Pistorius' brother facing homicide charge
JOHANNESBURG - The murder case involving Olympic star Oscar Pistorius took another unexpected turn Sunday with the news that his older brother, Carl, is himself facing charges for the death of a woman in a traffic accident.
Carl Pistorius faces a charge of unlawful, negligent killing for a 2008 road death "in which a woman motorcyclist sadly lost her life," Kenneth Oldwage, the Pistorius family lawyer, said on Sunday. The charge of "culpable homicide" was dropped and then reinstated and will be challenged in court, the lawyer told The Associated Press.
It is the second time someone associated with the Pistorius case has been found to face a serious charge that has been dropped and then reinstated. It was revealed that the chief police investigator in the case is facing charges of seven counts of attempted murder for shooting at a vehicle with seven passengers. Following the revelations, Hilton Botha was removed from the Pistorius investigation.
Raul Castro announces he'll step down in 2018
HAVANA - Raul Castro announced Sunday that he will step down as Cuba's president in 2018 after a final five-year term, for the first time putting a date on the end of the Castro era. He tapped rising star Miguel Diaz-Canel as his top lieutenant and first in the line of succession.
The 81-year-old Castro also said he hopes to establish two-term limits and age caps for political offices including the presidency - an astonishing prospect for a nation led by Castro or his older brother Fidel since their 1959 revolution.
The 52-year-old Diaz-Canel is now a heartbeat from the presidency and has risen higher than any other Cuban official who didn't directly participate in the heady days of the revolution.
In his 35-minute speech, Castro hinted at other changes to the constitution, some so dramatic that they will have to be ratified by the Cuban people in a referendum. Still, he scotched any idea that the country would soon abandon socialism, saying he had not assumed the presidency in order to destroy Cuba's system.
Key vote could shape economic future
ROME - Will Italy stay the course with painful economic reform? Or fall back into the old habit of profligacy and inertia? These are the stakes as Italians voted in a watershed parliamentary election Sunday and today that could shape the future of one of Europe's biggest economies.
Fellow European Union countries and investors are watching closely, as the decisions that Italy makes over the next several months promise to have a profound impact on whether Europe can decisively put out the flames of its financial crisis. With an economy almost 10 times the size of Greece's, Italy is simply too big a country for Europe, and the world, to see fail.
Leading the electoral pack is Pier Luigi Bersani, a former communist who has shown a pragmatic streak in supporting tough economic reforms spearheaded by incumbent Mario Monti. On Bersani's heels is Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire media mogul seeking an unlikely political comeback after being forced from the premiership by Italy's debt crisis. Monti, while widely credited with saving Italy from financial ruin, is trailing badly as he pays the price for the suffering caused by austerity measures.
Cardinal contests claims of misconduct
LONDON - The Vatican is looking into allegations of "inappropriate behavior" by Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's most senior Catholic cleric, officials said Sunday. The claims came at a sensitive time, as O'Brien and other cardinals prepare for a conclave to choose the next pope.
O'Brien, who heads the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, was taking advice from lawyers after British newspaper The Observer reported that three priests and a former priest have filed complaints to the Vatican alleging that the cardinal approached them in an inappropriate manner.
The paper did not cite the names of the priests, but it said their allegations date back to the 1980s.
"Cardinal O'Brien contests these claims and is taking legal advice," Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Scottish Catholic Church, said.
Slain foreigner ID'd as Belgian businessman
MEXICO CITY - A Belgian citizen shot to death in the Pacific resort of Acapulco near the site of the Mexican Open tennis tournament was a resident businessman working for a transnational firm, local prosecutors in Mexico said Sunday.
Saturday's killing was the second violent attack involving foreigners in Acapulco in less than three weeks. On Feb. 4, a band of masked gunmen invaded a beachfront home and raped six visiting Spanish women
The Guerrero state District Attorney's Office identified the dead man as 59-year-old Jan Sarens, an executive with the family-owned Belgian firm Sarens, which supplies heavy transportation equipment for construction, mining and energy.
Conservative wins critical presidency vote
NICOSIA - Conservative candidate Nicos Anastasiades won Cyprus' presidency Sunday by one of the widest margins in 30 years, promising to do what it takes to quickly secure a financial rescue package from international creditors..
Anastasiades, 66, won the runoff election with 57.48 percent of the vote, well ahead of left-wing rival Stavros Malas, final results showed.
The election comes as Cyprus is negotiating a much-needed bailout with the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund.
The Associated Press