WashingtonSupreme Court refuses to hear Roe vs. Wade challenge

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear Arizona’s challenge to the court’s Roe vs. Wade decision and its protection for a woman’s right to choose abortion through the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Without comment, the justices turned down Arizona’s appeal of a lower-court ruling that blocked a law that would have limited legal abortions to 20 weeks. Last year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the law from taking effect on grounds that it conflicted with Roe vs. Wade.

Similar laws have been adopted in 12 other states.

Court may limit presidential Senate recess appointments

The Supreme Court hinted Monday that it may move to limit a presidential power used since George Washington to fill high-level vacancies during Senate recesses.

An Obama administration attorney ran into sharp skepticism from justices while defending the presidential power, granted in the Constitution, to bypass the Senate and make recess appointments when lawmakers are not in session.

Use of the power has become more controversial in recent decades as both Republican and Democratic presidents have clashed with Senates controlled by the opposing party. â–º The Obama administration says many of its nominees to agencies and courts in recent years have been blocked by Republican filibusters for political reasons. Republicans say Democrats did the same thing during the Bush administration. â—„ In recent times, most presidents have relied at one point or another on recess appointments to break partisan deadlocks and install their nominees temporarily. But Monday’s oral arguments were the first time the law has been debated at the Supreme Court.

The case calls on the court to decide whether the Constitution allows the president to circumvent the Senate when it refuses to confirm his nominees, and what exactly constitutes a recess.

Iran negotiator reveals side agreement in nuclear deal

Key elements of a new nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers are contained in an informal, 30-page text not yet publicly acknowledged by Western officials, Iran’s chief negotiator said Monday.

Abbas Araqchi disclosed the existence of the document in a Persian-language interview with the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency.

The new agreement, announced over the weekend, sets out a timetable for how Iran and the six nations, led by the United States, will implement a deal reached in November that is aimed at restraining Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

When officials from Iran and the world powers announced that they had completed the implementing agreement, they didn’t release the text of the deal, nor did they acknowledge the existence of an informal addendum.

In the interview, Araqchi referred to the side agreement using the English word “nonpaper,” a diplomatic term used for an informal side agreement that doesn’t have to be disclosed publicly.

The nonpaper deals with such important details as the operation of a joint commission to oversee how the deal is implemented and Iran’s right to continue nuclear research and development during the next several months, he said. DALLAS

Officials to probe why jet landed at wrong airport

Federal officials will investigate why a Southwest Airlines flight landed Sunday at the wrong airport in southwest Missouri, coming safely to a screeching stop on a shorter runway about seven miles from its intended destination in Branson.

Southwest Flight 4013, with 124 passengers and a crew of five, left Chicago’s Midway International Airport bound for Branson Airport then on to Dallas. But the plane, a Boeing 737-700 landed instead at Taney County Airport, also known as M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport, according to a statement from the airline.

The airline gave no reason for why the plane landed at the second airport, which does not usually handle bigger jets because it has shorter runways than those at Branson Airport.

LONDONPope decries abortion as sign of wasteful modern culture

LONDON — Pope Francis decried abortion Monday as a sign of a wasteful modern culture that treats goods and people, including unborn children, as easily discarded commodities.

In the annual papal “state of the world” speech delivered to diplomats, Francis said the denial of human dignity was a threat to world peace, and cited the problems of hunger among the have-nots and food waste among the haves.

“Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as ‘unnecessary.’ For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day,” the pope said, according to excerpts released by the Vatican.

He added the use of children as soldiers and human trafficking to the list of crimes committed against the world’s young.

The comment on abortion was one of the few instances that Francis has addressed the issue in his 10-month-old papacy.

—From news service reports