News Briefs I
U.S. Document Suggests Vatican Role in Nazi-Plundered GoldLos Angeles Times
Two months after a comprehensive U.S. study severely criticized Switzerland and several other neutral countries for dealing in gold plundered by Nazis during World War II, a U.S. government document that came to light Tuesday contains evidence that for the first time links the Vatican with such dealings.
The 1946 Treasury Department document states that the Nazi puppet regime in Croatia, the Ustashe, smuggled about 350 million Swiss francs (about $295 million at today's prices) out of Yugoslavia "where Jews and Serbs were plundered to support the Ustashe organization in exile," apparently during the Third Reich's final months. The document said that "approximately 200 million (francs, valued today at $170 million) was originally held in the Vatican for safekeeping."
The document goes on to cite a rumor that much of this money was later funneled to Spain and Argentina through what it termed the "Vatican's pipeline" to finance the lifestyles of fleeing Nazis.
"This is an extremely significant development that fits into the pattern of the Nazi gold question," said Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress. "It is a pattern that involved not just Switzerland and other neutral countries, but, according to U.S. intelligence documents, went into the heart of the Holy See."
Crime Swamps Brazilian Cities as Police Go on StrikeThe Washington Post
In five chaotic days in this beachside metropolis, the daily homicide rate has tripled. Eight banks have been robbed. Gangs have run wild through a shopping mall and driven through upper-class neighborhoods shooting guns. And no one is obeying the traffic laws.
Recife, a city of 2 million in the poor northeastern state of Pernambuco, is just one of several cities and towns across Brazil ravaged by a rash of police strikes that have caused a national crisis. Army troops arrived here this weekend to keep the peace, but the 3,000 soldiers have been unable to do the job of 18,000 metro-area police officers out on strike, and gangs of roving bandits were marauding Tuesday on the outskirts of the city, terrorizing citizens.
Cunanan's Hometown Tense as Gay Pride Parade ApproachesLos Angeles Times
The FBI and San Diego police Tuesday sought to calm fears in the gay community here that suspected multiple killer Andrew Phillip Cunanan might return to Saturday's Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade with murder on his mind.
"There is an extraordinary amount of fear out there that he's coming back to continue killing," said Sgt. Mike Cash, the police department's liaison with the gay community. "We've been trying to do everything we can to dispel rumors and make sure everyone feels safe at the parade and can have fun."
Police will have uniformed officers, undercover officers, and the horse patrol at the parade, which is expected to draw 85,000 people to the Hillcrest neighborhood where Cunanan lived. FBI agents will also be mingling with spectators. "If this individual is here, we'll deal with him," said Cash, although he declined to reveal how many officers will be working the parade. "If anybody thinks they see him, tell the nearest cop. There will be plenty of them."
Among the rumors that Cash and other law enforcement personnel have tried to quash in recent days is that authorities have discovered Cunanan's "hit list" and have suggested that people on it go into hiding.