PARIS

French gunman’s brother charged, denies aiding him

A Frenchman suspected of helping his brother plot attacks against Jewish schoolchildren and paratroopers has been handed preliminary murder and terrorism charges.

But Abdelkader Merah denied any role in the attacks. Investigators looking into France’s worst terror attacks in years believe Merah helped his brother Mohamed prepare for the killings, and are investigating whether they were linked to an international network of extremists or worked on their own.

Abdelkader’s lawyer said he feels like “a scapegoat.” He will remain in custody pending further investigation.

Mohamed Merah, 23, claimed responsibility for killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers earlier this month. After a 32-hour standoff with police, he died Thursday in a hail of gunfire as he jumped out a window of his apartment in Toulouse.

SANTIAGO, Chile

Quake rocks buildings and raises coastal alarm

A magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck central Chile Sunday night, the strongest and longest that many people said they had felt since the huge quake that devastated the area two years ago. There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

The quake struck at 7:30 p.m. about 16 miles north-northwest of Talca, a city of more than 200,000 people where residents said the shaking lasted about a minute.

Buildings swayed in Chile’s capital 136 miles to the north, and people living along a 480-mile stretch of Chile’s central coast were briefly warned to head for higher ground. That warning was called off shortly after an analysis showed the quake wasn’t the type to provoke a tsunami.

SILAO, Mexico

Pope tells thousands to use faith against nation’s ills

Pope Benedict XVI urged Mexicans to wield their faith against drug violence, poverty and other ills, celebrating Sunday Mass before a sea of hushed worshippers beneath a blazing sun in the highlight of his Mexican visit.

Many in the crowd said they were gratified by Benedict’s recognition of their country’s problems and said they felt reinvigorated in what they described as a daily struggle against criminality, corruption and economic hardship.

Benedict delivered the message to an estimated 350,000 people in the shadow of the Christ the King monument, one of the most important symbols of Mexican Christianity, which recalls the 1920s Roman Catholic uprising against anti-clerical laws that forbade public worship.

FALLS CHURCH, Va.

Doctors doubt favoritism in Cheney heart transplant

Doctors say it is unlikely that former Vice President Dick Cheney got special treatment when he was given a new heart at age 71 that thousands of younger people also were in line to receive.

Still, his case reopens debate about whether rules should be changed to favor youth over age in giving out scarce organs. Time on the waiting list, medical need and where you live determine the odds of scoring a new heart — not how many years you’ll live to use it.

Cheney received the transplant Saturday at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church. It appears he had been on the waiting list about 20 months.

“We have done several patients hovering around age 70” although that’s about “the upper limit” for a transplant, said Dr. Mariell Jessup, of the University of Pennsylvania.

— From news service reports