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Pope likens paedophilia inside church to 'leprosy'
by One News

Pope Francis has reportedly revealed that one in every fifty Catholic priests is a paedophile.

The pontiff was quoted as saying that advisors had told him that reliable figures show that "paedophilia inside the church is at the level of two per cent".

The Pope reportedly told Italian newspaper la Repubblica that abuse of children was like "leprosy" infecting the Church.

Francis said the "corruption of a child is the terrible and unclean thing imaginable" and vowed to "confront it with the seriousness it demands".

He said that paedophilia was unfortunately common and widespread.

"The church is fighting for the eradication of the habit and for education that rehabilitates. But this leprosy is also present in our house," he was reported to have said.

"Many of my colleagues who are working against it tell me that paedophilia inside the church is at the level of two per cent. Among the two per cent who are paedophiles are priests and even bishops and cardinals."

Many more are guilty of covering it up by keeping quiet, he said, adding, "This state of affairs is intolerable and it's my intention to tackle it with the severity it deserves".

According to the Daily Mail, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the newspaper's overall message was faithful to Francis' words, saying it "captured the spirit" of the conversation.

But he denied that Francis had said that there were some cardinals who were paedophiles.

Last week Francis issued his strongest words on the subject begging for forgiveness for the "sacrilegious" crimes committed by "the sons and daughters of the church who have betrayed their mission".

European Union Juggles Its Problem Children
NY Times

ROME ó NATOíS first secretary general, Gen. Hastings Ismay, once said that the Western defense alliance was created ďto keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down.Ē

The task facing the European Union now might be similarly described: to keep the British in, the Russians out and the Germans down.

Prime Minister David Cameronís demand to redraw Britainís relationship with the European Union and put the result to a referendum in 2017 means that the next few years are bound to be dogged by haggling over the powers of Brussels and ways for London to opt out of the unionís constraints.

Britain has the third-largest economy in Europe, behind those of Germany and France, and is the regionís financial hub. If it were to leave the bloc, the European Unionís global standing would take a hit. But thatís not all ó Britainís pulling out of the union would also have consequences for the country itself.

The confrontation last month between Britain and other European Union members over the nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker for president of the European Commission gave a taste of the kind of disputes to come if Mr. Cameron is re-elected next year.

Under fierce pressure from euro-skeptics at home, the British leader risks overplaying his hand by misreading and alienating his main allies, as he did with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, over Mr. Juncker.

Exasperated by 40 years of Britainís hardball tactics in blocking European efforts to adopt a more federal structure, many European leaders are tempted to cut Britain loose.

Yet keeping Britain in the bloc, provided the country does not obstruct closer economic and political integration in the euro zone, remains preferable.

Russia is another matter entirely. Russiaís annexation of Crimea and its decision to cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine and destabilize the countryís east have made it urgent for Europe to cut its dependency on Russian gas.

Officials in Brussels fear Moscow may do more to economically punish Ukraine and other ex-Soviet republics like Georgia and Moldova for signing trade and cooperation pacts with the European Union.

Member states differ on how far to go in sanctioning Russia, whether to give Ukraine a long-term path to membership and what incentives to offer Moscow for changing course.

The Germans are reluctant to jeopardize their energy and trade interests, the French to cancel the sale of helicopter carriers and the British to endanger Londonís role as an offshore banking center and playground for rich Russians. While former Soviet bloc states like Poland and Estonia favor a tougher line with Moscow, others ó such as Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria ó are wary of putting energy supplies and business ties at risk.

Preventing Russia from destabilizing the European Unionís eastern flank is a common interest, but the union will continue to struggle with how and where to draw lines.

Yes, but why the desire to keep the Germans down? Germany is in many ways a beacon of economic success and stable democracy, in the bosom of Europe and NATO.

But its growing political clout in the European Union in the wake of the debt crisis has stirred unease in many capitals, ensuring that a tug of war with Berlin over economic and fiscal policy is likely to escalate.

A lack of leadership in France, British detachment and an increasingly muscular German constitutional court have all contributed to thrusting Germany uncomfortably into the spotlight. So too have impending changes in voting rules among European Union states that give more weight to population size, and the growing power of the European Parliament, where Germans make up the largest contingent.

