The week at a glance...Europe
Editors charged with bribery: Two former tabloid editors close to Prime Minister David Cameron were charged this week with bribing public officials. The charges against Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, who both worked for Rupert Murdoch’s News International, relate to a series of payments, totaling more than $150,000, allegedly made to a former Defense Ministry aide for information that The Sun used in stories about the Iraq War. TheDailyBeast.com also reported that in 2005, when Brooks edited The Sun, a U.S. military official was bribed to provide the paper with a photo of Saddam Hussein in his underwear. Brooks is a close friend of Cameron, and Coulson was his press aide until last year, when he and Brooks were implicated in a massive phone-hacking scandal.
No women at the top: In a narrow vote that set off shockwaves, the Church of England has decided not to allow the ordination of women priests as bishops. The reform needed a two-thirds majority in each of the three houses of the General Synod to pass. The measure easily managed that in the House of Bishops and the House of Clergy, but in the House of Laity, which has more than 200 members, it lost by six votes. Outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who lobbied hard to make women’s ordination a centerpiece of his legacy, was deeply disappointed. “It is a personal sadness, a deep personal sadness,” he said. The U.S. Episcopal Church, the most liberal wing of the Anglican Communion, has had women bishops since the 1980s.
Surely he’s joking: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was embarrassed this week by a compliment from an awkward source: authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, known as Europe’s last dictator. Lukashenko praised Orban’s government for getting “more rational” now that it has “had enough of democracy and capitalism.” He was apparently referring to new electoral restrictions—widely criticized by European governments—that cement the power of Orban’s Fidesz party, including an end to automatic voter registration and a ban on campaign commercials. “The words of the Belarusian president can only be interpreted as a joke,” said Hungarian government spokesman Andras Giro-Szasz.