Confusing comment. Pope Francis made headlines at the end of his trip to Brazil over the weekend, telling reporters at a press conference he would not judge gay priests. “If a person is gay, seeks God, and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis said. “They should not be marginalized.” Some say the comment represents a new direction for the Catholic Church, which still considers homosexuality a sin. Under Pope Benedict XVI, Francis’ predecessor, gay men were barred from the priesthood. But the new pope’s softer tone does not necessarily signal a coming change in Catholic theology. Francis did not distinguish between being gay and living a homosexual lifestyle, an important nuance missed in most media reports.
Dramatic rescue. Federal law enforcement officers busted a nationwide prostitution ring over the weekend, arresting 150 people and rescuing 105 trafficked children. The ring encircled 76 cities, and the children ranged in age from 13 to 17. Detroit harbored the most pimps (18). FBI and local law enforcement teams rescued the most children (12) from San Francisco. “Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” said FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko. “This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere and that the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”
Italian bus accident. A bus carrying 50 pilgrims returning from a holy site in Italy plunged about 100 feet off a ravine on Sunday, killing 38 and injuring 10 more. The bus crashed through a barrier designed to keep vehicles on the road, leaving no skid marks to indicate the driver applied the breaks before impact.
Conductor charged. A Spanish conductor at the controls when an express train derailed last week now faces 79 charges of negligent homicide. The death toll rose by one over the weekend when an American woman died of her injuries. Another 70 people remain hospitalized, 22 in critical condition. Despite the seriousness of the charges against him, a judge released the driver, Francisco Jose Garzon, without requiring him to post bail. Witnesses at the scene shortly after the accident claimed Garzon said he was going too fast and couldn’t stop. Officials are trying to determine whether a mechanical failure played any role in the derailment.
Now hiring. Online retailer Amazon.com announced today it plans to hire 7,000 new workers across the country to help meet the demands of its already booming business. After opening 20 new warehouse centers last year, CEO Jeff Bezos said the company will open another five in the coming months. The jobs will give local communities a boost—Amazon pays distribution center employees 30 percent more than people who work at traditional retail stores.