as Youssef Aalla, brother of one of the Cambril attackers- is missing and presumed dead.

In the aftermath, 15 people of nine different nationalities were killed, 13 died during the La Rambla attack, one stabbed during the carjacking and  and one in the Cambrils attack.  Over 100 people from over 34 nations were injured, 15 critically.

The police believe a terrorist cell of twelve members is responsible for the attacks.  Eight of them are dead and four are in police custody. The imam Abdelbaki Es Satty died in the Alcanar gas explosion and Youssef Aalla is believed to have also died in the explosion.

The five attackers killed in Cambrils were identified as Moussa Oukabir, Omar Hychami, El Houssaine Abouyaaqoub, Said Aallaa and Mohamed Hychami.  The man believed to have been the van driver in the Barcelona attack, Younes Abouyaaqoub, was killed by police on August 21st.  Four additional suspects have been detained by police.  The  men arrested are the owner of the car used in the Cambrils attack, the brother of Moussa Oukabir, a 20-year-old who survived the Alcanar explosion and a fourth man.

 

 

 

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4 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Federal Appeals Court Throws Out Blackwater Convictions

 

A federal appeals court has thrown out the prison sentences of former Blackwater contractors who were involved in a 2007 massacre in Nisoor Square in central Baghdad that left 17 civilians dead and 20 injured when they opened fire with machine guns and threw grenades into the crowded public space.   The appeals court ruled three of the contractors could be resentenced, meaning their 30-year prison sentences could be dramatically shortened. A fourth contractor’s murder conviction was thrown out entirely, so he’ll now face a new trial.

The Blackwater guards claimed that the convoy was ambushed and that they fired at the attackers in defense of the convoy. The Iraqi government and Iraqi police investigator Faris Saadi Abdul stated that the killings were unprovoked.  The Iraqi government claimed that as the convoy drew close to Nisour Square, a Kia sedan carrying a woman and her adult son was approaching the square from a distance, driving slowly on the wrong side of the road, ignoring a police officer’s whistle to clear a path for the convoy. The security team fired warning shots and then lethal fire at the Kia. They then set off stun grenades to clear the scene. Iraqi police and Iraqi Army soldiers, mistaking the stun grenades for fragmentation grenades, opened fire at the Blackwater men, to which they returned fire.

The Blackwater guards contend that the Kia continued to approach even when fired upon and after an Iraqi policeman went over to the car, it looked as if the policeman was pushing it.  They feared they were under attack by a car bomb so they fired at the car, killing both occupants as well as the Iraqi policeman.  Iraqi police officers began to fire at the Blackwater men. The guards felt they could not be sure they were dealing with actual police since insurgents often disguise themselves by wearing police uniforms.

A military report appeared to corroborate “the Iraqi government’s contention that Blackwater was at fault.  Blackwater Worldwide’s license to operate in Iraq was temporarily revoked.  An FBI investigation found that, of the 17 Iraqis killed by the guards, at least 14 were shot without cause.

In 2008, the U.S. charged five Blackwater guards with 14 counts of manslaughter, 20 counts of attempted manslaughter and a weapons violation.  On December 31, 2009, a U.S. district judge dismissed all charges on the grounds that the case against the Blackwater guards had been improperly built on testimony given in exchange for immunity.

In 2011, a U.S. federal appeals court reinstated the manslaughter charges against Paul A. Slough, Evan S. Liberty, Dustin L. Heard and Donald W. Ball after closed-door testimony. A fifth guard had his charges dismissed, and a sixth guard -Jeremy Ridgeway pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.

On October 22, 2014, a Federal District Court jury convicted Nick Slatten of first-degree murder and sentenced him to life in prison.  Three other guards Paul A.Slough, Evan S. Liberty and Dustin L.Heard were found guilty of all three counts of voluntary manslaughter and using a machine gun to commit a violent crime.  They were each sentenced to 30 years in prison.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit tossed Slatten’s murder conviction and ordered the other defendants to be re-sentenced. A new trial was also recommended for Slatten, on the grounds that it was unjustifiable to try him with his co-defendants, and that he should have been tried separately.

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

John Urschel Retires From NFL At 26

Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel has retired from the NFL just before the first full-team practice of training camp.  His decision  came two days after a medical study indicated that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was found in nearly 99 percent of deceased NFL players’ brains that were donated to scientific research.  A team source said that the findings weighed heavy on Urschel’s decision to retire.

The study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that of the 111 NFL players whose brains were studied, 110 of them had signs of CTE, which can lead to memory loss, depression and dementia—often years or even decades after players retire.  Several top names in the game- including Junior Seau, Frank Gifford, John Mackey and Kenny Stabler — were diagnosed with the disease after their deaths.

Coach John Harbaugh said he was surprised when Urschel called him 90 minutes before practice to inform him of his retirement.  “He said he’s going to retire from football, that it was something that’s been on his mind for quite a while and throughout the offseason.”

In August 2015, Urschel suffered a concussion in a helmet-to-helmet collision, which he said “I think it hurt my ability to think well mathematically,” Urschel said. “It took me about three weeks before I was football-ready. It took me a little bit longer before my high-level visualizations ability came back.”

