10 things you need to know today: April 25, 2015

Omar Havana / Getty Images

The Week

1.Hundreds dead after massive 7.8 earthquake strikes Nepal
A powerful earthquake on Saturday struck Nepal near the capital Kathmandu, killing hundreds of people and leaving extensive damage across the area. Rescuers are picking through the rubble in search of survivors, and the death toll, which rapidly rose to around 900 in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, is expected to rise further. The death toll includes eight killed on Mount Everest by a quake-triggered avalanche. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated the initial quake’s magnitude at 7.8, with at least 15 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or above.

Source: The New York Times, CNN

2.Bruce Jenner: ‘I’m a woman’
Famed Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner on Friday came out as transgender in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer and said he is transitioning from male to female . “For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman,” Jenner said. “Bruce lives a lie,” the 65-year-old Jenner added. “She is not a lie. I can’t do it anymore.” Jenner said his struggle with gender identity began as a child when he would try on his mother’s clothing, and it continued in private for decades even as he became a masculine icon while winning gold in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. In recent months, tabloid rumors abounded surrounding Jenner’s then-alleged transition.

Source: ABC

3.Baltimore police admit to errors in Freddie Gray arrest
Baltimore’s police commissioner on Friday conceded that officers made mistakes in their handling of Freddie Gray, the unarmed black man who died last weekend of a severe spinal injury while in custody. “We know that police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner,” Commissioner Anthony Batts said, adding that 30 investigators are probing the incident. “If someone harmed Freddie Gray, we wil have to prosecute him,” Batts said. As they have all week, demonstrators took to Baltimore’s streets Friday to protest the incident.

Source: USA Today

4.Eric Holder leaves Justice Department after 6 years
Eric Holder on Friday stepped down from the Justice Department after a six-year tenure, one day after the Senate finally voted to confirm Loretta Lynch as his replacement. “I’m going to miss you,” Holder said in his farewell speech. “I am going to miss this building. I am going to miss this institution. More than anything, I am going to miss you all.” Holder announced his resignation in September, but agreed to stay on until a successor was in place.

Source: The Associated Press

5.Hillary Clinton calls for change in ‘deep-seated’ abortion beliefs
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday took a forceful stance on abortion rights, calling for a change to “deep-seated” cultural and religious standards on the issue. Clinton made the remark during her keynote address at the annual Women in The World Summit in New York. “Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper,” she said. “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

Source: The Hill

6.Statue of Liberty evacuated over bomb threat
The Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island, and Ellis Island were all evacuatedFriday after the U.S. Park Police received a bomb threat. Coming in the form of a pre-recorded message, the threat to blow up the iconic tower claimed there was some device hidden inside a locker at Liberty Island. Bomb squads that searched the area found no evidence to support the threat, and the sites were reopened.

Source: CBS

7.Hawaii poised to raise smoking age to 21
Hawaii on Friday passed a bill that would raise the legal smoking age to 21 while also banning the sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes for anyone under that age limit. If Democratic Gov. David Ige signs the bill — he has yet to indicate whether he will — Hawaii would become the first state in the nation to raise its smoking age to 21. “The activities we’ve engaged in over the years to manage smoking — our additional efforts in education, the raising of cigarette taxes — this is a continuation of those policies,” Democratic state Senator Rosalyn Baker told Reuters.

Source: Reuters

8.Scientists discover massive magma chamber beneath Yellowstone
Researchers have discovered a previously unknown magma reservoir below a supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park. The chamber, which is about 28 miles beneath the earth’s surface, contains about 11,200 cubic miles of magma — or enough to fill the Grand Canyon almost 14 times. Scientists from the University of Utah discovered the chamber by usingearthquake data to create a 3D map of the ground beneath the volcano. The researchers hope that studying the chamber will help scientists better understand the timing of the volcanic cycle and magma’s movements.

