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World news in brief

13 March 2015


Ransom note seeks cash for Vatican documents

THE Vatican has received a ransom note from someone claiming to be able to return two stolen historic documents written by Michelangelo. Pope Francis's press secretary, Fr Federico Lombardi, confirmed on Sunday that a cardinal in charge of St Peter's Basilica had received the message, but said that the offer had been declined. Both documents had been stolen from the Vatican archives, but the theft had not previously been made public. Il Messaggero reported that the sum requested was €100,000.

Death sentence for governor's murderer upheld

THE Islamabad High Court in Pakistan has upheld the death sentence for Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard convicted of the murder of the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, in 2011. Mr Taseer was murdered because of his opposition to the blasphemy laws and his support for Asia Bibi (News, 20 February). The Court's decision surprised some commentators, who expected the sentence to be relaxed because of popular support for Mr Qadri. The judge who first sentenced Mr Qadri to death was driven to leave Pakistan by threats from Islamists.

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