Before leaving for an extraordinary Vatican summit, Boston's Roman Catholic Archbishop, Bernard Law, told worshippers Sunday that the priest sex-abuse scandal "must spark immediate and decisive changes in order to prevent possible recurrence." Law pledged to convey the gravity of the problem to Pope John Paul II during the two-day gathering, which begins today. A spokesman for the US Conference of Bishops said, among other issues, the 12 American cardinals would seek Vatican guidance on whether to impose a "one strike" rule for priests who abuse children. That advice would be the basis for policy decisions at their semiannual conference in June. (Story, page 1.)
President Bush marked Earth Day with a visit to Lake Everest in the Adirondack Mountains of New York and a speech expected to promote his controversial "Clear Skies" proposal to combat air pollution. The Adirondacks have been severely damaged by acid rain as a result of wind-borne pollutants from factories and power plants in the Midwest. Bush's proposal would limit industrial output of three key pollutants through a market-based system of emissions credits. Critics, among them former Vice President Gore, contend the plan is a step back from environmental regulations already in place.
The Supreme Court agreed to consider an appeal by Operation Rescue and other groups barred from disruptive behavior outside abortion clinics for the next 10 years under a federal racketeering law. In other cases, the court also agreed to decide whether a Tennessee death-row inmate is entitled to a hearing on his claims that prosecutor misconduct led to his sentence, and whether the government can be sued for failing to maintain buildings on land held in trust for Native American tribes. The court will hear the cases in its fall session that begins in October. (Related story, page 1.)
A retired Air Force sergeant charged with trying to sell US secrets to Iraq, China, and Libya, will go on trial June 3. A federal judge in Alexandria, Va., agreed to move the espionage trial back from May 20 to give the defense more time to prepare after prosecutors indicated they would seek the death penalty for Brian Patrick Regan, because the satellite secrets he allegedly meant to sell posed a "grave risk of death" to US pilots patrolling Iraq's no-fly zone. Regan has pleaded not guilty.
A tornado killed at least one person, leveling his mobile home in rural southern Illinois, authorities said. The twister was part of a violent storm that struck Wayne and Jefferson counties Sunday, injuring about 30 other people, uprooting trees, and damaging homes.
After 19 days alone on an abandoned tanker in the Pacific, a pet dog was rescued by a fishing boat Sunday and was being taken to Honolulu, Hawaii. A Coast Guard plane earlier spotted and dropped pizza and other food for Forgea, a mixed-breed terrier. The Humane Society had mounted a $50,000 recovery effort for the animal, left behind when the crew of the disabled Insiko 1907 were rescued by a cruise ship April 2.