International

Flash flood hits hikers in gorge

in southern Italy; 8 dead

MILAN (AP) — Heavy rain flooded a gorge filled with hikers Monday in the southern region of Calabria, killing at least eight, Italy’s civil protection agency said. At least another five were missing.

The prefect’s office said 23 people were rescued from the flash flood in the Raganello Gorge. They included a 10-year-old boy treated for hypothermia who was among seven that the civil protection agency said were hospitalized.

It was unclear how many people were missing but there were at least 36 hikers in two organized groups inside the 7 ½-mile-long gorge, a popular aquatic trekking spot. TV images show rescuers scaling down the side of a steep rock face to bring hikers to safety.

Guides are not required, making it impossible to know how many people were on their own inside the canyon.

“The problem is we don’t know how many people were knocked over by this flood,” Carlo Tansi, the head of civil protection in Calabria, told Sky TG24. “This is a split in the terrain that is very tight and high.”

Pope: No effort spared to fight abuse,

but offers no details

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis vowed Monday that “no effort must be spared” to root out priestly sex abuse and cover-up from the Catholic Church, but gave no indication that he would take action to sanction complicit bishops or end the Vatican culture of secrecy that has allowed the crisis to fester.

In a letter to Catholics worldwide following damning new revelations of misconduct in the U.S., Francis sought to project a get-tough response to the perpetrators and a compassionate shoulder for victims ahead of a fraught trip to Ireland this weekend.

Francis begged forgiveness for the pain suffered by victims and said lay Catholics must be included in the effort to root out abuse and cover-up. He blasted the clerical culture that has been blamed for the crisis, with church leaders more concerned about their own reputations than the safety of children.

But he made no reference to what the Vatican plans to do, saying only: “We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future.”

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