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AROUND THE WORLD

'Panic button' weighed after Facebook killing

LONDON (AP) -- Social networking giant Facebook said Thursday that it was considering whether to add a "panic button" to sections of its British Web site following a tabloid outcry sparked by the kidnapping, rape and murder of a teenager by a man she encountered on the popular online meeting place.

But Facebook's prospective moves -- which would include adding a one-click link to Britain's online child-protection agency to its "Safety" section -- don't go far enough for British authorities, who want the bright red button posted prominently on the site's profile pages, which millions of users visit every day.

The button would allow users to communicate directly with Britain's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center, which has its own team of specialist police officers.

The recent conviction of a serial rapist for the murder of schoolgirl Ashleigh Hall, 17, who met him on the site, played prominently in the tabloid press under headlines describing him as the "Facebook Killer."

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Prelate wants justice for sex-abuse victims

BAD STAFFELSTEIN, Germany (AP) -- A prominent archbishop called Thursday for justice for sexual-abuse victims in Germany's Catholic Church, saying they need to feel they can finally speak openly about their suffering. Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of Munich and Freising, said Catholic bishops in the southern German state of Bavaria -- the homeland of Pope Benedict XVI -- felt "deep consternation and shame" over the reports of abuse of children in church-run schools and institutions in past weeks.

"The priority is the search for the truth and achieving an open atmosphere that will give the victims courage to speak about what happened to them," Marx told reporters after a meeting with Bavarian bishops.

Marx said the bishops had agreed to investigate each claim and would contact authorities in cases where sexual or physical abuse is suspected.

The statements come as the German church continues to grapple with the magnitude of abuse claims; since the first victims came forward in January, at least 300 others have said they suffered sexual or physical abuse at the hands of priests.

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Mother gets 15 years for killing 6 newborns

PARIS (AP) -- A court in Normandy on Thursday convicted a 38-year-old woman of killing six of her newborn babies -- a deed she acknowledged -- and sentenced her to 15 years in prison.

Hours before the verdict, Celine Lesage said what she had told investigators, that she had killed her newborns at birth.

Prosecutor Eric Bouillard had sought a 16-year prison sentence for Lesage with no early release before half the term was served. Lesage was suspected of killing her six newborns between August 2000 and September 2007. She was charged with aggravated voluntary homicide and could have received a life sentence.

"Yes, I killed the babies," she said under questioning Thursday ahead of the verdict. She burst into tears. "I did it, but . . . I can't explain it."

Four of the newborns were smothered and two others strangled with small cords, a medical expert told the court.

Lesage was arrested in 2007 after her partner at the time, Luc Margueritte, found the tiny corpses in plastic garbage bags in the basement.

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