The Catholic Church announced new rules Thursday aimed at stopping abuse of children by priests and streamlining Catholic Church procedures for dealing with it. The Vatican will add the possession of child pornography to the list of most serious crimes, declare the abuse of any mentally retarded person to be as bad as the abuse of children and double the statute of limitations on the Vatican's prosecution of suspected abuse.
Nearly 10 years ago, Gregory, the archbishop of Atlanta, Georgia, oversaw the Roman Catholic Church’s implementation of a zero-tolerance policy in the United States – one that serves as the basis of guidelines introduced by the Vatican in response to the current European sex-abuse crisis. The “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” is considered a vanguard response to the American crisis, says CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen.
Gregory worked directly on creating those policies in 2002 when he was the first African-American president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In addition, the Vatican also plans to make it a major crime against the church to ordain a woman as a priest, said a source close to the Vatican.
The actor known for portraying the scheming Texas oil baron J.R. Ewing in the classic prime-time soap opera “Dallas” has become a solar energy pitchman.
The Oregonian newspaper reports that Hagman, 78, has recorded commercials for SolarWorld, a German manufacturer of solar cells in Hillsboro, Oregon. The company is using a slogan that parodies Sarah Palin’s famous “Drill, baby, drill” declaration from the 2008 presidential campaign. "'Shine, baby, shine' is an inexhaustible source of energy," said Hagman, who boasts what may be the country’s largest residential solar energy system at his home north of Los Angeles, California. "When affordable oil gives out, we're in real trouble - I mean the collapse of civilization, within 15 to 20 years," he said.
Hagman told the newspaper that his push for solar energy solutions is not only about finding alternatives to fossil fuels. "We've got a work force that's looking for jobs," he said. "We've got a long line of people returning from wars."
The missing Iranian researcher, whom Tehran claimed the CIA abducted, has taken refuge in the Pakistani Embassy in Washington. “He has requested to be sent back to Iran quickly," Iran's semiofficial news agency Mehr said Tuesday.
Amiri, a researcher at Tehran's Malek Ashtar University, mysteriously disappeared in June 2009 while on a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, according to Iranian media reports. Iran has accused the United States of involvement in Amiri's disappearance, saying the researcher was taken to force him to give up data about Tehran's nuclear program.
The U.S. State Department has denied that allegation but has been tight-lipped on whether Amiri defected.
Last month, two videos surfaced on the internet of a man claiming to be Amiri in which he said he had escaped from U.S. agents and was hiding in Virginia. In one of the videos, the man again said that he was brought against his will to the U.S. and fears he will be discovered and re-arrested.
"I am Shahram Amiri, the son of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who with God's help succeeded in running away from the U.S. security agents in the state of Virginia. I am [temporarily] at a safe place and I am trying to do this video, but it is quite possible that I may shortly be again arrested by American security agents."
CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the videos nor the identity of the man in them.
The former KGB agent, convicted by a Russian court in 2003 of spying for the United States, may be headed back to Cockeysville, Maryland, where he once lived with his family. The Washington Post reports that Zaporozhsky, who had been sentenced to 18 years of hard labor, was one of four men Russia swapped for the 10 "sleeper" agents that the FBI had arrested in June.
U.S. officials told the Post that information provided by Zaporozhsky helped them catch Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent who spied for Soviet and Russian agencies for 22 years.
According to the newspaper, Zaporozhsky’s whereabouts are unknown, but his younger son, Maxim, lives in the million-dollar Cockeysville house and his older son, Paul, lives two miles away.
Ten years ago, auto dealer Scott Donahoo introduced himself to his Russian neighbor, who said he ran an import-export business out of his home. "My guess was he was in the porn business," Donahoo said. "How else can you make dough like that?"
The U.S. citizen jailed in Peru since 1995 for helping leftist rebels has been granted conditional release, a judge announced. Berenson has served nearly 15 years of a 20-year sentence for aiding Peruvian rebels in a 1995 plot to overthrow Peru's Congress. Berenson, 40, who last year gave birth in prison to a son, Salvador, has long maintained her innocence. Her parents in New York welcomed the news of her release. "My wife Rhoda and I were ecstatic," Mark Berenson told CNNI. "We were waiting for this day for 14½ years." On the website freelori.org, the Berensons said their daughter and her son will be leaving prison "in a few days" and plan to move to an apartment in Lima, because parole requires they remain in the city in which they were incarcerated.
The 26-year-old from Dearborn, Michigan, was crowned Miss USA on Sunday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pageant-watchers say Fakih, of Lebanese descent, is thought to be the first Arab-American and Muslim to wear the crown, The Detroit Free Press reports.
According to TIME magazine, Fakih was raised in New York, attended the University of Michigan and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with a minor in business administration. She won the Miss Michigan USA title in 2009. She told TIME, “I grew up watching pageants with my father, but never knew I can really do it. Possibly because I was picked on a lot in school, and had a very shy personality. I can proudly say that I don't think I would have reached so high and come such a long way had I not went through the pain I did growing up.”
Tom Hanks: A ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington will honor 250 World War II veterans. Hanks and Steven Spielberg, executive producers of the new HBO series, “The Pacific,” will participate in the tribute. Tonight, President and Mrs. Obama will host a preview screening of the series in the White House movie theater.
Hanks has become America's historian-in-chief, Time magazine says. “Over the past two decades — from his movies 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Charlie Wilson's War' to the HBO miniseries he has produced, 'From the Earth to the Moon,' 'Band of Brothers', 'John Adams' and 'The Pacific,' which begins March 14 at 9 p.m. — Hanks has become American history's highest-profile professor, bringing a nuanced view of the past into the homes and lives of countless millions. His view of American history is a mixture of idealism and realism.”
Colleen LaRose: A Pennsylvania woman has been indicted for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and kill a person in a foreign country, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. LaRose, known as "Jihad Jane" and "Fatima LaRose," has also been charged with making false statements to a government official and attempted identity theft.
LaRose and five unindicted co-conspirators recruited men on the Internet "to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe, and recruited women on the Internet who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad," according to a Justice Department statement.
A government official familiar with the case said Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks was one of LaRose's intended targets. In 2007, Vilks had drawn the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog, outraging many Muslims.
If convicted, LaRose faces a possible life prison sentence and a $1 million fine.
Eric Massa: "Effective at 5 p.m. on Monday the 8th of March, I will resign my position as the Federal Representative of New York's 29th Congressional District in the 111th Congress. I do so with a profound sense of failure and a deep apology to all those whom, for the past year, I tried to represent as our Nation struggles with problems far greater than anyone can possibly imagine."
That statement is posted on the former congressman's Web site. He announced last week he would not seek re-election because of health concerns and denied reports that he had harassed one of his Capitol Hill staff members.
Massa said he was targeted because he was standing in the way of passing health care legislation, having voted against the House's health care reform bill in November. House Democratic leaders on Monday refuted his allegation.
Adam Gadahn: Conflicting reports emerged Sunday about whether the U.S.-born spokesman for al Qaeda has been arrested in Pakistan.
The reports came hours after Gadahn, in a newly released videotape, praised Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist who allegedly killed 13 people and wounded 30 others at the Fort Hood military base in Texas in November. Gadahn, also known as Azzam the American, called in the video for other Muslims to follow Hasan's example.
Gadahn said, "Brother Nidal is the ideal role model for every repentant Muslim in the armies of the unbelievers and apostate regimes. You shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that military bases are the only high-value targets in America and the West."
Read the CNN.com story to see who else made today's list.