Source: The Guardian

9. Abercrombie & Fitch to tone down sexuality
Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. on Friday announced it would tone down the sexuality in its stores and advertising. Known for its lightly clad models, the company said it would no longer hire staff based on “body type or physical attractiveness,” and that “Brand Representative” would replace “Model” as the title for its salespeople. The shift comes amid a steep falloff in sales for the company over the past few years. “We are focused on the future not the past, and there is complete alignment that these are the right changes,” A&F brand president Christos Angelides said.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

10.Starbucks stores back online after computer glitch
Starbucks locations around the country reopened Saturday after a widespread computer failure forced thousands of stores to close one day prior. Roughly 7,000 stores in the U.S. and 1,000 in Canada temporarily closed down following what the company called a “failure during a daily system refresh.” Some stores, unable to process orders, simply handed out free cups of coffee to would-be paying customers.

Source: The Denver Post

Farewell To The Great Eric Holder: Loretta Lynch Has Big Shoes To Fill

Image via Nathan O’Neal and ASU Cronkite School

I couldn’t agree more…

Addicting Info

Although I am excited for Loretta Lynch to assume the position of Attorney General after months of intentional delay from childish Republicans, I have to say that I will certainly miss Eric Holder, a champion of equality and a fair justice system for all.

Eric Holder, the first African-American to hold the position of Attorney General, served for six years in what he called the “golden age” of the Justice Department. And why shouldn’t Holder’s tenure be regarded as such? In a country that is rapidly evolving on gay and lesbian rights and coming to grips with the very real phenomena that is systemic racism in our justice system, Holder and his team have been at the forefront to bring about much needed change in the way our laws are executed.

There is no denying that Eric Holder will go down in history as a powerful proponent of the rights to our LGBT citizens . Over four years ago, against the recommendations of Washington lawyers, Holder and the justice department announced their office wouldno longer support the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act which denied federal benefits for same-sex married couples and defined a marriage as being between only a man and a woman. Last year, the Department of Justice expanded the federal recognition of same-sex marriages when it came to federal legal matters which included bankruptcies, prison visits and survivor benefits. At the time, 34 states had not recognized same-sex marriage, but that didn’t stop Holder and his department from doing the right thing:

“It is the (Justice Department’s) policy to recognize lawful same-sex marriages as broadly as possible, to ensure equal treatment for all members of society regardless of sexual orientation,” Holder said.

Then, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in the cases against DOMA and Prop 8, Holder called same-sex marriage and the equal rights of LGBT Americans the “next civil rights issue.” The first time any Attorney General had taken such a stance. His evolving nature, from DOMA supporter to LGBT advocate, shows that anyone in power, no matter how high up, can realize that discrimination is wrong.

But his fight against discrimination in America doesn’t stop with the LGBT community. When the Supreme Court notoriously gutted the Voting Rights Act, the landmark piece of legislation that protected African-Americans from discrimination in the south, Holder was fuming. And rightfully so. However, the decision by the Supreme Court did not, in any sense, deter Holder from protecting one of the most sacred rights we as Americans have: The right to vote. Writing for AL as a guest editor:

Since the Court’s ruling, we have used the remaining provisions of the Voting Rights Act to fight back against voting restrictions in states throughout the country.  In Texas, we have sought to block as discriminatory a strict photo identification law and two statewide redistricting plans.  In North Carolina, we brought suit to enjoin a sweeping election statute that imposes a very restrictive voter identification requirement, reduces early voting opportunities, and eliminates same-day registration during early voting.  And in Ohio, Wisconsin, and on behalf of Tribal Nations in Montana and South Dakota, we have supported plaintiffs challenging a wide array of voting restrictions under the Voting Rights Act.  We have also successfully litigated cases to protect the right of military and overseas voters to register and vote by absentee ballot in federal elections.

The Justice Department is also working hard outside the courtroom.  We dispatch federal monitors to polling places around the country, in a fair and nonpartisan manner, to ensure that every voter can cast his or her ballot free of intimidation, discrimination, or obstruction.

While Democrats in blue states make it easier to vote, red states continue to make it harder to vote. At least they try to. But tanks to the ongoing effort and commitment to equality in the Holder Justice Department, conservative attempts to stifle voting has be getting harder and harder.

