Pope to discuss celibacy
Pope Benedict XVI and top Vatican officials will hold a meeting to discuss requests for lifting the celibacy requirement made by priests seeking to marry or who have already married, the Vatican said on Monday. The summit will take place tomorrow and was called because of the recent excommunication of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the Vatican said in a statement. Benedict called the meeting to examine the implications of the "disobedience" of the Zambian prelate, who was excommunicated in September for installing four married men as bishops.
Roman shipwreck revealed
A shipwrecked first-century Roman ship has proved a dazzling find, with nearly 2,000-year-old fish bones still nestling inside clay jars, archeologists said on Monday. Boaters found its cargo of hundreds of amphoras in 2000 when their anchor got tangled with one of the two-handled jars. After years of arranging financing and crews, exploration of the site off the coast of Alicante in southeast Spain began in July, said Carles de Juan, a co-director of the project. The ship is estimated to have been 30m long with capacity for around 400 tonnes of cargo, making it twice the size of most other Roman shipwrecks found in the Mediterranean, de Juan said.
UN plan gains approval
The government has approved a UN plan for an international tribunal for the suspected killers of former prime minister Rafik Hariri -- despite the objections of the president and the resignation of six ministers. The draft document now returns to the Security Council for endorsement, but its final approval by the weakened government is far from certain owing to the resignations and threats from Hezbollah to call mass protests unless it and its Shiite Muslim allies gain effective veto power in the Cabinet. Monday's vote in the Cabinet was a small victory for Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, who is facing both the Hezbollah challenge and the objections of President Emile Lahoud. All 18 ministers remaining in the Cabinet voted for the UN plan, which begins the process of prosecuting Hariri's alleged killers in a court with international legitimacy.
Fire shuts down reactor
A fire broke out early yesterday at the country's biggest nuclear plant, shutting down one of its four reactors, plant officials said. The fire started shortly after midnight in a transformer outside reactor No. 3 at the Ringhals power plant, but never threatened the reactor itself and there was no risk of a radioactive leak, plant spokesman Gosta Larsen said. No one was injured. The plant's safety systems kicked in as they were supposed to and immediately triggered an automatic reactor shutdown, he said.
Rumsfeld target of law suit
Civil rights activists said they would file a suit yesterday asking prosecutors to investigate US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other officials on allegations of war crimes for their alleged roles in abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay. The 220-page suit is being filed by US and German attorneys under a German law that allows the prosecution of war crimes regardless of where they were committed. It alleges that Rumsfeld personally ordered and condoned torture.
Cabinet member steps down
A former campaign coordinator for President Luiz Lula da Silva has quit his Cabinet post, the latest casualty in a series of corruption scandals dogging the center-left government, officials said on Monday. Luiz Gushiken, the secretary of the Center for Strategic Studies, submitted his resignation on Friday and will be replaced by the center's secretary-general, Oswaldo Oliva Neto, Lula's press office announced on Monday. Gushiken, 56, was once one of Lula's closest collaborators as a leading campaign coordinator in Lula's unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1998 and in his victorious 2002 campaign.