Cops deny killing student
Four policemen on Monday denied beating to death a 19-year-old student in mass anti-government protests that rocked the country in June last year, as they went on trial amid heavy security. “I had my truncheon, but not a baseball bat, as claimed by the prosecution,” Savan Gekvunar, head of the police unit accused of killing Ali Ismail Korkmaz on June 2, told the court in Kayseri. “I took part in no arrest and I didn’t hit anyone... I wasn’t there when the events took place.” His colleague, Mevlut Saldogan, accused of administering a kick to the head that gave Korkmaz a brain hemorrhage, also denied the charges, as did two other policemen. However, baker Ebubekir Harlar, one of the four other defendants, told the court the officers had “beaten to death” the student.
Germans reject church bans
Responding to a worldwide Vatican survey, the country’s Catholic bishops on Monday said that many Church teachings on sexual morality were either unknown to the local faithful or rejected as unrealistic and heartless. They said that the survey showed that most local Catholics disputed Church bans on birth control, premarital or gay sex, and criticized rules barring the divorced from remarriage in church. A statement from the German Bishops’ Conference called the results “a sober inventory of what German Catholics appreciate about Church teaching on marriage and the family, and what they find offputting or unacceptable, either mostly or completely.” However, the bishops’ report said many Germans still respect the Church’s ideal of stable marriages and a happy family life.
Suicide bomber strikes bus
A suicide bomber blew himself up in a passenger van in Beirut’s Choueifat District on Monday, wounding at least six people, the state news agency said. The blast, which took place during the evening rush hour, appeared to be the latest in a string of attacks in the country linked to the civil war in Syria. TV stations broadcast video showing the charred, mangled wreckage of the minibus and pieces of flesh scattered on the street. One security official cited one of the wounded as saying a man blew himself up after boarding the minibus and confirming that it was heading to a predominantly Shiite area in southern Beirut.
Joan Mondale passes away
Joan Mondale, the wife of former vice president Walter Mondale and a champion of the arts, died on Monday, her family said in a statement. She was 83. Mondale died with her family members at her side, the statement released through the family’s church said. Mondale’s support for the arts spanned more than six decades, from her study and work in college through her promotion of arts programs and artists during and after her husband’s terms as a senator, vice president and ambassador.
Religious strife kills dozens
At least 70 people have been killed and dozens of houses torched in clashes between Muslim and Christian communities in the town of Boda, local police officials said on Monday. Elie Mbailao, police commissioner of Mbaiki, about 100km from the area around Boda, said that Christians attacked Muslims after the Seleka alliance of militias passed through. “The mayor [of Boda] has told me that there were more than 70 dead and over 30 houses burned,” Mbailao said of the violence that began late last week.