- - Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The pope’s butler was formally questioned Tuesday in the investigation into the leaks of the pope’s papers, a scandal that represents one of the gravest security breaches in recent Vatican history.

Paolo Gabriele was arrested May 23 and has been held ever since in a secure room inside the Vatican gendarmerie building, a 13-by-13-foot room with a bathroom, a desk, a bed and a crucifix on the wall.

He is accused of aggravated theft. If convicted, he could face from one to six years in prison.

Paolo Papanti-Pelletier, a judge on the Vatican tribunal, told reporters that Mr. Gabriele was questioned by the investigating judge Tuesday morning in the presence of his two attorneys, the first such formal interrogation that could lead to an indictment or the dropping of charges.

The leaks scandal has convulsed the Vatican for months and resulted in an unprecedented investigation into who was responsible.

Mr. Gabriele was arrested as part of the criminal probe, but a commission of cardinals also is investigating the origins of the scandal, and the Vatican secretariat of state is trying to solve the whodunit as well.

Vatican documents leaked to the press in recent months have alleged corruption in Vatican finance as well as internal bickering over the Holy See’s efforts to show more transparency in its financial operations.


Biting spiders cause panic after 2 deaths

GAUHATI — Large biting spiders have sparked panic in remote northeastern India, but health authorities fear primitive treatment of the bites’ painful swelling may be more dangerous than the spiders themselves.

Two people died in Tinsukia district after witch doctors used razor blades to drain the wounds. It is not known whether the victims died from spider poison or from the attempted treatment.

Local Magistrate Kishore Thakuria said the victims were cremated before autopsies could be performed.

Another seven bite victims have been treated with antibiotics after they also tried to drain their wounds, Dr. Anil Phapowali said at the local Sadiya town hospital.

The hairy spiders were noticed about a month ago across Tinsukia district’s grassy plains and dense jungle forests north of the Brahmaputra River.


Video suggests suspect ate parts of body

MONTREAL — Video footage from the death and dismembering of a Chinese student seems to show the suspect eating the body, Canadian police said Tuesday.

The porn actor suspected in the killing, meanwhile, told authorities in Germany that he would not fight extradition to Canada.

Montreal Police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere said that although police have not been able to conclusively confirm it, they suspect Luka Magnotta did eat parts of the body.

“As gross and as graphic as it could be, yes, it was seen on the video,” Cmdr. Lafreniere said.

Mr. Magnotta, 29, was arrested in Berlin while reading about himself at an Internet cafe on Monday after an employee recognized him from a newspaper photo and flagged down a police car.

A copy of the video viewed online by the Associated Press did not show anyone eating the body but did show a man using a fork and knife on it.

Mr. Magnotta appeared before a German judge in the afternoon and was ordered held pending extradition, police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said. He was then transferred to a Berlin prison from a police detention center.


U.S. seeks inspection of suspected nuke site

VIENNA, Austria — A U.S. envoy challenged Iran on Tuesday to disprove suspicions it had worked to develop nuclear arms by throwing open a military site to U.N. inspection.

Robert Wood also urged Tehran to curb uranium enrichment, noting that with further work the material it has amassed would be enough for use in several atomic bombs.

He spoke to the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as it turned its attention to Iran’s nuclear program and concerns that it could be transformed into making weapons. That fear has generated threats of military action from Israel and the United States if diplomacy fails to persuade Tehran to compromise.

The IAEA late last month showed board members satellite photos that its officials and diplomats said seemed to show Iran moving earth and hosing down the insides of a building at its Parchin military site, southeast of Tehran.


President acknowledges second love child

ASUNCION — President Fernando Lugo has recognized a second love child - a 10-year-old boy, born to a nurse in the northern state where he served as a Catholic bishop before renouncing the priesthood and turning to politics.

Mr. Lugo’s attorney, Marcos Farina, said the president has told him to file the paperwork needed to change the boy’s last name to Lugo. His mother is Narcisa de la Cruz de Zarate, the fourth woman to have filed a paternity lawsuit against the 61-year-old former cleric.

Mr. Lugo has acknowledged fathering two of the four children named in paternity lawsuits against him.

He also accepted Guillermo Armindo, the child of Viviana Carrillo, after the woman accused him in 2009 of “irresponsible paternity.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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