- - Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Economy grew weakly in fourth quarter

LONDON | Europe’s recovery trudged along in the final three months of 2010, amid heavy snow in a number of countries and new spending cuts and tax increases across the single-currency bloc.

The 16 countries that were using the euro at the end of 2010 grew a modest 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three-month period, according to figures released Tuesday by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency.

That is below the 0.8 percent equivalent rate in the United States, but better than the 0.3 percent decline in Japan.

The fourth-quarter growth means that the eurozone expanded by 1.7 percent in 2010, more than many people had expected a year ago, when Europe’s debt crisis exploded with concerns about Greece’s ability to pay off its mountain of debts.


Pope, patriarch meeting likely

MOSCOW | A meeting between Pope Benedict and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, which could help heal a 1,000-year-old rift, looks increasingly possible, a senior Russian official said on Tuesday.

Relations between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches have warmed in recent years, making an elusive meeting between the pope and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill more likely, the official said on the condition of anonymity.

“It seems to me that the prospect of such a meeting is more realistic than it was a few years ago,” the official said, speaking on the eve of a two-day visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Italy, where he will meet with Benedict.


Police chief quits in corruption scandal

RIO DE JANEIRO | The head of Rio de Janeiro’s state civil police quit on Tuesday, becoming the latest victim of a drugs-and-corruption scandal that has convulsed the police here.

Allan Turnowski said he was stepping down after a “frank and open” discussion with state security secretary Jose Beltrame in the morning.

His resignation follows the arrests since Friday of at least 30 police officers suspected of links with gangs, including drug traffickers and militia groups in the city that will host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.


Lawyer linked to Saddam Hussein arrested

MADRID | Police this week arrested an Italian lawyer who acted as a consultant to Saddam Hussein’s defense team and was wanted by Britain on suspicion of fraud, money laundering and practicing law without a license, officials said Tuesday.

Giovanni di Stefano was arrested Monday night in a mansion in Palma on Spain’s Mediterranean island of Mallorca, a police official said.

Mr. di Stefano earned large sums of money in Britain between 2004 and 2009, apparently without being licensed to practice law in that country, the Spanish Interior Ministry said, adding that police acted on an arrest warrant from London.


Police return fire in violent protest

JOHANNESBURG | South Africa’s national police commissioner sent in specially trained forces Tuesday to quell growing protests in an eastern town where demonstrators angered by what they see as poor government service fired on police and attacked journalists.

Police spokesman Leonard Hlathi said police responded with rubber and live bullets. He said he had no immediate report of serious injuries.

“The protesters were firing live rounds at us, so we were then compelled to do so,” he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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