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Nation/world in brief: Pope to outline abuse case norms

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI will soon issue a document outlining the church’s procedures for handling clerical sex abuse cases that will gather the norms now in use and make them permanent and legally binding, a Vatican official and canon lawyer said Tuesday.

The outline from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been in the works for some time. But its impending publication has taken on new relevance amid the abuse scandal that has roiled the Vatican for months, with hundreds of new cases coming to light of priests who raped and sodomized children, bishops who covered up for them and Vatican officials who turned a blind eye.

The norms concern the canonical procedures for dealing with abusive priests, with penalties as severe as being dismissed from the clerical state. Separately, the Vatican issued informal guidelines earlier this year saying bishops should follow civil reporting laws in terms of reporting abuse to police.

Fewer meth labs, report says

WASHINGTON – Illegal meth labs have become scarcer and their federally funded cleanups cheaper, a new report shows.

Since 2006, when Congress passed an anti-methamphetamine measure, the number of meth lab cleanups nationwide “has decreased significantly,” auditors found. Investigators attribute the decline to the law that made it harder to buy key chemicals used in illicit drug production.

“DEA officials attribute the decrease in cleanups … to the passage of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005, which imposed significant restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine to methamphetamine manufacturers,” inspector general auditors noted.

The report, however, doesn’t indicate whether meth use has declined in the U.S.

Roadside bomb kills 3 U.S. troops

KABUL, Afghanistan – The international force in Afghanistan says three American troops have been killed by a roadside bomb in the violence-wracked south.

A NATO statement said two troops died immediately after the blast Tuesday. A third died later that day. NATO said all three were Americans but gave no other details.

Southern Afghanistan is one of the Taliban’s strongest areas of influence. Violence there is increasing as thousands of American soldiers arrive to try to establish Afghan government control.

Roadside bombs are a leading cause of casualties in Afghanistan. Last month was the deadliest for international forces in the nearly 9-year-old war, with 103 killed, including 60 Americans.

Drug suspect held; Chavez to help U.S.

CARACAS, Venezuela – The last remaining fugitive capo of Colombia’s Norte del Valle drug cartel has been captured in Venezuela and will be extradited to the United States, President Hugo Chavez announced Tuesday.

Carlos Alberto “Beto” Renteria, 65, was arrested Monday after he traveled to Venezuela’s Margarita Island, Chavez said during a speech. He provided no further details.

The United States has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Renteria, whose cartel is accused in a 2004 U.S. indictment of shipping some 500 metric tons of cocaine to the U.S. beginning in 1990.

Chavez said Renteria could be extradited as soon as today.

Renteria is the second major Colombian drug trafficker wanted by U.S. authorities to be caught in Venezuela within the last month. Authorities arrested Luis Frank Tello on June 24.


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