- - Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DUBLIN — Rival Irish leaders traded insults and accused each other of lying to the public Tuesday as a high-stakes vote on the European Union’s fiscal treaty neared.

Both sides sharpened their attacks on what was the last full day for politicians to speak to Irish television and radio before Thursday’s referendum on ratifying the treaty.

Irish broadcasters impose a voluntary ban on discussing referendums the day before any vote.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny accused the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party of lying about Ireland’s need to slash its annual deficits and keep its future options open for bailout loans from European Union partners.

And Mr. Kenny defended his campaign-trail refusal to debate directly with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

“I am not going to be shoved around by Sinn Fein,” Mr. Kenny said. “I am not going to give a platform to somebody who I don’t regard as the leader of the opposition, to propagate what are blatant lies and hypocritical assertions.”

Mr. Adams countered that the government was trying to scare voters into believing that Ireland would “fall off the end of the world” if it shoots down the treaty. He argued that an Irish “no” would force the entire 17-nation eurozone to rethink its austerity strategy.

Ireland is the only one of 25 nations putting the EU’s deficit-fighting agreement to a national vote. Results are expected Friday night.

MYANMAR

Suu Kyi starts world tour

BANGKOK — For 24 years, Aung San Suu Kyi was either under house arrest or too fearful that if she left Myanmar, the government would never let her return.

Now, in a sign of how much life there has changed, the democracy activist and longtime political prisoner is resuming world travels, arriving Tuesday night in neighboring Thailand after an 85-minute flight from her homeland.

With the installation of an elected government last year, and her party’s own entrance into parliament this year, she can claim at least partial success for her long fight and feel the freedom to explore the world.

Mrs. Suu Kyi is to spend several days in Thailand, meeting with poor migrant workers and war refugees from her homeland, as well as international movers and shakers at the World Economic Forum on East Asia.

On arrival at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, she was whisked to a car amid heavy security, bypassing a large crowd of waiting journalists.

She will return to Myanmar briefly and head to Europe in mid-June, with stops including Geneva and Oslo - to formally accept the Nobel Peace Prize she won 21 years ago.

SUDAN

Sudan, South Sudan start first talks since conflict

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Top negotiators for Sudan and South Sudan met Tuesday for their first talks since deadly border fighting last month took them to the brink of war, even as Juba accused Khartoum of fresh airstrikes.

Teams from both sides are in the Ethiopian capital to restart the African Union-led talks that were stalled by heavy clashes last month, the worst fighting since the South won independence in July.

Khartoum stressed its “commitment to reach a negotiated settlement to all issues of differences” and promised “its full adherence to peace and stability between the two countries,” it said in a statement released as talks began. It added it hoped the talks would mark a “new chapter” in relations “away from conflict and warring.”

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said ahead of the talks that “amicable dialogue on the outstanding issues with Khartoum is the only option for peace.”

The U.N. Security Council earlier this month ordered both sides to cease fighting and return to talks or face sanctions.

VATICAN CITY

Vatican: Pope unafraid of results of leaks scandal

Pope Benedict XVI isn’t afraid about what might emerge in the widening investigation into leaked documents and is encouraging prosecutors and a fact-finding commission to get to the truth over one of the most serious Holy See scandals in recent history, the Vatican spokesman said Tuesday.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi said Benedict is pained by the leaks. Father Lombardi also said he felt “personally violated,” even though none of the spokesman’s correspondents had filtered out to Italian media or into a recent book of leaked documents that have laid bare the infighting, intrigue and petty squabbles that have plagued the highest echelons of the Catholic Church’s governance.

The so-called “Vatileaks” scandal has tormented the Vatican for months and represents one of the greatest breaches of trust and security for the pope in recent memory.

Benedict’s personal butler has been arrested and accused of theft after documents he had no business having were found in his Vatican City apartment.

Few think the butler acted alone, and the investigation is continuing on three separate tracks.

The butler, Paolo Gabriele, is due to be formally questioned in the coming days by Vatican prosecutors following his May 23 arrest, Father Lombardi said. His lawyers reported that he had pledged to cooperate fully with the investigation to get to the truth, raising the specter that higher ranking prelates may soon be implicated.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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