Sex abuse meeting ends with few actions — Pope Francis ended a Vatican meeting on clerical sexual abuse by calling “for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors” and insisting that the church needed to protect children “from ravenous wolves.” But for all the vivid language and the vow “to combat this evil that strikes at the very heart of our mission,” the speech was short on the sort of detailed battle plan demanded by many Catholics around the world. Francis had barely finished speaking before some abuse victims and other frustrated faithful began expressing disappointment at his failure to outline immediate steps to address the problem.
Netanyahu pact sparks outrage — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made something of an art form of cutting deals with small Israeli political parties, but his latest alliance has earned him denunciations from quarters where he has usually been able to count on unshakable support. Netanyahu, his future imperiled by prosecutors and political challengers alike, has enraged Jewish leaders in Israel and the United States by striking a bargain with Otzma Yehudit, a racist anti-Arab party whose ideology was likened by one influential rabbi to Nazism. Even pro-Israel groups in the United States that prefer to air their disagreements quietly have issued public condemnations.
Venezuela’s opposition seeks a Plan B — As the humanitarian aid at the heart of a Venezuelan border standoff remained shut in warehouses Sunday, and with President Nicolas Maduro’s blockade intact, it became clear that the opposition leaders trying to oust him had little in the way of a Plan B. Juan Guaido, the top opposition official, and his allies had hoped that forcing the badly needed food and medicine inside Venezuela would represent a moment of irreversible collapse in Maduro’s authority. Instead, one aid truck made it through Saturday, the deadline set by the opposition to end the impasse, and Maduro easily fended off the challenge.
High-level U.S.-Taliban talks — The Taliban’s deputy leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, arrived in Qatar on Sunday, officials said, for what could be the highest-level negotiations between the insurgents and American diplomats on ending the Afghan war. The talks, scheduled to begin Monday in Doha, are expected to focus on the framework deal reached in principle last month. Under that framework, U.S. troops would withdraw from Afghanistan in return for a Taliban guarantee that Afghan territory would never be used by terrorists. The talks have excluded the Afghan government. American officials have said that any agreement would require the insurgents to meet with Afghan officials.
Archbishop urges public prayer after Brexit — The archbishop of Canterbury wants to organize five days of public prayers starting the day after Britain withdraws from the European Union, a local news outlet reported Sunday. Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury and principal leader of the Church of England, is seeking to pray in public with the leaders of the Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed churches starting March 30, one day after Britain is scheduled to leave the bloc, The Sunday Times reported. Welby, a supporter of Britain’s European Union membership, has been vocal about the possible pitfalls of Brexit, as the withdrawal is known.
Pompeo: North Korea remains a nuclear threat — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that North Korea remains a nuclear threat, contradicting a tweet last year by President Donald Trump. Pompeo made the remark in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” days before Trump holds his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether he believes North Korea remains a nuclear threat, Pompeo responded, “Yes.” After last year’s summit with Kim in Singapore, Trump tweeted, “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience.” But Pompeo on Sunday disputed that Trump had said as much. “What he said was that the efforts that had been made in Singapore — this commitment that Chairman Kim made — have substantially taken down the risks to the American people. It’s the mission of the secretary of state and the president of the United States to keep the American people secure. We’re aiming to achieve that,” the secretary of state said.