- - Sunday, December 30, 2012

LONDON — The archbishop of the Church of England is leaving office after a decade as the spiritual leader of the world’s 80 million-strong Anglican Communion.

Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, will be replaced by 56-year-old former oil executive Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham.

The 10 years in which Archbishop Williams, 62, held office saw him struggling to maintain unity within the Anglican Communion amid bitter disagreements over female bishops and church teachings on gay relationships.

Archbishop Williams has been praised for engaging with church critics and atheists including Richard Dawkins, but he also has raised eyebrows with his opinions on controversial issues including the war in Iraq and Shariah law.


Official acquitted in jail death case

MOSCOW — The only official charged with the death of a Russian whistleblowing lawyer walked free Friday after a Moscow court acquitted him of negligence in a case that has become a rallying point for human rights advocates and sparked escalating legislation in the U.S. and Russia.

Sergei Magnitsky died in jail in 2009 after his pancreatitis went untreated, and an investigation by Russia’s presidential council on human rights concluded he was severely beaten and denied medical treatment. Prison doctor Dmitry Kratov was the only person to face trial in the case.

Judge Tatyana Neverova said she found no evidence that Dr. Kratov’s negligence could have caused the lawyer’s death.


Confused election gets another twist

ROME — Italy’s already chaotic election campaign has gotten a new twist with another big personality taking part: The country’s respected national anti-Mafia prosecutor has joined ranks with the center-left Democratic Party, a big win for a party already ahead in the polls before February elections.

Prosecutor Pietro Grasso choked up as he recounted how his hand trembled a few days ago when he signed a letter asking to end his 43-year career fighting the mob.

He explained his “radical” decision to run for an as yet unknown office as wanting to leave a better country for his grandson.


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