Racial issues don’t stop with the Voting Rights Act. In fact, America’s problem with systemic racism is infused within the justice system, both federally and non-federally. From Michael Brown to Eric Garner, Holder and the DOJ made it a priority to thoroughly investigate any possibility of policy brutality on black Americans. Just last year, Holder denounced what he feel are examples of “codified segregation” in public schools, discriminatory school policies that affect black males, and a spike in prison population most likely do to latent racism in the War on Drugs. Regarding the racism embedded in the War on Drugs, Holder, in his farewell address to DOJ, said:

“We are a nation that incarcerates too many people for too long and for no good law enforcement reason. It is time, it is time to change the approaches that we have been using these past 30-40 years.”

These are all very real issues that need to be at the forefront of our political and social discourse. We are lucky to have had an Attorney General who stood up and talked so freely and truthfully on these important issues. From LGBT rights to voting rights to immigration rights, Eric Holder dedicated himself to making the United States more equal, fair, and just for all.

Loretta Lynch has some very big shoes to fill.

AUTHOR:

Obama and Bill Nye rip climate deniers in Congress using ‘I’m not a scientist’ excuse

President Barack Obama interviews 'Science Guy' Bill Nye in a video released by the White House on April 24, 2015. [YouTube]

President Barack Obama interviews ‘Science Guy’ Bill Nye in a video released by the White House on April 24, 2015. [YouTube]

 The Raw Story

President Barack Obama asked “Science Guy” Bill Nye how to promote science education in a video released by the White House on Friday, while also taking a shot at lawmakers who have argued against the existence of climate change.

“When I see members of Congress being part of the climate-denier clubs and basically stiff-arming what we know are facts — and not rebutting them with other facts but rebutting them with anecdote or just being dismissive,” Obama said before Nye interjected.

“‘Oh, I’m not a scientist,’” Nye said, sarcastically repeating a common conservative argument against the phenomenon.

“I’m not a scientist, either, but I know a lot of scientists,” Obama replied. “I have the capacity to understand science. The capacity to look at facts and base my conclusions on evidence. Part of shifting our political culture I think, is we’ve gotta model for our kids that facts matter.”

Nye also encouraged the president to promote “science every day in every grade,” calling it a huge opportunity.

“Teaching science [at] elementary level is very inexpensive,” he said. “We fight these surprising problems about reading and arithmetic and standards problems and so on, it seems like a very solvable problem. We have to invest in the elementary grades.”

“Part of it is also, I think, our culture has to support and elevate science,” Obama said, adding, “Sometimes what we see in the popular culture is, if not a denigration then not an emphasis on science.”

Nye told CNN before the video was posted that the White House asked him to join Obama in the Florida Everglades to film the video.

“[Obama] knows I’m like-minded when it comes to the environment,” Nye said. “He didn’t bring in Marc Morano or somebody like that. I think it’s cool.”

Morano, who has been featured on Fox News on several occasions, is a blogger whose parent organization, Climate Depot, has ties to the oil industry. On Wednesday, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld argued that global warming was a trumped-up threat because the president and the former TV host flew there on Air Force One.

Watch Obama’s discussion with Nye, as posted by the White House on Friday, below.

Cop Ignores 911 Call To Eat Lunch, Woman Dies

This is obviously an exception to the rule.   I’ve been on the receiving end of an emergency call on more than one occasion and I have nothing but praise for the Police and Fire Department personnel who arrived promptly and administered first aid or monitored vital signs until a family member was transported to the hospital…

Addicting Info

On March 13th, a woman in Lee County, Florida tried calling 911 because she was having a medical emergency. She was having difficulty talking, and was later found passed out in her driveway. Per policy, 911 issued an order to the nearest deputy on duty, Yvan Fernandez, to check on the call and to see if the person was in trouble.

Deputy Fernandez was not going to let an emergency call get between him and lunch, however. So he sat and enjoyed his meal at Raider’s Pizza and Wings on Palm Beach Boulevard. When another deputy came to join him for lunch half an hour later, that deputy was then asked by Fernandez to check on the call first.

When that deputy arrived, they found the woman passed out, with neighbors who described her as “being covered with ants.” Fernandez finally arrived over an hour after the call, his stomach full, but it was already too late.

