Italian authorities arrested 68 people, including a priest and the head of a huge Catholic volunteer group, “Mercy,” and accused them of being in cahoots with a major mafia clan that allegedly skimmed millions in public funds destined for asylum-seekers at a welcome center in southern Italy. Source The Seatle Times
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Saudi security forces foiled an attack on the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca on Friday, state television Al-Ekhbariya and Al Arabiya TV reported. Source Reuters
Turkey rejected a call from four Arab states on Friday to shut down its military base in Qatar, saying the base was a guarantor of security in the Gulf and demands for its closure represented interference in its ties with Doha. Source Reuters
The European Central Bank pulled the plug on two troubled Italian banks, sending them into insolvency proceedings and pushing ahead with efforts to clean up weak banks holding back the economy. The two banks, Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza, have struggled to overcome high levels of loans that were not being paid back.Source ABC