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News Briefs

Proceeds From Church Sales To Pay Off Debts


Archbishop Sean P. O’Malley has decided that proceeds from church properties sold under his plan to reduce the number of parishes in the archdiocese will go to the central fund of the Boston Archdiocese and not to the parishes left to take on Catholics displaced by the cutbacks.

In a Feb. 13 letter to all Boston priests, Bishop Richard G. Lennon, O’Malley’s top deputy, wrote that the archbishop had decided to close the parishes through a canonical procedure known as suppression, which allows the sale proceeds to pay off the debts of the archdiocese.

O’Malley has set a March 8 deadline for leaders from about 80 regional clusters of parishes to recommend which parishes should be shut down under the consolidation plan. Those recommendations will be then considered by two higher groups of church officials before they are submitted to O’Malley for his review.

Sept. 11 Hijacker Identified Two Years before Attack


U.S. investigators were given the first name and telephone number of one of the Sept. 11 hijackers two and a half years before the attacks on New York and Washington, but the United States appears to have failed to aggressively pursue the lead, according to U.S. and German officials.

The information -- the earliest known signal that the United States received about any of the hijackers -- has now become an important element of an independent commission’s investigation into the events of Sept. 11, officials said Monday. It is considered particularly significant because it may have represented a missed opportunity for U.S. officials to penetrate the German terror cell that was at the heart of the plot.

In March 1999, German intelligence officials gave the CIA the first name and telephone number of Marwan al-Shehhi, and asked the Americans to track him. After the Germans passed the information on to the CIA, they never heard back from the Americans about the matter until after Sept. 11, a senior German intelligence official said. After receiving the tip, the CIA decided that “Marwan” was probably an associate of Osama bin Laden, but never tracked him down, U.S. officials say.

Youths Leaving Foster Care Are Found Facing Big Obstacles


A rare study of young adults on the verge of leaving foster care systems reveals a bleak portrait of these 17-year-olds in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. Many are lagging desperately behind in school, running into trouble with the law and struggling with psychological problems.

The survey of 732 youths, which will be released Tuesday by the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, offers a glimpse at a group often overlooked in the piles of studies and surveys: young people, once removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect, now preparing to exit the child welfare system as adults.

“These are people heading out into the world who will have far less support than the average middle-class, working-class kids,” said Mark E. Courtney, the study’s author and the director of Chapin Hall Center. “Up until now they have had the protection of the child welfare system. And as they head out, the deck, as you can see, is stacked against them.”