The world today
MalawiBLANTYRE — Malawi’s president yesterday pardoned a gay couple who had been sentenced to 14 years in prison and ordered their release but insisted that homosexuality was still illegal in his conservative southern African nation. President Bingu wa Mutharika announced the pardon on “humanitarian grounds only’’ during a press conference with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Lilongwe, the capital. Malawi had faced international condemnation for the conviction of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, who were arrested after celebrating their engagement.
Government in limbo after votePRAGUE — The left-wing Social Democrats eked out a slim victory in the Czech Republic’s parliamentary election yesterday but center-right parties won more votes overall, creating uncertainty over who will form the next government. Results reported by the country’s election agency indicated that the Social Democrats, led by former Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, will not be able to govern alone and may not even be able to successfully put together a new coalition.
Official says order restored in capitalBANGKOK — Thailand’s prime minister lifted a nighttime curfew in Bangkok and other areas yesterday, saying that order has been restored 10 days after a violent confrontation with antigovernment protesters killed more than a dozen people and left parts of the capital in flames. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, however, said a state of emergency would remain in force until security officials determined that it was safe to lift it.
Prosecutor rebukes clergy sex offendersThe Vatican prosecutor of clerical sex abuse warned perpetrators yesterday that they would suffer damnation in hell that would be worse than the death penalty. The Rev. Charles Scicluna, a Maltese priest who is a top official at the Vatican’s morality office, led a special “make amends’’ prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica. The service grew out of a desire by some seminarians in Rome for a day of prayers for the victims of clergy abuse and for the healing of the church’s wounds.
Tropical storm hits coastline, killing 12GUATEMALA CITY — The first tropical storm of the 2010 season hit the Pacific coastline of Guatemala and Mexico yesterday, killing 12 people under landslides and rockfall triggered by torrential rains. Tropical Storm Agatha’s rains caused a landslide in a precarious hillside settlement of Guatemala City that killed four people and left 11 missing, Guatemalan disaster relief spokesman David de Leon said. Eight people were killed in other parts of the country. Most of Guatemala City was without electricity at nightfall, complicating search efforts.
Suspect in N.Y. bombing clearedISLAMABAD — A retired army major said yesterday that he had been cleared of any wrongdoing after Pakistani intelligence released him from custody in connection with the attempted car bombing in New York’s Times Square. Adnan Ahmad and his brother were among at least 11 people that Pakistan has rounded up since the failed attack May 1. Two other suspects face allegations of involvement in the plot, but no one in Pakistan has been charged.
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