Urschel will now pursue his PhD in Mathematics fulltime at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, focusing on spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra and machine learning.  He had been pursuing it in the offseason prior to his retirement.  Urschel was recently named to Forbes’ “30 under 30” in the field of science. He has published six peer-reviewed mathematics papers to date and has three more ready for review.  According to the Ravens website, Urschel is an expert mathematician who gets straight A’s while also grinding away in the NFL trenches.

Urschel who played on the offensive line for three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, received a $144,560 signing bonus when joining the Ravens in 2014. The bonus prorated at $36,140 per year. With one year left on the contract, Urschel owes the Ravens $36,140 upon retirement.

Urschel released a statement shortly after the announcement.  “Thank you to everyone for the kind words today. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I believe it was the right one for me,” Urschel said in a statement. “There’s no big story here, and I’d appreciate the right to privacy. I’m extremely grateful to the Ravens, and blessed to have been able to play the game I love at the highest level.

It is a great game. There are some games — like the playoff game at Pittsburgh — that I will never forget. I’m excited to start working on my doctorate in mathematics full time at MIT. I’m looking forward to the chance to take courses that are only offered in the fall semester, while spending time with my fiance and preparing myself for the new challenges that will come with fatherhood. We’re expecting our first child in December.”

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Teenage Robotics Team Goes Missing After Competition

Six Burundi teenagers have been reported missing after taking part in an international robotics competition in Washington DC. A police spokesperson said authorities “do not have any indication of foul play” as the investigation continues into what happened after the group attended the FIRST Global Challenge robotics competition with students from 157 nations.

Teams of high school students from more than 150 countries took part in the competition organized by FIRST Global, a U.S.-based non-profit that organized the competition which was designed to encourage careers in math and technology.

Police reports indicated that the four boys and two girls were last seen in the early evening of July 18th in northwest DC after which their adult mentor was unable to locate them. FIRST Global informed the police later that day.  All six members of the robotics team Audrey Mwamikazi, 17, Nice Munezero, 17, Don Charu Ingabire, 16, Kevin Sabumukiza, 17, Richard Irakoze, 18, and Aristide Irambona, 18 reportedly have one-year US visas.

The DC police have said that Ms Mwamikazi and Mr Ingabire are in Canada because they were spotted crossing the border but no details have been released about how they got there or why.  Canada’s Border Services Agency said it could neither confirm nor deny that the pair entered Canada.  DC police also said the other four teenagers seem to be in a safe place, but police are not reporting any further details.

The Republic of Burundi,has a population of 11.2 million people and is a landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region of East Africa.  It is bordered by Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It has been plagued by instability for decades with bouts of ethnic cleansing and ultimately two civil wars and genocides during the 1970s and again in the 1990s left the country undeveloped and its population as one of the world’s poorest.

Burundi continues to experience civil unrest after a failed coup in 2015.  The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning in late June about the African nation, advising Americans of “political tensions, political and criminal violence, and the potential for civil unrest.”  The warning also stated that rebel forces, ex-combatants and youth gangs from the Democratic Republic of Congo reportedly crossed into Burundi and attacked and kidnapped civilians; armed criminals have ambushed vehicles.

There have also been reports of human rights abuses as well. According to the UN, over 300,000 people fled the country since 2014 due to violent gangs from Congo and disappearances and killings allegedly committed by Burundian security forces.

 

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

John McCain Diagnosed With Brain Tumor

Longtime Arizona senator and former presidential candidate John McCain has been diagnosed with primary glioblastoma, a malignant form of brain cancer.  Senator McCain’s office said the diagnosis came after McCain had surgery last week to remove a blood clot above his left eye at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. Lab results from the surgery confirmed the presence of glioblastoma.

McCain is reportedly weighing whether to undergo an aggressive treatment of radiation and chemotherapy, and has not said when he might return to Capitol Hill. Glioblastoma is the most common of all malignant brain tumors, representing 15.4% of all primary brain tumors, according to the American  Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), who estimate there will be over 12,000 cases before the end of 2017.

With the permission of McCain’s family, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke to doctors involved in the senator’s care.  Gupta learned McCain had felt tired over the last few months and had a bout of double vision, but blamed it on his intense travel schedule.  Doctors ordered a CAT scan and an MRI scan of McCain’s brain that revealed the tumor.

The symptoms of glioblastoma are usually a result of increased pressure on the brain.  The ABTA lists headaches, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness as symptoms for the tumor. Depending on where the tumor is, however, weakness on one side of the body, memory and speech difficulties and visual changes can all be developed as a result.

The ABTA labels the prognosis for glioblastoma survival in terms of median survival — the length of time at which an equal number of patients do better and an equal number of patients do worse. Depending on the type of glioblastoma and treatment used, this can range from 14 months to three years.  The association also cites a 2009 study that found 10% of patients with glioblastoma may live five years or longer.  The average survival time for malignant glioblastoma is around 14 months with treatment.

