More anger over pension overhaul

PARIS — France’s government invoked a sparingly used special power Saturday to push contested pension reforms though Parliament without a vote by furious opposition lawmakers. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s surprise announcement that he was cutting short debate in the National Assembly was the latest twist in the difficult birth of the pension shake-up that has sparked sustained protests and weeks of crippling strikes. The government has become increasingly frustrated with the slow progress of the bill, held up by thousands of opposition amendments. Philippe told Parliament he was invoking the power “not to end debate but to end this episode of non-debate.” He said he got approval to do so during a special Cabinet meeting Saturday that focused on France’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP)


Vatican City

Disgraced order told to do more

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis told the Legion of Christ religious order Saturday it still has a long road of reform ahead, making clear that 10 years of Vatican-mandated rehabilitation hadn’t purged it of the toxic influences of its pedophile founder. In a prepared speech, Francis told the Legion’s new superiors a “very vast field” of work was needed to correct the Legion’s problems and create a healthy order. He encouraged them to work “energetically in substance, and softly in the means.’’ The Vatican took over the Legion in 2010 after revelations that its founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, sexually abused dozens of his seminarians, fathered at least three children, and built a secretive, cult-like order to hide his double life. Even though the Vatican envoy tasked to run and reform the Legion declared the order cleansed and reconciled with its past in 2014, new sexual misconduct scandals have called into question whether his mission was really accomplished. (AP)


Johnson, girlfriend expecting a child

LONDON — The patter of tiny feet is coming to Downing Street. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed Saturday that he and his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, are engaged to be married and expecting a baby in the early summer. A wedding date wasn’t announced. Johnson, 55, and Symonds, 31, made history as the first unmarried couple to openly live together at the British prime minister’s official London residence when they moved in last year. Symonds, a conservationist and former communications chief for the Conservative Party, which Johnson now leads, was romantically linked to Johnson when Theresa May still served as prime minister. Johnson has four children with his second wife, Marina Wheeler, a lawyer he married in 1993. They announced their separation in September 2018. (AP)