In brief: Vatican cleric arrested in smuggling inquiry
Vatican City – A Vatican cleric and two other people were arrested Friday by Italian police for allegedly trying to smuggle $26 million in cash into the country from Switzerland by private jet. It’s the latest scandal to hit the Holy See and broadens an Italian probe into its secretive bank.
Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, already under investigation in a purported money-laundering plot involving the Vatican bank, is accused of corruption and slander and was being held at a Rome prison.
Scarano’s arrest came just two days after Pope Francis created a commission of inquiry into the Vatican bank to get to the bottom of the problems that have plagued it for decades.
Syrian rebels capture southern army post
Beirut – Rebels captured a major army post in the southern city of Daraa on Friday after nearly two weeks of intense fighting, as battles raged between troops and opposition forces in the province that borders Jordan, activists said.
Daraa, the provincial capital of a region that carries the same name, is the birthplace of the uprising against President Bashar Assad that started 27 months ago. Rebels hope to one day launch an offensive from the area to take the capital, Damascus.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Islamic militants led by members of the al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front, captured the checkpoint after a two-week siege.