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Pope criticizes same-sex unions

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Rome Pope Benedict XVI condemned same-sex unions as anarchic “pseudo-matrimony” on Monday and reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion.

Benedict repeatedly referred to marriage as a union between man and woman in an address to a conference of the Diocese of Rome on the role of the family held at St. John Lateran basilica.

He said matrimony is not just a “casual sociological construction” that changes in certain times in history but an institution that has roots “in the most profound essence of the human being.”

5.7 quake in Turkey leaves dozens injured

Ankara, Turkey A strong earthquake Monday shook southeastern Turkey, injuring at least 54 people and demolishing homes, officials said.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 5.7, struck in rural Bingol province, 560 miles southeast of Ankara.

Five of the injured were in serious condition while others were treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released.

The quake caused several homes to collapse and damaged at least 63 others in neighboring villages, officials said.

Bus hits land mine in Nepal, killing 25

Kathmandu, Nepal At least 25 people were killed and dozens were injured Monday when a crowded bus detonated a land mine planted by suspected communist rebels in Nepal’s south, officials said.

The bus, on a rural highway, was ripped apart when it drove over the land mine near the village of Badarmude, killing 25 people. At least 36 people were injured, some of them critically.

Badarmude is about 110 miles southwest of Kathmandu.

Police suspect the land mine was planted by Maoist rebels who have fought since 1996 to abolish Nepal’s constitutional monarchy and set up a communist state.

Mexican ex-envoy killed in car crash

Cuernavaca, Mexico Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, Mexico’s former ambassador to the United Nations who was forced out of his job after saying the United States treats Mexico like a “back yard,” died Sunday in a car crash, police said. He was 55.

Aguilar Zinser was a critic of the United States’ unilateral actions in Iraq during his tenure as U.N. ambassador. He left the position in late 2003 after a diplomatic flap touched off by his comments in November 2003.

Aguilar Zinser, Mexico’s national security adviser before his post at the United Nations, later became a critic of Mexican President Fox.

China rebuffs inquiry on Tiananmen action

Beijing China rejected a U.S. appeal to account for prisoners still detained after the 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro- democracy movement.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan on Sunday said China opposes U.S. efforts to use human rights as an excuse to “interfere with other countries’ internal affairs,” state media reported.

A State Department spokesman said Saturday that as many as 250 people were still in prison for Tiananmen-related activities and called on Beijing to account for them.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called on Beijing to “fully account for the thousands killed, detained or missing, and to release those unjustly imprisoned.”

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