Vatican gives UN new stats on sex abuse: 848 priests defrocked, 2,572 disciplined since ‘04

GENEVA (AP) -- The Vatican revealed Tuesday that over the past decade, it has defrocked 848 priests who raped or molested children and sanctioned another 2,572 with lesser penalties, providing the first ever breakdown of how it handled the more than 3,400 cases of abuse reported to the Holy See since 2004.

The Vatican’s U.N. ambassador in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, released the figures during a second day of grilling by a U.N.committee monitoring implementation of the U.N. treaty against torture.

Tomasi insisted that the Holy See was only obliged to abide by the torture treaty inside the tiny Vatican City State, which has a population of only a few hundred people.

But significantly, he didn’t dispute the committee’s contention that sexual violence against children can be considered torture. Legal experts have said that classifying sexual abuse as torture could expose the Catholic Church to a new wave of lawsuits since torture cases in much of the world don’t carry statutes of limitations.

Tomasi also provided statistics about how the Holy See has adjudicated sex abuse cases for the past decade. The Vatican in 2001 required bishops and religious superiors to forward all credible cases of abuse to Rome for review after determining that they were shuffling pedophile priests from diocese to diocese rather than subjecting them to church trials. Only in 2010 did the Vatican explicitly tell bishops and superiors to also report credible cases to police where local reporting laws require them to.

Ukraine tightens cordon around eastern city: 30 pro-Russia insurgents, 4 troops killed

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) -- A pro-Russia militia holding an eastern Ukrainian city came under further pressure Tuesday from advancing government troops, but militants acted with impunity elsewhere in the turbulent region.

The foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia met Tuesday, but their open disagreements did nothing to suggest a diplomatic solution was near.

Diplomacy was to be taken up again on Wednesday during a meeting in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, whose country currently chairs the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Russia and the West have expressed a desire for the OSCE to play a greater role in defusing the tensions in Ukraine.

Ukrainian military operations that began Monday to expunge pro-Russia forces from the city of Slovyansk were the interim government’s most ambitious effort so far to quell weeks of unrest in Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking east.

Four government troops and 30 militants were killed in the gunbattles, Ukraine’s interior minister said Tuesday. The pro-Russia militia said 10 people were killed, including civilians. There was no immediate way to reconcile the figures.

N.C. Republican leads anti-establishment rivals in primary to choose foe for Hagen

WASHINGTON (AP) -- North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis moved ahead of a pair of anti-establishment rivals and bid to avoid a run-off Tuesday night in the race to pick a challenger to imperiled Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, first in a springtime spate of primaries testing the strength of a tea party movement that first rocked the Republican party four years ago.

In Ohio, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald won the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. John Kasich in the fall. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, rolled to re-nomination for another term in Congress, his 13th.

On a night that was kind to Republican incumbents, Republican Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana easily fended off a challenge from the right, rolling up 75 percent of the votes in a three-way race. First-term Rep. David Joyce of Ohio, had a slightly tougher time but was running well ahead of his tea party rival.

In North Carolina, Tillis was winning 45 percent of the vote with ballots counted in 21 percent of the state’s precincts. He needed 40 percent to avoid a July runoff. Greg Brannon was running second and Mark Harris third.

Also in North Carolina, former "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken seized a narrow lead as he sought the Democratic nomination to oppose Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers in the fall. Both parties held primaries to select candidates for a special election to replace former Rep. Melvin Watt in a heavily Democratic seat.

How more than 300 girls were kidnapped by extremists in Nigeria 3 weeks ago

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- The girls in the school dorm heard the sound of gunshots from a nearby town. So when armed men in uniforms burst in and promised to rescue them, at first they were relieved.

"Don’t worry, we’re soldiers," one 16-year-old girl recalls them saying. "Nothing is going to happen to you."

The gunmen commanded the hundreds of students at the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School to gather outside. The men went into a storeroom and removed all the food. Then they set fire to the room.

"They ... started shouting, ‘Allahu Akhbar,’ (God is great)," the 16-year-old student said. "And we knew."

What they knew was chilling: The men were not government soldiers at all. They were members of the ruthless Islamic extremist group called Boko Haram. They kidnapped the entire group of girls and drove them away in pickup trucks into the dense forest.

Lewinsky speaks out on affair with Clinton, sees herself as first Internet scapegoat

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Monica Lewinsky says there’s no question her boss -- Bill Clinton -- "took advantage" of her when he was president.

But she says their affair was consensual and if there was any abuse involved, it came afterward, when Clinton’s inner circle tried to discredit her and the president’s opponents used her as a political pawn.

The former White House intern, now 40, writes about her life in the next issue of Vanity Fair magazine, out this month. In released excerpts, she says she’s perhaps the first Internet era scapegoat and wants to speak out on behalf of other victims of online humiliation.

Her willingness to step forward may come at an inopportune time as former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton considers running for president. Republicans have signaled they don’t consider her husband’s scandal from the late 1990s out of bounds in the realm of 2016-style political dialogue.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a likely GOP presidential contender, answered criticisms of the Republican record on women’s issues by saying in January that the last Democratic president engaged in "predatory behavior" with a woman, Lewinsky, who was 22 when her liaisons with Clinton began in 1995. Clinton’s lies about the relationship contributed to his impeachment by the House in 1998; the Senate acquitted him.

White House locked down after driver follows Obama daughters’ motorcade through gates

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Access to the White House complex was halted for about an hour Tuesday after a vehicle followed a motorcade carrying President Barack Obama’s daughters through the gates.

Uniformed agents immediately stopped the vehicle after it trailed in behind the motorcade at about 4:40 p.m. EDT, the Secret Service said.

The driver, identified as Mathew Evan Goldstein, 55, was arrested and charged with unlawful entry. No hometown was given.

District of Columbia police swept the vehicle for explosives as it sat just feet away from the northwest gate of the White House. Access to Pennsylvania Avenue and the White House complex was restored about an hour later.

A law enforcement official said the motorcade was returning Obama’s daughters to the White House.

Alibaba Group seeks $1B in long-awaited IPO that will also yield windfall for Yahoo

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Alibaba Group, China’s leading e-commerce company, is dangling a deal that could turn into one of the biggest IPOs in U.S. history.

In a long-awaited move made Tuesday, Alibaba filed papers for an initial public offering of stock seeking to raise at least $1 billion.

The documents set the stage for the technology industry’s biggest IPO public offering since Twitter and its early investors collected $1.8 billion in the online short messaging service’s market debut last fall.

Depending on investor demand for its stock, Alibaba could try to raise more money and even surpass the $16 billion that Facebook and its early investors raised in the social networking leader’s IPO two years ago.

"This is going to be the granddaddy of all IPOs," predicted PrivCo CEO Sam Hamadeh, who has closely followed the market for years.

Children are eating well: A taste of school lunches around the world

SEATTLE (AP) -- First lady Michelle Obama is on a mission to make American school lunches healthier by replacing greasy pizza and french fries with whole grains, low fat protein, fresh fruit and vegetables.

The Associated Press helps you compare her efforts in the United States with what kids are eating around the globe by sending photographers to see what kids in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America ate for lunch this week.

The new American standards are giving kids in the United States a taste of the good life already experienced by school children around the world. Most countries put a premium on feeding school children a healthy meal at lunchtime.

Many kids go home to eat lunch with their families or bring a lunch cooked by their parents.

Although few schools sell lunch, snacks are available around the world. In many places those snacks are as unhealthy as treats in the United States: fried doughnuts in Mali and Pakistan, candy in the West Bank, fried chicken nuggets in France.