A pre-Christmas pardon has been granted by Pope Benedict the 16th to his ex-butler. Paolo Gabriele was convicted in October of leaking sensitive documents that alleged corruption in the Holy See. The Pope went to the Vatican’s jail today to tell him personally of the pardon. The Vatican says Gabriele has been released and has returned to his family. He had been serving an 18-month sentence. The Pope also pardoned a second Vatican employee who was convicted of aiding Gabriele.
Holiday shoppers may be a bit reluctant to spend money this season. Retail experts say fears about tax hikes and government spending cuts are making them uncertain. As a result, retailers may not enjoy a strong finish to the holiday shopping season. According to a Reuters-Ipsos poll, about 17-percent of the consumers taking part said the impending “fiscal cliff” is making them spend less this season.
People continue mourning the lives lost in last week’s shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Three more funerals will be held today. Last night, thousands attended a candlelight vigil on a local soccer field. A bell rang after each victim’s name was read. Police estimate more than two-thousand attended the event. A bagpiper played “Amazing Grace” as the crowd sang along.
After four months in a Mexican prison, a former U.S. Marine is back home for the holidays. The State Department says Mexican authorities agreed to release Jon Hammar thanks to intervention from members of Congress. The combat veteran’s four-month imprisonment caused an uproar among lawmakers who called for a boycott on travel to Mexico. Family members said he was being held on a trumped-up weapons charge.
Weather: Sunny. High 67F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph. (via miamiweather.com)
Headlines collected via WVUM subscription to Metrosource news wire. Edited for flow, brevity (radio).
“*”- Denotes original reporting/content.