50 witnesses lined up for cardinal's hearing
MELBOURNE • Around 50 witnesses could be called to a hearing in March to determine if there is enough evidence for Vatican finance chief, Cardinal George Pell, to stand trial on sex abuse charges, a court heard yesterday.
The 76-year-old, a top adviser to Pope Francis, is accused of multiple historical sexual offences relating to incidents that allegedly occurred long ago.
He is the most senior Catholic cleric to be charged with criminal offences linked to the church's long-running sexual abuse scandal.
The exact details and nature of the allegations against Cardinal Pell have not been made public, other than that they involve "multiple complainants".
Tropical storm kills 22 in Central America
SAN JOSE•Tropical Storm Nate has killed at least 22 people in Central America, with torrential rain that has forced thousands from their homes, uprooted trees, knocked out bridges and turned roads into rivers, officials said.
Forecasters predicted it will strengthen into a hurricane headed for Mexico and the United States.
The country hardest hit by the storm that began on Wednesday was Nicaragua, with 11 dead and seven missing, Vice-President Rosario Murillo told state media on Thursday.
Officials in Costa Rica said eight people died, including a three-year-old girl and two young Nicaraguan farm workers, after they were hit by falling trees and mudslides . At least 17 people were missing.
Guard burns 6 kids, teacher to death
RIO DE JANEIRO • A Brazilian nursery school guard burned six small children and a teacher to death after spraying them with alcohol and setting them alight in an attack which has horrified the nation.
Dozens of people were also hurt in the blaze on Thursday. The guard, who was reported to be mentally ill, also died from his own burn injuries.
The tragedy occurred in a modest quarter of Janauba, a city of 70,000 about 600km north of Belo Horizonte city. The nursery school was called Innocent People.