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Clergy in 33 states are exempt from laws requiring professionals such as teachers, physicians and psychotherapists to report information about alleged child abuse to police or child welfare officials. That loophole has resulted in an unknown number of predators being allowed to continue abusing children for years despite having confessed the behavior to religious officials. An Associated Press review finds that over the past two decades, more than 130 bills have been proposed in state legislatures to create or amend child sex abuse reporting laws. After intense opposition from religious groups, the clergy privilege remained unchanged. Often, legislative efforts to close the loophole run up against lawmakers who are also church members.
Cuba is holding a rare referendum on an unusually contentious law — a government-backed code that would allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt. It also outlines the rights of children and grandparents and tries to protect against gender violence. The code of more than 400 articles has been questioned by many members of the island’s increasingly vocal evangelical community. President Miguel Díaz-Canel has promoted the law but acknowledged Sunday that “it still has issues that our society as a whole does not understand,.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all new vehicles in the U.S. be equipped with blood alcohol monitoring systems that can stop an intoxicated person from driving. The recommendation, if enacted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, could reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes, one of the biggest causes of highway deaths in the U.S. The new push to make roads safer was included in a report released Tuesday about a horrific crash last year in which a drunk driver’s SUV collided head-on with a pickup truck near Fresno, California, killing both adult drivers and seven children.
A school administrator says government helicopters have attacked a school and village in Myanmar, killing at least 13 people including seven children. The number of children killed in the government attack last Friday in Sagaing region appears to be the highest since the army seized power in February 2021. The army’s takeover triggered mass nonviolent protests nationwide. The military and police responded with deadly force, resulting in the spread of armed resistance in the cities and countryside. The fighting has been especially fierce in Sagaing, where several military offensives have displaced more than half a million people, according to UNICEF.
Nearly 300 South Koreans who were adopted by European and American parents as children are demanding that South Korea investigate their adoptions, which they suspect were based on falsified documents that laundered their real status or identities as agencies raced to export children. The Denmark-based group representing the adoptees also is calling for South Korea's president to prevent agencies from destroying records as they face increasing scrutiny about their practices during a foreign adoption boom that peaked in the 1980s. The applications submitted to Seoul’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission describe numerous complaints about lost or distorted biological origins, underscoring a deepening rift between the world’s largest diaspora of adoptees and their birth nation.
Sam Jalloh zig-zagged across West Africa last year coaching tennis to kids. He took with him rackets, balls and a cellphone loaded with photos and videos of a pro player to inspire the youngsters. That player was U.S. Open tennis star Frances Tiafoe. The move was to encourage more young Africans to get involved in the sport by showing them images of Tiafoe. He's an American with Sierra Leone heritage. Jalloh’s phone has pinged and pinged this week with text messages from many of the kids. They are delighted and inspired by the 24-year-old Tiafoe’s stirring run to the U.S. Open semifinals.