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>Protesters, police clash in labor reform strike

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Dozens of masked youths clashed with police at a union protest Tuesday in Athens during the country's fifth general strike this year against the cash-strapped government's planned pension and labor reforms.

Riot police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse youths who threw chunks of marble smashed off metro station entrances and set trash bins on fire. Running clashes continued along a major street -- lined with shuttered shops and banks -- as rioters with wooden clubs made repeated attacks on police.

Seven policemen were injured, and 13 demonstrators were detained, six of whom were arrested, police said. The violence came as about 10,000 people took part in a demonstration organized by the country's two main labor unions and fringe left-wing groups.


>Chemical castration OK'd for sex offenders

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea's parliament voted Tuesday to legalize chemical castration as punishment for convicted child sex offenders after a series of violent assaults sparked outrage nationwide.

The bill was introduced in 2008 in response to a high-profile case in which a 58-year-old man raped and assaulted an 8-year-old girl. The attack caused widespread revulsion and left the victim with lasting physical injuries.

The legislation, which requires the South Korean president's signature to become law, would allow judges to sentence adult sex offenders who victimize minors under 16 and have been diagnosed as sexual deviants to chemical castration.

The procedure involves the administration of testosterone-suppressing hormones intended to curb sexual drive.

In the United States, several states including Louisiana, California, Oregon and Arizona have laws allowing chemical castration.


>U.N. truck driver fatally shot in Kabul

KABUL (AP) -- An Afghan man working for the United Nations was shot and killed in his vehicle Tuesday near a busy traffic circle in Afghanistan's capital, the world body said.

The victim was driving a white pickup truck with the blue U.N. logo painted on the side. Another Afghan member of the U.N. staff, who was in the vehicle, was not wounded, the U.N. said.

The morning shooting occurred amid heavy traffic near Massoud circle, an intersection near the U.S. Embassy and an American military base.

The attackers were believed to be members of the Haqqani group, a faction of the Taliban based in Pakistan, which has close ties to al-Qaida.

Elsewhere, U.S. and Afghan forces battled hundreds of militants from an al-Qaida-linked group for a third day in eastern Kunar province, the U.S. military said. Two U.S. soldiers were killed Sunday in the first day of the operation.

In southeastern Kabul, a protest against NATO forces in Afghanistan turned violent as demonstrators clashed with police. At least 15 police officers and five civilians were wounded, according to authorities.


>Pope creates office to 're-evangelize' West

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI is creating a Vatican office to fight secularization and to "re-evangelize" the West -- a tacit acknowledgment that his attempts to reinvigorate Christianity in Europe haven't succeeded and need a boost.

He announced the new office during a vespers' service Monday, confirming reports in the Italian media about a handful of Vatican appointments expected to be announced before the pope goes on summer holiday and the Vatican bureaucracy slows down.

Benedict said parts of the world are still missionary territory, where the Catholic Church is relatively unknown. But in other parts of the world like Europe, Christianity has existed for centuries, yet "the process of secularization has produced a serious crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and role of the Church."

The new pontifical council, he said, would "promote a renewed evangelization" in countries where the Catholic Church has long existed "but which are living a progressive secularization of society and a sort of 'eclipse of the sense of God.' "

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