As a result, the Lee County Sheriff’s office has now fired Deputy Fernandez for his conduct.

Sheriff Mike Scott had this to say after announcing the now-former Deputy’s termination:

He made a decision at that moment of time that his lunch and what he had on his personal plate, pun intended I suppose, was more important than that 911 call.

Could we have saved this lady? I’ll never be able to answer that question. Would getting there quicker have hurt anything? Of course not.

In his own defense, Fernandez claimed to have attempted to call the woman several times, to no response. The restaurant would have understood, and likely put his lunch order on hold for him to take care of the call. That extra step of diligence is often times the line between life or death. Even if the call were nothing, it would have cost him nothing.

Now, he has to live with this on his permanent record. But does he feel guilt over what happened? Only he can answer that.

This lack of care for the community they are sworn to protect is systematic of the police nationwide. From Ferguson to Lee County, the failure to view themselves as part of the fabric of the community is rendering the law enforcement of this nation illegitimate. Perhaps it is time we looked, as a society, into eliminating the very idea of a law enforcement career entirely.

Our founding fathers had the right idea, by integrating law enforcement as a volunteer role, like the watchmen of old. When those who enforce our laws for the community do not view themselves as part of the community, the damage that happens to the fabric of society cannot be measured by statistics or facts, but by the way society behaves. In many places across our nation, we no longer view our police as protectors, but enforcers of their own will. This pattern is clear in this case.

Deputy Fernandez got off lighter than the woman whose cries for help he ignored. How many more Deputy Fernandez’s are out there, we wonder.

Tensions Boil Over After Baltimore Police Call Protesters “Lynch Mob”

Informed Comment – Juan Cole

Demonstrators still seeking answers over the mysterious and troubling death of Freddie Gray, who died of a spinal injury while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department, circled City Hall on Thursday after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that he had called in state troopers to help quell the protests.

Anger seems to be reaching a boiling point. On Wednesday, the Baltimore Police Union issued a statement comparing the peaceful demonstrators to a “lynch mob”—the irony of which has only inflamed tensions.

RT has a live-stream of the growing demonstration.

“While we appreciate the right of our citizens to protest and applaud the fact that, to date, the protests have been peaceful, we are very concerned about the rhetoric of the protests,” the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 said in a statement.

“In fact,” the statement continues, “the images seen on television look and sound much like a lynch mob in that they are calling for the immediate imprisonment of these officers without them ever receiving the due process that is the constitutional right of every citizen, including law enforcement officers.”

Daily demonstrations have grown since Sunday, when news broke that Gray, a 27-year-old black man, had died from his injury a week after he was arrested. The protesters are seeking answers and accountability for a tragedy which is being compared with other recent incidents of police brutality against people of color.

During the Thursday protest, demonstrators raised their arms in the air in the “hands up don’t shoot” gesture that became a symbol of the uprisings that followed the killing of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last August.

Earlier in the day, Maryland State Police spokesman Sgt. Marc Black confirmed to the Baltimore Sun that 32 troopers “with expertise in crowd control” had arrived in Baltimore to “be in place for help whenever the Baltimore City Police department asks.”

Images from the protest is being shared online under the hashtag#FreddieGray.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Via Commondreams.org

ACA scores big on customer satisfaction

Pedro Rojas holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, before the Feb. 15th deadline on Feb. 5, 2015 in Miami, Fl. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty)

Pedro Rojas holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, before the Feb. 15th deadline on Feb. 5, 2015 in Miami, Fl. | Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty

