A new U.S. jobs report shows that the country’s economy is gaining, with March adding more jobs than any other month in the last three years. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent, CNN.
At today’s Good Friday prayers in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa equated criticism over the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals with “collective violence” suffered by the Jews. The comparison drew outrage from Jewish groups and groups representing abuse victims. While the Pope was in attendance, a Vatican spokesman said Cantalamessa’s views do not represent the Church, BBC News.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will visit Hugo Chavez in Venezuela today. Chavez hopes to expand his influence in the Western world, and billions of dollars of Russian arms sales to Venezuela over the last decade have connected the two countries, NY Times.
Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, has announced he is freezing diplomatic ties with Colombia because of verbal aggressions from the country. On Monday the Colombian government claimed anti-tank weapons belonging to Venezuela were now being used by the FARC guerrilla group, CNN.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor was accepted by the Senate Judiciary Committee 13-6, with Sen. Graham being the only Republican to vote yes. The full Senate will vote whether to confirm her next week, Washington Post.
Gunmen in Baghdad today killed eight security guards and stole almost $7m in a bank heist. Police say the robbery was most likely orchestrated by militants who were impacted by the U.S. occupation, AP.
Iran has released 140 protesters who were detained last month during post-election demonstrations. 200 people, who are accused of more serious crimes, remain in custody. Officials have also revised the number of those killed during protests from 20 to 30, BBC News.
A joint statement from the United Nations and the Organization of American States has expressed concern for a Venezuelan news station that criticized President Hugo Chavez. The statement says the government has been intimidating Globovision, which is now the only TV station in the country that openly criticizes Chavez. The government is currently investigating the station for the third time after Globovision reported an earthquake before the government issued an official report. If the investigation finds they broke the law, their license will not be renewed, CNN.
On the other side of the world, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the damage from fighting in Sri Lanka is “appalling.” The U.N. chief called the displacement camps in the country some of the worst he has ever seen and many civilian deaths have been reported, although the Sri Lankan government disputes these reports, CNN.
Pakistani forces are reported to have entered the Taliban-held city of Mingora in the Swat Valley. Fighting between Pakistani and Taliban forces has been constant in the month of May, with at least 17 Taliban militants being killed in the raid, BBC News.
The DNA of Amanda Knox, an American student accused of murdering her Bristish roommate in Italy in 2007, has been found on the handle of the knife that killed Meredith Kercher, Sky News.
More information on the missed warning signs from gunman who killed 13 people at an immigrant services center in Binghamton, New York. Jiverly Wong came to the U.S. from Vietnam as a refugee. He was jailed for using a forged check in California but was still granted citizenship a few years later. In response to an application for a gun permit, Mr. Wong’s father told police he did not think his son should have access to a weapon, but the permit was granted. Wong was also suspected in a bank robbery but was never charged, USA Today.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who, as it was widely reported, shook hands with President Obama at the Summit of the Americas a few days ago, has announced he will restore Venezuela’s ambassador to the US. The US is expected to reciprocate. Relations between the US and Venezuela have been strained since Chavez was elected. In response to a reporter’s question about his first meeting with Obama, Chavez said, “I think it was a good moment… I think President Obama is an intelligent man, compared to the previous US president.” BBC News.
A UN conference on racism may fall apart as the US and other western nations refuse to participate. The US fears the proposed language of the conference statement singles out Israel in that it likens Zionism, the desire for an Israeli state, to racism. The US also has concerns that the proposed condemnation of “incitement to religious hatred” could have free speech implications, BBC News.
Journalism schools struggle to find relevance in the changing news industry, the New York Times.