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Dutch reports say cardinal shielded pedophile priest

BRUSSELS — The sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands deepened Thursday when news reports said one of its senior figures had shielded a pedophile priest.

Reports in three news media outlets increased the pressure on the cardinal, Adrianus Simonis, the retired archbishop of Utrecht, who testified last month as a witness in a legal action taken by one of almost 2,000 people who have said they were victims of abuse.

The crisis in the Netherlands is another setback for the Roman Catholic Church, which has been struggling with sexual abuse allegations from Ireland and Belgium to the United States.

Simonis caused some distress in the Netherlands last March, when he was asked on television about the hundreds of complaints surfacing against the church and replied in German rather than Dutch, saying “Wir haben es nicht gewusst” — or “We knew nothing about it.”

Mario Cuomo to mediate in Mets-Madoff Case

NEW YORK — Former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo of New York will serve as a mediator in the standoff between the trustee for the victims of the Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and Sterling Equities, who are accused of profiting from Madoff’s actions.

Burton R. Lifland, the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing the case, appointed Cuomo, who was a mediator before first running for public office in the 1970s. The judge said the “special issues” in the case require “an appropriately experienced mediator.”

Irving H. Picard, the trustee trying to recover money for victims of the Madoff fraud, has charged in a lawsuit that Wilpon and Katz ignored warnings about the fraud and received more than $300 million in “fictitious profits.” Wilpon and Katz, co-owners of the New York Mets, claim they, too, are victims of Madoff.

US indicts 31 in crackdown on gangs in New York

WHITE PLAINS — Continuing its offensive on the violent gangs that have run roughshod over Newburgh, federal authorities on Thursday unsealed a new indictment against reputed members and associates of the Latin Kings on charges that included murder, assault and racketeering.

The murders involved three killings that came to symbolize the sense of lawlessness that has hovered over the city since about 2008, including the shooting of Jeffrey Zachary, 15, a bystander who was not a target.

The indictment, according to Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was the “first time in memory, and perhaps ever,” that the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was used in Newburgh.

Of the 31 people charged, 15 were new defendants and 16 had been charged in an indictment last May in which 78 people were taken into custody. Each of the 31 people charged is suspected of being a member of the Latin Kings, an associate of the gang, or a narcotics supplier, Bharara said. Eight of the defendants were arrested in Newburgh early Thursday morning, said Diego Rodriguez, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s New York field office.

Egypt’s military is caught between two sides

WASHINGTON — Even as pro-democracy demonstrations in Cairo have riveted the world’s attention for 17 days, the Egyptian military has managed the crisis with seeming finesse, winning over street protesters, quietly consolidating its domination of top government posts and sidelining potential rivals for leadership, notably President Hosni Mubarak’s son Gamal.

Then came Thursday, a roller coaster of a day on which the military at first appeared to be moving to usher Mubarak from the scene — and then watched with the world as Mubarak clung to his title.

The apparent standoff between the protest leaders and Mubarak, hours before major demonstrations set for Friday, could pose a new dilemma for military commanders. Suleiman called for an end to demonstrations, and Human Rights Watch said this week that some military units had been involved in detaining and abusing protesters. But by most accounts, army units deployed in Cairo and other cities have shown little appetite for using force to clear the streets.

Early Friday, Mohamed ElBaradei, an opposition leader and the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, sent a message on Twitter saying: “Egypt will explode. Army must save the country now.”

Wikileaks angry about
ex-staff member’s book

LONDON — WikiLeaks said it was taking “legal action” over a tell-all book to be released Friday by a former staff member that is critical of its founder, Julian Assange, and says the website was disabled by a spate of defections last year.

The former staff member, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, is a German computer scientist who was a prominent spokesman for WikiLeaks before falling out with Assange last summer. In “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website,” he writes of tensions between WikiLeaks’ core members and Assange.

They disagreed, he writes, over Assange’s leadership style, his paranoia (he asserts that Assange began to travel with bodyguards in late 2010) and the way he managed WikiLeaks’ finances.