3 top stories from home and away
By P.M. Fadden
WORLD VIEW – Vatican Seeks Verdict
Last month, Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, Vatican City’s Treasurer and ‘third ranking official’ told a news conference at Holy See that if medically permitted he would travel to Australia to defy allegations of sexual misconduct, reports BBC Australia.
The 76-year-old cleric, a top adviser to Pope Francis, arrived at Sydney Airport via Singapore early Monday amidst obscure sexual assault accusations which Victoria Police said arose from “multiple complainants.”
Cardinal Pell faces trial at Melbourne late July.
NATIONWIDE – No Fly Zone
U.S. Congress debates next month proposed travel ban to reclusive Asia nation North Korean, writes World Affairs correspondent, Michael Totten.
The ban, which would potentially apply to travel for tourism purpose, follows recent return of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, a N. Korea detainee released with a fatal brain injury after initial sentencing of fifteen years slave labor for supposed theft of airport-posted propaganda signage.
Criticism for the ban observes potential legislative loophole in American’s continued travel allowance under reasons other than tourism, inviting supposition that incidence of detainment, rather than decrease, will merely swap ‘tourist’ terminology for ‘business person.’
FRONTIER FOCUS – Seward Highway Snarl
On the only stretch of road linking Anchorage with Kenai Peninsula, on a day when thousands of people travel to the small community of Girdwood for its annual Forest Fair event, a multi-vehicle crash left at least one person with critical injuries and snarled Seward Highway traffic Sunday afternoon through evening, reports Alaska Dispatch News.
A vehicle driving northbound “for unknown reasons turned into the southbound lane” at highway mile 109, said Anchorage Police Department spokesman M.J. Thim. Tow trucks were at the crash scene removing wreckage of four vehicles — including a boat on a trailer.
The incident occurred near a popular turnout where people collect drinking water from a roadside water pipe and is the second time since June 30 that a Seward Highway collision has led to hours-long delays resulting in hundreds of motorists locked in traffic.