Feature

The week at a glance ... Europe

Europe

Bedfordshire, U.K.
Teen banned from U.S.: A British teenager was banned for life from the U.S. this week after sending an abusive e-mail to President Obama. Luke Angel, 17, e-mailed the White House after watching a documentary about 9/11. The FBI promptly contacted British police, who photographed and fingerprinted Angel and told him he’d been placed on a list of people banned from entering the U.S. “I don’t really care,” said Angel. He said he called the president “a prick” in the e-mail but couldn’t remember what else he wrote because he was “drunk and high” at the time. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said, “We are prohibited from discussing specific cases.”

Oslo
Iranians defect: An Iranian diplomat in Belgium said this week that he is seeking asylum in Norway, becoming the third Europe-based Iranian envoy to defect this year. Farzad Farhangian, a press attaché at the Iranian Embassy in Brussels, said he considered himself an Iranian patriot. “I describe myself as a soldier for my country, for my nation,” he said, “but not for the regime.” Farhangian’s announcement came a week after a top Iranian diplomat in Finland, Hossein Alizadeh, defected in protest over what he called the “fraudulent” re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year and the subsequent repression of protesters. “The whole regime has lost its legitimacy,” Alizadeh said. The consul general of Iran’s embassy in Oslo, Mohamed Reza Heydari, defected in February.

Brussels
Pervasive Catholic abuse: Belgium reeled this week after an independent commission reported that clergy or church workers had sexually abused children in every single Catholic parish in the country. From the 1950s to the 1980s, the investigation found, hundreds of boys and girls were repeatedly raped or molested by hundreds of priests, with some children abused over many years. At least 13 committed suicide. “None of us was prepared for the severity of some of the accounts of abuse,” said Peter Adriaenssens, a psychiatrist who headed the commission. Belgium’s Catholic Church said it needed time to analyze the report. “The challenge is so big and touches so many raw emotions, it’s not possible to present new proposals right now,” said Archbishop André-Mutien Léonard.

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