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NEWS BRIEFS

Published:Friday | April 16, 2010 | 4:00 AM

Earthquakes shorten summit

BRAZIL (AP):

The earthquakes in China are shortening a summit between Brazil, Russia, India and China. China's leader Ju Hintao promised to end his Latin American tour early and return China yesterday, because of the quake that left 600 dead in his nation.

For that reason, leaders decided to compress two days of meetings into one day.

Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and China are discussing ways to increase trade using their local currencies rather than the US dollar. The group of emerging economies is seeking a greater voice in global economic affairs, especially following the financial crisis. China's leader says he will not visit Venezuela and Chile, as previously planned.

Foreign Ministry suspend adoptions

MOSCOW (AP):

The Russian Foreign Ministry yesterday suspended all adoptions to United States families, a week after an American woman sent her 7-year-old adopted son back to Russia on a plane by himself. But there appeared to be confusion on the issue, both in Russia and the United States. The Russian Education and Science Ministry, which oversees international adoptions, said it had no knowledge of an official freeze. A spokeswoman for the Kremlin's children's rights ombudsman said that organisation also knew nothing of a suspension. And in Washington, the US State Department said there was no freeze. "Our embassy in Moscow and officials in the department have been in contact with Russian officials to clarify this issue," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said yesterday.

Exploded warship lifted from the sea

SOUTH KOREA (AP):

South Korea lifted part of a warship from the sea, nearly three weeks after it mysteriously exploded and sank with dozens of sailors trapped inside. Salvage workers found the bodies of 36 crew members in the retrieved vessel.

Fifty-eight crew members were rescued shortly after the 1,200-ton Cheonan split into two pieces after exploding March 26 during a routine patrol near the tense border with North Korea. So far, 38 bodies have been recovered, while eight sailors remain unaccounted for.

Bishops to review abuse guidelines

BERLIN (AP):

German bishops will revise their sexual abuse guidelines to make clear that prosecutors should be brought in early to investigate, the national bishops conference and the Justice Ministry said yesterday. German Pope Benedict XVI's homeland has been shaken since January by the scandal, over alleged abuse by clerics.Yesterday, the head of the bishops conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, met with Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. The minister, who has been critical of the Roman Catholic church over recent weeks, told Zollitsch that internal church investigations must not delay or hamper public prosecutors' work, according to a statement issued after their meeting.

Hangman wanted

ZIMBABWE (AP):

Wanted: A hangman. High school education required. No experience necessary.

Zimbabwe's last executioner retired after carrying out his last execution in 2004. The departure of the hangman, who was said to be struggling with his conscience, leaves about 50 inmates on death row at Chikurubi maximum security prison outside Harare. Zimbabwe's government has learned that finding a replacement is not so easy, and according to a prisoners' advocacy group, it has even prepared a want ad to help its search. Meanwhile, calls for the abolition of the death penalty have gained steam. Earlier this month, inmate Shepherd Mazango won the support of human rights groups to appeal his death sentence, and demand the abolition of the death, penalty in the Supreme Court, the nation's highest tribunal.