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MONDAY, MAY 17, 2010 • 11A

W O R L D / N AT I O N

GM’s main lender keeping potential buyers with risky credit at bay


An anti-government protester uses a slingshot against Thai soldiers Sunday in Bangkok.

Thai government rejects offer of talks to end crackdown; 30 killed BANGKOK (AP) — Anti-government unrest boiling over in downtown Bangkok spread to other areas of the capital and Thailand on Sunday as the military defended its use of force in a crackdown that has left 30 civilians dead in four days. Thai leaders rejected protesters’ demands that the United Nations intercede to end the chaos. Black smoke hung over city streets where protesters set fire to tires, fired homemade rockets and threw gasoline bombs at soldiers who used rubber bullets and live ammunition to pick off rioters who approached their lines. The government maintains it is targeting only armed “terrorists� among the demonstrators. The protesters are demanding that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva resign, dissolve Parliament and call new elections.

Bishops aren’t Vatican employees under sex abuse defense stance VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is set to make its most detailed argument yet for why it is not liable for bishops who allowed priests to molest children. The motion could affect other efforts to sue the Holy See in American courts, the Associated Press has learned. In a motion to dismiss a lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds, the Holy See is expected to argue in court today that a key Vatican document calling for secrecy in church trials for sex abuse cases was not, as victims’ lawyers say, proof of a Vatican-orchestrated cover up. The Vatican’s U.S. attorney, Jeffrey Lena, said there was no evidence the document was even known to the archdiocese in question — much less used. In addition, the Holy See is expected to assert that bishops aren’t Vatican employees because they aren’t paid by Rome, don’t act on Rome’s behalf and aren’t controlled dayto-day by the pope — factors courts use to determine whether employers are liable for the actions of their workers, Lena told the AP. He said he would suggest to the court that it should avoid using the religious nature of the relationship between bishops and the pope altogether as a basis for civil liability, because it entangles the court in an analysis of complicated religious doctrine that dates back to the apostles. The Holy See is trying to fend off the first U.S. case to reach the stage of determining whether victims actually have a claim against the Vatican itself for negligence for the failure of bishops to alert police or the public about priests who molested children.

riod of political bickering will give rise to a new wave of violence in the political vacuum.

Iraq recount finds no wide fraud, affirms Sunni-backed bloc’s win

Woody Allen voices support of filmmaker Roman Polanski

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s electoral commission affirmed the narrow victory of a Sunni-backed bloc in the March vote after a partial recount undercut the Shiite prime minister’s claims of fraud in the tally. The result was a setback for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who came in second to former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi by a small margin. But his alliance with another Shiite bloc still gives him a strong chance of holding on to power for another four years. “I hope that all political blocs are satisfied now that the electoral process was honest and all allegations of fraud and forgery were totally incorrect,� electoral commission spokesman Qassim al-Abboudi told reporters after the results of a recount of votes for the capital Baghdad were announced. “According to the law, political blocks and candidates can appeal these results but we hope that no one will do that,� al-Abboudi said. The recount as well as other challenges to the March 7 election result have prevented the seating of the new 325-member parliament and raised fears that the extended pe-

CANNES, France (AP) — Woody Allen has restated his support for fellow filmmaker Roman Polanski, who is in house arrest in connection with a 33-year-old sex scandal. Allen said Polanski “was embarrassed by the whole thing,� “has suffered� and “has paid his dues.� He said Polanski is “an artist and is a nice person� who “did something wrong and he paid for it.� Polanski pleaded guilty in 1978 to unlawful sexual interALLEN course with a 13-year-old girl. He was taken into custody in September and is currently under house arrest in Gstaad, Switzerland. Earlier this week, new allegations surfaced when a British actress claimed Polanski had sexually abused her when she was 16. It was not clear whether Allen was aware of the new allegations when he made the remarks in an interview Saturday with France Info radio from the Cannes Film Festival.

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Atlantis arrived at the International Space Station for what could be its last visit, delivering fresh batteries and other equipment to help keep the outpost running long after the shuttle program ends. NASA has just two missions remaining, but some want to keep the shuttles flying until next June and to give Atlantis one last hurrah. Shuttle commander Kenneth Ham was visibly moved as he floated into the space station. He grabbed two of the station astronauts in a tight embrace. “It’s bigger than we remember and, speaking for myself, better than I remember,� Ham said. “I love this place.� The rendezvous by Atlantis was accompanied by considerably more picture-taking than

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All those fired from Rhode Island school back in under new deal land ‌ at a chronically troubled school, when just 7 percent of 11th-graders passed state math tests — 7 percent.â€? Details of the agreement were to be released following a ratification vote by the teachers at a meeting today. “Both the school district

and the union agree that while this has been a difficult process for everyone involved, the negotiations resulted in a newfound appreciation for shared responsibility,� said a joint statement from the union and the district.



Atlantis arrives at space station in what could be its final mission

Teachers rehired



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CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (AP) — A school district that gained the support of President Barack Obama for promoting accountability after it fired all its teachers from a struggling school announced on Sunday it had reached an agreement with the union to return all the current staffers to their jobs. The two sides said a transformation plan for Central Falls High School for the coming school year would allow the 87 teachers, guidance counselors, librarians and other staffers who were to lose their jobs at the end of this year to return without having to reapply. More than 700 people had already applied for the positions. The agreement also imposes a longer school day, more after-school tutoring and other changes. The board of trustees overseeing the school system in Central Falls, one of the poorest communities in the state, voted in February to fire the staff of one of the state’s worst-performing schools. The school was under a mandate from the state to make improvements, and it opted for the mass firings after a breakdown in talks with teachers about other reforms that would have required more work, some without extra pay. Obama, during a national address on education in March, said the firings were an example of the need for accountability over student performance. “So if a school is struggling, we have to work with the principal and the teachers to find a solution,� Obama said. “We’ve got to give them a chance to make meaningful improvements. But if a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn’t show any sign of improvement, then there’s got to be a sense of accountability.� He continued: “And that’s what happened in Rhode Is-

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DETROIT (AP) — If your credit isn’t good, General Motors Co. still wants to sell you a car. The problem is, it can’t. At least not in big numbers. That’s why the automaker wants more control over its lending again. GM’s top North American executive Mark Reuss, under pressure to quickly sell more cars and boost GM’s value as it gets ready to sell stock to the public, said a shortage of subprime lending is holding back sales in the U.S. But the automaker’s main lender, Ally Financial Inc., has little appetite for risky loans, having spent the last few years cleaning up its own financial mess caused mainly by its failing mortgage lending business. Both companies are majority-owned by the U.S. government. For decades, GM owned Ally, writing its own loans through the so-called captive finance arm. Nearly every automaker makes loans in such a fashion. But a cash-starved GM sold most of Ally — formerly known as GMAC — in 2006. GM and Ally now have a loose partnership that gives Ally control over who gets a car loan. If GM returned to auto lending — either through buying Ally’s auto business or starting its own lending unit — it could set lending standards itself. Honda Motor Co. gets 20 percent of its sales and leases from subprime buyers, but GM is only getting about 1 percent because it can’t make loans to those customers.

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