The Maddow Blog

When the Affordable Care Act’s Republican critics were making all kinds of dire predictions about the inevitable “failures” of “Obamacare,” one of the charges was that American consumers will end up hating the coverage they receive through the reform law.
And for those ACA detractors looking for something, anything, to bolster their contempt for the law, I’m afraid I have more bad news: Americans who received coverage through Obamacare tend to be quite pleased with the results.
Obamacare customers nationally also tended to be more satisfied with their plans bought in 2014 than people who primarily have traditional job-based health coverage – the majority of those with insurance – the study by the J.D. Power market research company found.
And those customers from last year were as happy with their coverage as other people who had multiple choices when it came to buying plans outside Obamacare markets from insurers or brokers, according to the J.D. Power report, which was released Thursday.
The full market-research report is available online here.
This is obviously just one study, and other analyses may draw other conclusions, but let’s not forget that this isn’t the first evidence we’ve seen pointing to high customer-satisfaction rates for those who buy coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
Politico reported back in November: “A majority of Americans give good reviews for insurance they recently acquired through government exchanges within the past year, a new poll shows. With the second round of Obamacare enrollment set to begin on Saturday, 71 percent said their coverage through the exchanges was good or excellent, according to a Gallup poll released Friday. Another 19 percent said the coverage was fair, while 9 percent rated it poorly.”
As for why ACA customers are pleased, Sarah Kliff had a good explanation.
The J.D. Power survey … shows that people with employer-sponsored coverage who have “multiple plan options” have the exact same satisfaction rating as the people on Obamacare. And this might actually circle back to the cost issue. People shopping on Obamacare have the option to decide whether they want a plan with a high premium or a low one. Shoppers have typically gravitated toward the lower-cost premium. The average monthly premium on Healthcare.gov is $374. For people getting coverage at work, the average premium is $464.
What this data suggests is that health-care shoppers seem to be okay with a trade-off: they like the idea of selecting a lower-premium plan, even if it might mean incurring higher out-of-pocket costs down the line – and are more satisfied customers as a result.
As for the ACA predictions Republicans got right, I still haven’t found one.

Dallas Cops Killed A Man Within Seconds Of Arriving At His Door. They Won’t Face Criminal Charges.

Ebola

Attribution: None

Think Progress

Two Dallas officers who shot a schizophrenic, bipolar man holding a screwdriver within 20 seconds of arriving at his family’s doorstep last June will not be indicted.

Jason Harrison’s mother called 911 because her mentally ill son was off his medication and acting out. In a video captured by a body camera, she greets the officers outside the house, informing them that her son is “acting off the chain.” Harrison stands in the doorway holding a small screwdriver, and Officers John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins point their firearms in his direction and tell him to drop the object. Within a matter of seconds, the two officers shoot Harrison five times, as his mother screams “Oh, you killed my child!”

The grand jury made its decision on Thursday, but a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Harrison’s family is pending.

Watch the video here…  Warning…contains disturbing imagery.

To indict a cop, a grand jury must believe there was probable cause to commit a crime. But police officers rarely face criminal charges in cases involving deadly force, in part because prosecutors who work with the same officers every day have reason not to prosecute their colleagues.

10 things you need to know today: April 24, 2015

The Weinstein family house in Rockville, Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The Week

1.Obama apologizes as U.S. reveals two hostages killed in drone strike
President Obama apologized Thursday for the deaths of a kidnapped American aid worker — Warren Weinstein — and an Italian hostage — Giovanni Lo Porto — in a CIA drone strike targeting al Qaeda militants in Pakistan. The strike occurred in January. CIA officials had conducted hundreds of hours of surveillance at the site. They asserted at the time that only al Qaeda fighters were at the targeted buildings near the Afghan border, and only realized weeks later that the hostages had been killed.

Source: The Washington Post

2.Senate confirms Loretta Lynch as attorney general
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as attorney general. The 56-43 vote, with 10 Republicans backing Lynch, made her the first African-American woman to hold the position. Republicans were eager to have someone in the job to replace Holder, and did not challenge her qualifications, but many in the GOP were angered by her support for President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. She was nominated in November. Only two other attorney generals have taken longer to be confirmed.

Source: The New York Times

3.Comcast to drop $45 billion offer for Time Warner Cable
Comcast is dropping its $45 billion bid to take over Time Warner Cable, according to a person familiar with the confidential deliberations. An announcement is expected Friday. Comcast and Time Warner declined to comment on Thursday. U.S. regulators reportedly opposed the proposed deal — Comcast and Time Warner are the nation’s two largest cable companies. The Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission had questioned whether the deal was in the public interest, and the FCC reportedly planned to recommend a hearing before an administrative judge that could have blocked a deal.

