World and Nation

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Court faults Ireland in abuse case

DUBLIN — The European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday that a 48-year-old Irish woman was entitled to compensation for the government’s failure to protect her from sexual abuse as a child when she attended a publicly financed Roman Catholic primary school in the 1970s.

The ruling overturned a series of legal decisions by Irish courts over the past decade, which all found that the state could not be held responsible for inhuman and degrading treatment suffered by children in state-funded schools.

The Irish government had argued that, despite its having underwritten the school, its liability did not extend to the school’s management or the actions of its personnel. But the court found that there was an “inherent obligation of a government to protect children from ill-treatment, especially in primary education when they are under the exclusive control of school authorities, by adopting special measures and safeguards.”

It noted further that Ireland “had to have been aware of the level of sexual crime against minors through its prosecution of such crimes at a significant rate prior to the 1970s.”

Legal commentators said the judgment not only opened the door for hundreds of other similar cases in Ireland but also could pave the way for actions in other European states where the education systems rely on similar managerial structures.

—Douglas Dalby, The New York Times

Anti-apartheid figure joins South A

A prominent black South African anti-apartheid activist joined forces with the main opposition party on Tuesday and announced her candidacy in the next presidential election, giving the party, the Democratic Alliance, its first black candidate to challenge the African National Congress, which has dominated political life in South Africa since the end of apartheid 20 years ago.

It is unclear whether the activist, Mamphela Ramphele, a medical doctor, academic, business executive and former World Bank managing director, whose attempts at establishing her own party had foundered, has much of a chance of beating President Jacob Zuma, the ANC’s candidate, in the election, expected to be held this spring.

But Ramphele, 66, whose partner, the black activist Steve Biko, was killed in 1977 while in police custody, could inject new life into the Democratic Alliance’s efforts to whittle away the large majority that the ANC has had for years. The party has worked hard in recent years to shed its largely white image, choosing up-and-coming black politicians as leaders and appealing to urban black voters fed up with poor government services.

Ramphele would be South Africa’s first female president if she wins the election, which will be the first national referendum on the ANC’s performance since the death of Nelson Mandela, the father of post-apartheid South Africa and its first black president, on Dec. 5 at the age of 95.

—Rick Gladstone, The New York Times

Top Re

WASHINGTON — The House Republican leadership’s broad framework for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws will call this week for a path to legal status — but not citizenship — for many of the 11 million adult immigrants who are in the country illegally, according to aides who have seen the party’s statement of principles. For immigrants brought to the United States illegally as young children, the Republicans would offer a path to citizenship.

But even before the document is unveiled, some of the party’s leading strategists and conservative voices are urging that the immigration push be abandoned, or delayed until next year, to avoid an internal party rupture before the midterm elections.

“It’s one of the few things that could actually disrupt what looks like a strong Republican year,” said William Kristol, editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, calling an immigration push “a recipe for disaster.”

The statement of principles criticizes the U.S. higher education system for educating some of the world’s best and brightest students only to lose them to their home countries because they cannot obtain green cards; insists that Republicans demand that current immigration laws be enforced before immigrants in the U.S. illegally are granted legal status; and mentions that some kind of triggers must be included in an immigration overhaul to ensure that borders are secured first, said Republican officials who have seen the principles.

—Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker, The New York Times

22 deaths in P

Pennsylvania officials warned residents Monday about a dangerous batch of heroin that has caused 22 deaths.

The state’s attorney general, Kathleen G. Kane, said that the overdose deaths were most likely caused by a mix of heroin and fentanyl, a strong pain medicine.

“Together, these drugs are creating an extremely dangerous and potentially lethal combination for users,” Kane said in a statement.

The deaths occurred in Pittsburgh and several surrounding counties, officials said. The heroin was placed in small bags stamped with the words Theraflu, Bud Ice and Income Tax.

The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office in Pittsburgh reported on Friday that three people had died from overdoses of a strong form of heroin in 48 hours. The number of deaths continued to rise over the weekend.

Mayor William Peduto of Pittsburgh warned residents about the deadly heroin on Saturday after four more overdoses and another fatality in the city. “Those who are in possession of this potent formula are in danger of losing their lives,” he said. “It will kill you. The danger cannot be overstated.”

Peduto told a local television station that the outbreak was not just an urban problem. “Heroin doesn’t pick and choose by class or by race,” he said. “If somebody has an addictive personality and they get into heroin, then they’re stuck.”

—Emma G. Fitzsimmons, The New York Times