There is no specific treatment used for glioblastoma but there are a few different approaches doctors can take.   Gupta said “This is a malignant cancer, what that means in this case is that you operate on this,” “It needs to be treated as well with chemotherapy and radiation.”

When a cancer is malignant, cells are dividing uncontrollably and can invade nearby tissues. The cancer cells may also spread to other parts of the body through the blood stream or lymph system in the body.  Gupta added because of the nature of the tumor, McCain will likely need more procedures in the coming weeks.  “The concern is that it will come back. That’s the big concern with these types of tumors,” he said. “In order to try to give him the best chance at that, it is likely he’ll undergo further treatments over the next several days.”

McCain’s cancer is the same form that claimed the lives of Senator Ted Kennedy and Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden.   This is not McCain’s first battle with cancer; in 2000 he underwent a procedure to remove a type of skin cancer called melanoma from the left side of his face.  McCain, 80, also had a melanoma removed from his left arm in 2000 and another removed from his nose in 2002. Both were determined to be the least dangerous types of melanoma.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Turkey Extends State of Emergency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has extended the state of emergency for another three months.  The extension followed weekend ceremonies to commemorate the first anniversary of the failed military coup in which around 250 people, mostly unarmed civilians, were killed.  Anniversary celebrations came a week after the leader of the main opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, ended a nearly 280-mile “March for Justice” from Ankara to Istanbul by holding a rally attended by more than a million people calling for an end to emergency rule and injustice.

President Erdogan vowed to continue the brutal crackdown against activists, journalists, teachers and opposition lawmakers.  He also called for the reinstatement of the death penalty in Turkey.  Since emergency rule was imposed on July 20 last year, more than 50,000 people have been arrested and 150,000 people have been suspended in a crackdown which Erdogan’s opponents say has pushed Turkey on a path to greater authoritarianism.

Speaking at parliament, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said the emergency rule had helped created the necessary legal environment to cleanse the state of Gulen’s network. The Turkish government says it is necessary to root out supporters of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who is believed to be behind the coup attempt. Gulen has denied any involvement.

Since the failed coup where Turkish military forces tried to overthrow the government, the Turkish government has taken what some say are controversial steps to strengthen its power.   In March, the Jurist Report was published by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  The report describes a plethora of human rights violations committed by the Turkish government between July 2015 and December 2016.

The same month the report was published, around 330 individuals were put on trial for alleged involvement in an attempted coup.  In November Turkey significantly restricted the activities of NGOs like human rights organizations and children’s groups and arrested opposition party leaders alleging they were connected to terror organizations.  Earlier this month the Turkish Parliament elected seven new members to the country’s 13-member Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) in an overnight vote.

Ten human rights activists, including Amnesty International Turkey director Idil Eser, were in court to face terrorism related charges.  The targeting of human rights defenders and similar earlier crackdowns on lawyers and associations raises the question of who will be left to defend the tens of thousands of people caught up in the post-coup purge.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Cardinal George Pell Facing Decades Old Sexual Assault Charges

A senior cardinal and top adviser to Pope Francis will return to Australia to face charges of sexual assault. Cardinal George Pell is the third-highest-ranking official in the Roman Catholic Church.  Pell was charged in his native Australia with multiple counts of sexual assault from years ago.

The charges against Pell were announced in Melbourne by Victoria State Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton.  Pell was ordered to appear in court July 26 to face multiple counts of “historical sexual assault offenses”.  Patton said there are multiple complainants against Pell, but he gave no other details.

It is unclear what the criminal charges against Pell involve, but two men, now in their 40s, have said that Pell touched them inappropriately at a swimming pool in the late 1970s, when Pell was a senior priest in Melbourne.

In 2014, the Vatican admitted nearly 850 priests have been dismissed and more than 2,500 have been disciplined in a sprawling sexual abuse scandal dating back decades.  Cardinal Pell said Pope Francis granted him a leave of absence to return to Australia to defend himself.  The 76-year-old Pell — the highest-ranking Vatican official ever implicated in the scandal and has forcefully denied the accusations.

In a statement read to the press, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the Vatican respected Australia’s justice system but recalled that the cardinal had “openly and repeatedly condemned as immoral and intolerable” acts of sexual abuse against minors.  He noted Pell’s cooperation with Australia’s Royal Commission investigation of sex abuse and that as a bishop in Australia, he worked to protect children and compensate victims.

Pell’s actions as archbishop came under scrutiny in recent years by a government-authorized investigation into how the Catholic Church and other institutions have responded to the sexual abuse of children. The Royal Commission revealed that 7 percent of priests were accused of sexually abusing children in the past several decades.

Last year, Pell testified to the commission that the church had made “enormous mistakes” in allowing thousands of children to be raped and molested by priests. He conceded that he, too, had erred by often believing the priests over victims who alleged abuse. He vowed to help end a rash of suicides that has plagued church abuse victims in his hometown of Ballarat.

It was unclear if Pell would face a church trial stemming from the accusations. The Vatican has clear guidelines about initiating a canonical investigation if there is a semblance of truth to sex abuse accusations against a cleric. In the case of a cardinal, it would fall to Francis himself to judge. Penalties for a guilty verdict in a church trial include defrocking.

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