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July 14, 2011 at 8:11 AM
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McConnell: U.S. default would cripple GOP

WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- Letting the U.S. government default on its debts would cripple Republicans in the next elections, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.

"All of a sudden we have co-ownership of a bad economy. That is very bad positioning going into an election," McConnell said on "The Laura Ingraham Show," a conservative radio talk program.

Obama would be able to "say Republicans are making the economy worse," McConnell said. "It is an argument that he could have a good chance of winning."

McConnell pushed a plan he proposed Tuesday that would let a debt-limit increase clear Congress without Republican approval by giving Obama authority to raise the debt ceiling on his own -- and Congress would vote to disapprove a request instead of approve one.

This would also let Obama raise the debt ceiling without having to guarantee spending cuts.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said: "I strongly support Sen. McConnell's efforts to avoid a default on our nation's debt, and the last-case emergency proposal he outlined ... to ensure that Republicans aren't unduly blamed for failure to raise the debt ceiling."

But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., rejected McConnell's proposal, vowing to press for rolled-back government spending.


EU leaders delay debt summit amid deadlock

BRUSSELS, July 14 (UPI) -- European leaders put off a eurozone debt-crisis summit, officials said, amid a Greece bailout deadlock, a stern IMF warning and new global-fallout fears.

The summit, bringing 17 government leaders together to look for a way to stop the eurozone sovereign-debt crisis from spiraling out of control, was put off until next week after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday's original date was too soon to come up with a comprehensive package to restore eurozone stability, an official said.

Eurozone finance ministers may hold a crisis meeting Friday anyway, even if the government leaders wait, senior eurozone officials said.

A default by Italy is increasingly feared by officials. The country, whose debt is 120 percent of its annual gross domestic product, was to hold four bond auctions Thursday, seeking to raise more than $7 billion.

Finance ministers said auction success was essential so Italy, the European Union's third-largest economy, can show it's not in danger of losing access to market funding.

These actions and an unraveling uncertainty followed the eurozone's failure Monday to come up with a comprehensive second bailout deal for Greece, worth $120 billion.

The countries remained split Thursday over the role private investors, or creditors, would play in the bailout and whether bringing them in would amount to a selective default, officials said.


Blasts may have sought to derail talks

MUMBAI, July 14 (UPI) -- India opened a major investigation Thursday in the triple terror strike in Mumbai and hinted the deadly action may have been aimed at derailing peace talks.

Various federal investigative agencies worked with their state counterparts for leads in the deadly attacks at three sites during the evening rush hour Wednesday in the country's financial capital.

Federal Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, who flew into Mumbai immediately after the blasts, told reporters the attacks were well coordinated.

The Home Ministry Thursday quoted Mumbai police as saying 18 people were confirmed dead in the blasts that occurred within minutes of one another near Mumbai's Opera House, at the Zaveri diamond Bazar and the Kabutarkhana in the suburb of Dadar. Earlier media reports had put the death toll at 21.

The ministry also said the blast injured 131 people, more than 20 of them seriously.

No one has yet claimed responsibility. Chidambaram, who visited all the three attack sites and the injured in hospitals, did not name any group or individual while the investigation was under way.

Chidambaram Thursday did not rule out the possibility the blasts sought to derail the peace talks with Pakistan but refused to say who Indian authorities suspected was behind the attack, The Times of India reported.


Murdochs summoned before Parliament panel

LONDON, July 14 (UPI) -- News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch and his son James were summoned to appear before Parliament to answer questions about the phone-hacking scandal that rocked Britain.

Rupert Murdoch, a U.S. citizen, had declined a request to appear before a House of Commons media committee, and his son offered to go another day, the BBC reported Thursday.

The Murdochs' media empire included News of the World, the British tabloid that ceased publication Sunday after being enveloped by allegations of hacking phones of public and private citizens.

News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, News of the World editor from 2000-2003, agreed to attend the hearing. News International is News Corp.'s British subsidiary.

The BBC reported a 60-year-old man was arrested Thursday in the matter, becoming the ninth person to be arrested since the London Metropolitan Police began a new investigation into phone hacking allegations in January.


Report: Irish bishop ignored abuse

DUBLIN, Ireland, July 14 (UPI) -- The bishop of the diocese of Cloyne in Ireland ignored complaints against priests and lied to authorities, a report released Wednesday said.

The Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne, headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, examined the handling of sexual abuse complaints between 1996 -- when the church adopted new policies aimed at protecting children -- and 2009, The Irish Times reported. Murphy was involved in an earlier investigation of the Dublin diocese.

Justice Alan Shatter proposed legislation Wednesday penalizing anyone who fails to report child abuse, even if the information is obtained by a priest during confession, the Belfast Telegraph said.

Bishop John Magee, who came to the diocese in southern Ireland after serving as private secretary to three popes, turned over responsibility for complaints to his deputy, Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan, the report said. O'Callaghan was described as more interested in protecting priests than children, the Times reported.

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