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Nation in brief: Union head urges continued fight

From Wire Reports

PITTSBURGH – John Sweeney, stepping down after 14 years at the helm of the AFL-CIO, urged union leaders Sunday to keep up the fight to reform health care and overhaul labor laws so workers can form unions more easily.

“We’re on the cusp of the greatest advance in labor law reform in 70 years, but we’re taking heavy fire from the corporate captains of deceit,” Sweeney told union members at the federation’s convention.

He said efforts to pass health care legislation have been met with “a firestorm of meanness, stoked by politicians playing on fear, racism, nativism and greed.”

Sweeney’s longtime deputy, Richard Trumka, is expected to be named AFL-CIO president on Wednesday.

Two who alleged priest abuse settle

PUEBLO, Colo. – Two Colorado men who filed lawsuits alleging they were sexually abused by a former priest have reached settlements with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pueblo, a diocese official has said.

Monsignor Mark Plewka confirmed the settlements.

One man alleged Andrew Burke abused him during the 1970s. The lawsuits accused Burke of establishing a similar relationship with the man’s nephew.

The man had sought $1.8 million from the diocese and the release of Burke’s personnel file. Terms of the settlements weren’t disclosed, but Burke’s file was not released. Burke left the priesthood in 1973. He committed suicide in September 2005 at age 62.

Suspected 14-time bank robber nabbed

KINGDOM CITY, Mo. – A man suspected of robbing 14 banks in six states has been captured in Missouri after a former state trooper recognized him from media reports, authorities said.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Sunday that Chad E. Schaffner was arrested Saturday in Kingdom City, about 25 miles east of Columbia.

The 37-year-old Indianapolis man was wanted on felony warrants for bank robbery, burglary, armed robbery and receiving stolen property. He is suspected of robbing banks in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North and South Carolina and Tennessee.

Sgt. Paul Reinsch of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the former trooper is from the St. Louis area and had seen the suspect’s picture on the evening news after a bank robbery in nearby Caseyville, Ill. He also had seen the suspect profiled on the television show “America’s Most Wanted.”

Authorities said Schaffner was arrested without incident and is jailed without bond in Callaway County.

Schaffner was identified as a suspect within 24 hours of bank surveillance photos popping up on electronic highway signs in eight states.

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