MEXICO

3rd priest kidnapped after 2 others slain

MEXICO CITY — Roman Catholic Church officials are pleading for the life of a priest who was kidnapped one day after two other priests were killed.

The Archdiocese of Morelia says the Rev. Jose Alfredo Lopez Guillen was abducted Monday from his parish residence in the rural town of Janamuato, in the western state of Michoacan.

The attacks have raised concerns, even though prosecutors in Veracruz state say the two priests killed Sunday knew their attackers and had been drinking with them. Robbery was also a suspected motive in that attack.

ITALY

Spanish Steps reopen

after private repair

ROME — Rome’s iconic Spanish Steps officially reopened to the public Thursday after a cleaning and repair job financed by luxury jeweler Bulgari.

The reopening was beset by controversy over Bulgari’s insistence that the city better protect the newly pristine monument from drunks, tourists and others by fencing off the staircase at night. But Mayor Virginia Raggi said Thursday she didn’t think a fence was needed.

In proposing the fence, the company cited damage over the years and, more recently, to the piazza’s fountain by visiting soccer hooligans.

FRANCE

NY art-dealing heir on trial over taxes

PARIS — The heir of a New York art-dealing empire went on trial Thursday for allegedly hiding his huge family fortune in offshore tax havens, prompting authorities to demand hundreds of millions in back taxes.

Guy Wildenstein, a 70-year-old Franco-American art dealer, could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the criminal charges in one of the biggest tax-fraud trials ever held in France.

Investigating judges say Wildenstein and nephew Alec Wildenstein heavily undervalued the family fortune in estate tax returns filed in 2002 and 2008.

GHANA

Professors want Gandhi statue gone

ACCRA — Professors at a university in Ghana’s capital are campaigning for the removal of a new statue of Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi.

The petition, delivered Thursday to the University of Ghana’s governing council, takes issue with what the professors call Gandhi’s “racist identity” and controversial references to Africans in his writings.

Gandhi, a lawyer, traveled to South Africa in 1893 and stayed for two decades, fighting to expand rights for Indians there. The petition quotes writings from that period in which Gandhi refers to black South Africans as savages.

GREECE

Group: Refugees in ‘appalling’ situation

ATHENS — Most of the roughly 60,000 refugees and other migrants stranded in Greece are living in “appalling conditions” and face “immense and avoidable suffering,” rights group Amnesty International said Thursday.

The group said only 6 percent — about 4,000 people — of the 66,400 relocations promised over two years have taken place.

Wire reports