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New Archbishop of Warsaw Resigns Amid Communist-Era Spying Scandal


Poland Church: Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of new Archbishop of Warsaw Cardinal Stanislaw Wielgus, who gave up the post only three days after admitting he cooperated with Poland's communist-era secret police.
Roman Catholic Church officials in Poland made the announcement today (Sunday) less than an hour before Cardinal Wielgus was to be ceremonially installed as archbishop of Warsaw.
After he was officially consecrated in the office of archbishop Friday, Cardinal Wielgus issued a statement admitting he was a communist-era spy. He had previously denied it. He has expressed regret for his actions, which he acknowledged has harmed the church.
The cardinal's admission of helping the communist security service raised calls before today's (Sunday's) ceremonial induction for him to step aside. He said Friday he was leaving his fate as archbishop of Warsaw in the pope's hands.

Iraq: A published report says President Bush's new Iraq strategy will call for quickly sending about 20-thousand American troops to Baghdad, and creating a billion-dollar jobs program for Iraqis.
"The New York Times" story published today (Sunday) says Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has agreed to match the U.S. troop increase by sending three more Iraqi brigades to Baghdad over the next month and a half.
The newspaper says Mr. Maliki formally agreed in a teleconference with Mr. Bush Thursday to match the U.S. troop increase with Iraqi forces.
Citing unnamed U.S. officials putting together the last pieces of the plan, the Times says the president will double U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq. The plan, which could cost a billion dollars, proposes to hire Iraqis to do such jobs as painting schools and cleaning streets.
Mr. Bush is expected to unveil his new strategy in the coming days, but the report says some U.S. officials are skeptical that it will succeed in stabilizing Iraq.

Iraq Execution: British Finance Minister Gordon Brown has condemned the way deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was executed by Iraqi authorities.
In an interview with British television (broadcast today/Sunday), Brown says the taunting of Saddam in the execution chamber was "deplorable" and "completely unacceptable."
He is the latest of many officials from various countries to strongly criticize the execution.
A mobile phone video of the execution shows observers chanting the name of an Iraqi Shi'ite cleric and shouting "go to hell" shortly before Saddam was hanged December 30th.
Brown is considered a favorite to take over as British prime minister when Tony Blair steps down later this year. Mr. Blair has so far declined to comment on Saddam's execution, but says he will address the issue this week.
In another development, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging Iraq's government to suspend plans to execute Saddam's two co-defendants: his half-brother, Barzan al-Tikriti, and former chief judge, Awad al-Bander.

Israel – Palestinians: Israeli security officials say troops have detained at least four Palestinians in a raid in the West Bank city of Nablus.
Residents reported hearing gunfire and explosions as about 20 Israeli army vehicles entered Nablus before dawn this (Sunday) morning.
Israel's military says it detained four Palestinian militants, including two men who it says were planning a suicide bomb attack inside Israel in the coming days. The military says two explosive belts were confiscated during the raid.
Israel says the alleged bomber, a 16-year old Palestinian boy, was already in custody.
In another development, published reports say Israel has refused to release Palestinian prisoners in return for a recording of an Israeli soldier held captive by Palestinian militants.
The reports say the ruling Hamas militant group has offered Israel a recording of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit to prove that he is alive, in exchange for Israel freeing about 200 Palestinians.

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