Long underrepresented, Germans have secured an unprecedented grip on Europeís main institutions that is raising concern in London and Paris. A former aide to Ms. Merkel, Uwe Corsepius, is secretary general of the blocís Council of Ministers; Klaus Welle is secretary general of the European Parliament; Johannes Laitenberger, chief of staff of the outgoing commission president, is to be deputy head of the legal service; Martin Selmayr is leading Mr. Junckerís transition team at the commission and is likely to be his chief of staff. In addition, Klaus Regling heads the euro zoneís financial rescue fund, and Werner Hoyer, a former German minister for Europe, is chief of the European Investment Bank.

The fact that these trained lawyers and economists all hold German passports does not make them pawns of Ms. Merkel. As European Union civil servants, they are loyal to a vision of a federal Europe rather than to the Federal Republic of Germany.

But the dominance of German economic thinking, with its emphasis on austerity and a deep-seated culture of saving rather than spending or investing, needs to be tempered if Europe is to avoid losing a decade to stagnation and high unemployment. Just last week, the German government congratulated itself on approving the first balanced budget since 1969, at a time when many economists say Berlin should be cutting taxes to bolster domestic demand and investing more in infrastructure.

The Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, who is trying to shake up a highly indebted country often seen as an economic and political basket case, is challenging Berlinís policy prescription, using the rotating European Union presidency to try to change the debate.

His offensive, supported by France and other southern states desperate for fiscal leeway to revive growth, has drawn limited concessions from Ms. Merkel and offers Mr. Juncker a chance to make the unionís economic policy mix a bit less German.

Paul Taylor is a Reuters correspondent.

European Union Sanctions Ukrainian Rebel Leaders
by Yitzchak Besser

The European Union on Saturday released the names of 11 Ukrainian rebel leaders added to its sanctions list last week, when it established travel bans and asset freezes against the rebels. The EUís blacklist has steadily grown as the conflict in Ukraine rages on. The latest addition brings the number of people under sanctions to 72. The EU has also blacklisted two Crimean energy companies that Russia took over earlier this year.

Perhaps the most well-known rebel to be named to the list on Saturday was 41-year-old Russian citizen Aleksander Borodai. The EU stated that Borodai was responsible for separatists activities in the ďso-calledĒ government of the ďDonetsk Peopleís Republic.Ē The eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk has seen much of the fighting since the conflict spread to the region earlier this year. Borodai has described himself as a political advisor who aided Russiaís annexation of Crimea in March and said that he was now helping separatists in eastern Ukraine. However, he has denied any connections with Moscow.

Kiev has called the rebels terrorists, and claims that Russia is supporting them. Moscow in turn condemned the sanctions last week, and warned that they would harm the EUís relations with Russia.

In addition to sanctioning the Ukrainian rebel leaders, European Union officials have said that they would not postpone the enactment of the free-trade and political coŲperation agreement that Ukraine finally signed with the EU last month. Nevertheless, EU trade chief Karel de Gucht met with Ukrainian and Russian officials in Brussels on Friday in an effort to convince the Kremlin that the EU was not looking to harm the Russian economy.

European Union leaders said at a June 27 gathering that the bloc could impose additional sanctions against Russia if the rebels continued the hostilities in Ukraine. The officials demanded that the insurgents agree to a ceasefire, free their hostages, return control of border checkpoints to Ukrainian authorities, and begin peace talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. However, the EU has thus far wavered in imposing harsher trade sanctions against Russia because some countries fear the repercussions of antagonizing the blocís largest energy supplier.

Hostilities began in late 2013 when demonstrators took control of a central square in Kiev and demanded that then-President Viktor Yanukovich, a Russian ally, agree to closer relations with the EU. When he refused and instead signed a treaty with Moscow, demonstrators called for his ouster. The protests turned violent in February, with each side blaming the other for the escalation. Yanukovich fled to Russia on February 21. The Ukrainian parliament subsequently deposed him and established an interim government. Moscow declared that the move was a coup, and shortly afterwards, pro-Russian forces began to take control on the Crimean Peninsula.

In March, a referendum was held in Crimea about joining the Russian Federation, with a wide margin voting in favor of the measure. The US, the EU, and Ukraine all condemned the move. Moscow would go on to annex the territory, but a UN General Assembly resolution declared both the referendum and the annexation to be illegal. In the following months, clashes between the two sides would spread to the eastern part of Ukraine.

While the European Unionís efforts in sanctioning the 11 Ukrainian rebel leaders shows its support for Kiev in the conflict, the move will likely not intimidate the insurgents. Without more weighty initiatives from all parties involved, the only guarantee in the region remains the persistence of bloodshed.

By Yitzchak Besser
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