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15 militants killed in airstrike on camp

SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- An airstrike Wednesday killed 15 al-Qaida-linked militants in their training camp in the country's south, Yemeni military officials said. The airstrike resembled earlier U.S. drone attacks, but the United States did not comment.

The officials said the air attack targeted the militants' camp north of the town of Jaar in the southern province of Abyan. It coincided with a Yemeni government offensive against the militants.

On Monday, 17 al-Qaida militants were killed in a two-pronged attack by military units and civilians who took up arms against al-Qaida south of the town of Lawder. Two civilians and a military officer were also killed in the fighting.

For several weeks, the Yemeni military has been on the attack against al-Qaida, after a year during which the militants were largely unopposed in their takeover of cities and towns in the south. This came while Yemen was preoccupied with an internal power struggle, set off by huge demonstrations against longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh that eventually led to his resignation in February.


Catholic leader refuses to step down from post

DUBLIN (AP) -- The leader of Ireland's 4 million Catholics said Wednesday he wouldn't resign after a BBC documentary accused him of helping to cover up child abuse in the 1970s committed by a pedophile priest who allegedly went on to assault scores of other children. Cardinal Sean Brady said the documentary exaggerated his role in his 1975 interviews of two teenage boys abused by priest Brendan Smyth.

Brady said he gave his report as instructed to his bishop, who in turn had responsibility to tell Smyth's religious order leaders. "I feel betrayed that those who had the authority in the church to stop Brendan Smyth failed to act on the evidence I gave them. However, I also accept that I was part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the church, which thankfully is now a thing of the past," Brady said.

Smyth, who allegedly abused dozens of children in Rhode Island and North Dakota, was finally imprisoned in the British territory of Northern Ireland in 1994 after his conviction for molesting four children in the same Belfast family.


Sarkozy turns nasty in campaign debate

PARIS (AP) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy repeatedly accused leftist challenger Francois Hollande of lying as they faced off in a highly anticipated debate Wednesday ahead of the presidential election.

The heated comments reflected the intensity of the contest, especially for Sarkozy, who is lagging in the polls ahead of Sunday's vote. The debate was seen as the sharp-tongued Sarkozy's last chance to lure voters behind his bid for a second term.

"It's a lie! It's a lie!" Sarkozy said during an exchange on economic policies. The Socialist contender also repeatedly denied some of Sarkozy's claims, insisting, "I never said that."

Sarkozy has said France needs to do more to cut spending and debts, while Hollande favors government-funded stimulus programs.

Sarkozy lashed at out at his critics and the 35-hour workweek. He also repeatedly noted Hollande's lack of government experience.

Hollande called for national unity and social justice, repeatedly using one of his campaign catchwords: "rassemblement," or "bringing together" -- to stress the contrast between him and the divisive Sarkozy.