Source: Reuters

4.Petraeus sentenced to probation for leaking secrets
Former CIA director David Petraeus, a retired four-star Army general, was sentenced to two years of probation, and fined $100,000 after pleading guilty to leaking classified information to his biographer, Paula Broadwell, while they were having an extramarital affair. The fine was more than double what prosecutors requested. “Today marks a 2½-year ordeal because of mistakes I have made,” said Petraeus, who once commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I want to apologize for the pain my actions caused.”

Source: USA Today

5.Michael Brown’s family files wrongful death lawsuit
The family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen fatally shot by a white Missouri police officer, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Thursday. The suit asks for more than $75,000 in punitive and compensatory damages, saying that the officer, Darren Wilson, “unjustifiably shot and killed” Brown, and was not acting in self-defense, as he claimed. A grand jury declined to prosecute him. A Ferguson spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Source: CNN

6.Students injured when stage collapses at Indiana high school
Two dozen students were injured, one critically, Thursday night when astage collapsed during a musical performance at an Indiana high school. The student performers had gathered on a platform at the front of the stage at Westfield High School for the finale of the American Pie rock and roll review when the surface gave way, sending the singers tumbling into the orchestra pit. Witnesses rushed in to lift pieces of the stage and get the students out of the pit.

Source: Indianapolis Star

7.Student publicly accused of rape sues Columbia
A Columbia University student, Paul Nungesser, publicly accused of rape by a fellow student filed a federal discrimination lawsuit on Thursday, saying the school failed to protect him from what he said was a campaign of harassment by the other student, Emma Sulkowicz. She has carried a mattress around campus as a protest, calling her action artistic expression and making it her senior thesis. The university cleared Nungesser, who says that the sex was consensual, of responsibility for the alleged rape. The lawsuit accuses the New York City school of being an “active supporter” of Sulkowicz’s “defamation” of him.

Source: The New York Times

8.German president calls mass killings of Armenians genocide
German President Joachim Gauck on Thursday described the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks as “genocide,” altering his country’s position as Armenia marks the centennial of the World War I-era atrocities. The U.S. sent Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to the commemoration events, but President Obama has avoided using the term genocide to refer to the killings. Turkey rejects the term genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and the dead were killed in civil war.

Source: The Associated Press, USA Today

9. Five players ejected for Royals vs. White Sox brawl
Five players were ejected after a bench-clearing brawl during a game between the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday night. The conflict began when Yordano Ventura fielded a ground ball in the bottom of the seventh inning, and appeared to shout obscenities at the hitter, Adam Eaton. The players approached each other after Ventura threw to first base and Eaton was called out, and their teammates rushed onto the field.

Source: Sports Illustrated

10.Native American actors walk off Adam Sandler movie set in protest
About a dozen Native American actors and a cultural advisor have walked off the set of Adam Sandler’s latest film, The Ridiculous Six, calling the satirical Western’s script insulting to women and the Apache culture. The complaints included Native women’s names deemed offensive, including Beaver’s Breath and No Bra, and a scene in which an Apache woman character squats and urinates while smoking a peace pipe. Actor Loren Anthony, a member of the Navajo Nation, said he had been promised the movie was not racist, but he left Wednesday after “things started getting weird on the set.”

Source: Indian Country Today

Terror suspects planned Vatican attack, Italian authorities say

AP

WGN-TV

MILAN (AP) — An Italian prosecutor says Islamic extremists suspected in a bomb attack in a Pakistani market that killed more than 100 people had also planned an attack against the Vatican in 2010 that was never carried out.

Prosecutor Mauro Mura told a press conference in Cagliari, Sardinia, on Friday that wiretaps indicated the suspected terrorists were planning a bomb attack at the Vatican and that a suicide bomber had arrived in Rome.

Mura said the attack plans never went further and that the suicide bomber left Italy, though it wasn’t clear why. He said the wiretaps gave “signals of some preparation for a possible attack.”

Italian police said Friday they were making arrests of 18 suspected extremists, including two purported bodyguards for Osama bin Laden, who allegedly staged attacks in Pakistan and sought to topple the Pakistani government.