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Briefly: Sunday shopping hours extended for Olympics

- - Sunday, July 22, 2012

LONDON — The Olympics are bringing longer Sunday shopping hours to England.

Britain's government says restrictions on Sunday trading hours will be lifted during the games to maximize the economic benefit that the Olympics will bring to the country.

Currently, British law stipulates that shops larger than 3,000 square feet can only open between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sundays. But Treasury chief George Osborne said many of the biggest Olympic events will be on a Sunday and he did not want millions of visitors to be turned away from closed shops.

The relaxation of the rules will only be for eight Sundays until the end of the Paralympic Games on Sept. 9.

FRANCE

Hollande marks Holocaust anniversary

PARIS — President Francois Hollande led ceremonies Sunday marking the 70th anniversary of the largest roundup of Jews in World War II France, and promised to crack down on anti-Semitism in a country reeling from killings at a Jewish school in March.

Some 13,000 Jews were deported by French police on July 16 and 17, 1942, many of whom were first holed up in harsh conditions at Paris' Vel d'Hiv, or the Winter Velodrome stadium.

Thousands of men, women and children were eventually taken to the Nazi's Auschwitz death camp, where they were killed.

Speaking from the site of the former stadium near the Eiffel Tower, Mr. Hollande told a gathering, which included Jewish leaders, that the crime "was committed in France by France."

"Not one German soldier, not one was mobilized during this entire operation," he said.

Mr. Hollande invoked the memory of a killing of three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi in the southern French city of Toulouse in March.

"Four months ago ... children died for the same reason as those in the Vel d'Hiv -- because they were Jewish," he said.

He said the security of the Jewish community is the business of the whole country.

Mr. Hollande paid tribute to the "courage" of Jacques Chirac, the last French president to lead a ceremony there in 1995. Mr. Chirac, for the first time, acknowledged France's role in Jewish persecution.

SPAIN

Protesters denounce austerity measures

MADRID — Several hundred demonstrators traveled to Madrid over the weekend from many parts of Spain to protest the country's near 25 percent unemployment rate as well as the stinging austerity measures introduced by the government in a bid to avoid an international financial bailout.

Many of the protesters are unemployed and walked long distances to converge on the capital city.

They arrived a day after the final go-ahead for a bank bailout loan of up to $123 billion failed to calm international markets. The nation's key borrowing rate rose to a record high of 7.2 percent in reaction to the country's continued recession and the debts of its regions.

Carrying banners saying "No cuts" and "United, that's enough" protesters headed to Madrid's Puerta del Sol square late Saturday.

VATICAN

Pope's butler placed under house arrest

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI's jailed butler has been placed under house arrest nearly two months after he was detained for suspected involvement in leaking sensitive Vatican documents.

Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said over the weekend that Paolo Gabriele will return to his family home in the Vatican while judicial authorities decide whether to seek a trial or drop the investigation. A decision is expected within days.

Mr. Gabriele was arrested May 23 on suspicion of stealing and leaking the documents. The leaks exposed corruption, infighting and power struggles at the Vatican's highest levels.

A special panel of cardinals, meanwhile, has briefed the pope about its own, separate investigation of Holy See internal affairs.

CYPRUS

Police say terrorist suspect acted alone

NICOSIA — Cyprus police say a foreign national being detained on suspicion of helping plan a terrorist attack on the island was acting by himself.

Police spokesman Andreas Angelides said Saturday that investigators have so far found nothing to indicate the 24-year-old man had any accomplices.

Cyprus authorities have declined to reveal any details about the case but have said that the suspect was arrested following a tip from foreign intelligence agencies.

State broadcaster CyBC said the man is a Lebanese national with a Swedish passport who is linked to Lebanon's Hezbollah and that he was monitoring Israeli tourists on the island.

Cyprus officials have said there is no evidence to link the man to last week's suicide bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and a local bus driver.

From wire dispatches and staff reports