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LONDON — The Church of England’s governing body narrowly blocked a move Tuesday to permit women to serve as bishops, leaving the church facing more years of contentious debate.

After a daylong debate, opponents mustered enough support to deny the necessary two-thirds majority among lay members of the General Synod.

The defeat was a setback for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who retires at the end of December, and his successor, Bishop Justin Welby. Both endorsed a proposed compromise that they hoped would end decades of debate.

Legislation to allow women to serve as bishops must be approved by two-thirds majorities in the synod’s three houses: bishops, priests and laity.

Synod members were voting on the latest compromise, which called for church leaders to respect the position of parishes that oppose female bishops — without saying exactly what “respect” means.

The vote was 132 in favor and 74 against. In separate votes, bishops voted 44-3 in favor with two abstentions, and clergy voted 148-45 in favor.

Church officials say it may take five years to go through the process of taking new legislation to a final vote.


Ex-prime minister gets 10 years for corruption

ZAGREB — A court on Tuesday convicted former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader of graft and sentenced him to 10 years in prison after a trial closely watched by the European Union.

Sanader, 59, who served as prime minister from 2004 to 2009, is the highest-ranking former government official to be tried for corruption in Croatia, which has pledged to root out graft as it prepares to join the EU in July.

Judges found Sanader guilty of accepting a $13 million bribe from Hungarian oil company MOL in return for securing it controlling rights in Croatia’s state oil company INA, and receiving nearly $700,000 in kickbacks for a lucrative credit deal with Hypo Alpe Adria Group that gave the Austrian bank a leading position on the Croatian market.

From wire dispatches and staff reports