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Saturday, Aug 23rd

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Irish attempts to grapple with abuse frustrated by Rome

Rome consistently tripped up the Irish church as it attempted to come to grips with the issue of clerical child sex abuse, and Cardinal Hummes – who is taking part in this week’s discussions with Pope Benedict XVI, his senior curial colleagues and 24 Irish bishops – is uniquely placed to understand just how.

He is prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy which refused to give recognition to child protection guidelines introduced by the Irish bishops in their 1996 Framework Document and again in their updated 2005 Our Children, Our Church document.

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Israel upholds legality of Jews-only housing complex in Jaffa

The Tel Aviv District Court rejected a petition this week against a decision to lease land in Jaffa's Ajami neighborhood for the exclusive use of members of the religious Zionist community.

The petitioners said the decision was discriminatory, because it would exclude anyone other than members of the religious Zionist community from purchasing an apartment in the complex, which is situated in a neighborhood where a majority of the residents are Arab. This is especially unfair given the shortage of available housing in the neighborhood, they argued.

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TVNL Comment: Why is Israel referred to as a democracy rather than a theocracy? Just asking....

French Government Queries US re 50s Secret LSD Experiment

A major diplomatic and political scandal is erupting that could have significant import for French-American relations. It involves new research into the mysterious outbreak of "mass insanity" in a village in southern France that affected some 500 people and resulted in five deaths.

According to reliable US sources, the US State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research has been given a confidential inquiry from the office of Erard Corbin de Mangoux, head of the French intelligence agency DSGE (Directorate General for External Security). According to the report the inquiry regards a recently-published account of U.S. government complicity in a mysterious 1951 incident of mass insanity in France in the village of Pont-Saint-Esprit in southern France.

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Swiss court awards Haiti funds to Baby Doc Duvalier

At least $4.6m (£2.9m) in Swiss bank accounts must be returned to the family of Haiti's former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, a Swiss court has ruled. The exile, known as Baby Doc, allegedly looted millions.

A lower court had previously awarded charities the money - but that decision was overturned on 12 January and the ruling released on 3 February.

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Haaretz: World isn't buying Israel's explanations anymore

There is one little problem: The world isn't buying Israel's explanations and it isn't prepared to condemn Palestinian obduracy. Obama has split the blame for the stagnation between the two sides and has also taken some of it upon himself ("We raised expectations").

American envoy George Mitchell's appeal to the members of the Quartet that they urge Abbas to return to talks, has gone unanswered. This week he completed another frustrating visit to the region, with zero results.

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Holocaust remembrance is a boon for Israeli propaganda

Wednesday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and an Israeli public relations drive like this hasn't been seen for ages. The timing of the unusual effort - never have so many ministers deployed across the globe - is not coincidental: When the world is talking Goldstone, we talk Holocaust, as if out to blur the impression. When the world talks occupation, we'll talk Iran as if we wanted them to forget.

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Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel will never quit settlements

Benjamin Netanyahu said the Jewish settlements blocs would always remain part of the state of Israel.

"Our message is clear: We are planting here, we will stay here, we will build here. This place will be an inseparable part of Israel for eternity", the prime minister said.

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