Bailout roils government: Ireland’s government teetered this week after admitting it was near bankruptcy and in need of a massive bailout from the EU and the International Monetary Fund. Prime Minister Brian Cowen said the government needed $100 billion to avert collapse in the wake of a financial crisis brought on by a housing-market crash and bank investments in bad mortgages. As the country’s credit rating plummeted, the government began nationalizing banks and presented a radical four-year plan for $20 billion in combined spending cuts—including painful welfare and social-service cutbacks—and new taxes to meet bailout terms. The junior party in Cowen’s government quit the coalition, and Cowen said he would call elections for early next year, after the austerity budget had passed. Some members of Cowen’s own party demanded his immediate resignation, saying he had “betrayed” Ireland through mismanagement.


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Bishop predicts royal divorce: The Church of England this week suspended a bishop for saying he thought Prince William’s upcoming marriage to Kate Middleton would end in divorce. “As with most shallow celebrities, they will be set up to fail by the gutter press,” Peter Broadbent, the Bishop of Willesden, wrote on his Facebook page. “I give the marriage seven years.” After his comments were denounced in the British press, Broadbent apologized, but the church asked him to withdraw from public ministry until further notice. “I was appalled,” said Broadbent’s boss, Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London. “In common with most of the country, I share the joy which the news of the engagement has brought.”

Antwerp, Belgium

Terror plot disrupted: In a three-country sweep, officials arrested 11 people this week for allegedly planning a terrorist attack on an unspecified location in Belgium. Seven alleged radical Islamists were detained in Belgium’s port city of Antwerp, three in the Netherlands, and one in Germany. The suspects hold passports from Russia, Belgium, Holland, and Morocco. Belgian prosecutors said some of the men belonged to an international jihadist organization called Ansar al Mujahideen, while others were recruiting fighters to join an Islamic insurgency in Chechnya. In Germany, meanwhile, officials said they had received warning of a planned Mumbai-style commando attack on the Reichstag, the parliament building, which the government then closed to the public.


WikiLeaks rape charge renewed: Sweden this week issued an international arrest warrant for Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, on charges of raping and sexually molesting two women. Assange says the allegations, stemming from a summer trip to Sweden, are part of a smear campaign. Prosecutors opened the case in August, just after WikiLeaks released confidential U.S. military documents, but dropped it a day later, then reopened it. The warrant means Assange, an Australian citizen, can be arrested anywhere in EU territory. Mark Stephens, one of Assange’s lawyers, accused Swedish prosecutors of an “ambush,” saying his client had consulted with authorities before leaving Sweden. “I’ve worked with Third World countries and authoritarian regimes where there has been more of an attempt at a fair process,” he said.

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