- - Sunday, February 19, 2012

RUSSIA

Cars circle central Moscow in anti-Putin protest

MOSCOW — Hundreds of cars circled central Moscow during an opposition demonstration Sunday to demand that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin allow free elections in Russia.

As they traveled along the wide Garden Ring, which makes a nearly 10-mile loop around the Kremlin, the cars flew the white ribbons and balloons that have become a symbol of the peaceful anti-Putin protest movement.

Sunday’s demonstration took place two weeks before the presidential election, which Mr. Putin is expected to win. Although none of his four challengers poses a serious threat, Mr. Putin does need to get the majority of the vote to avoid a runoff.

A similar protest in support of Mr. Putin late Saturday drew what police said were 2,000 cars.

IRELAND

Envoy: Pope consistent on stopping abuse

DUBLIN — The Vatican’s new American envoy to Ireland says Pope Benedict XVI has been “relentless and consistent” in seeking to oust child abusers from the priesthood worldwide.

Archbishop Charles Brown spoke Sunday at his first public Mass following his arrival in Ireland, a traditionally Catholic land rattled by nearly two decades of pedophile-priest scandals.

Archbishop Brown, a 52-year-old Manhattan native, has never been a Vatican diplomat before.

He spent a decade working alongside today’s pope inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. That powerful Vatican body enforces church policies, including the removal of pedophiles from the priesthood.

Ireland accuses the Vatican of undermining several state-ordered probes into the church’s cover-up of abuse crimes.

GREAT BRITAIN

Police make arrest in killing of popular vicar

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