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Immunity invoked, U.S. recalls envoy

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand authorities said they're unable to investigate a case involving a U.S. Embassy worker based in Wellington after the U.S. government invoked diplomatic immunity.

Police said Saturday that they responded to an incident in Lower Hutt near Wellington early on March 12. They said the American had left the scene before police arrived and that nobody was taken into custody. In their statement, police declined to release further details but said they're keeping the investigation open.

On Monday, police asked New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to seek a waiver from the U.S. so police could investigate, according to the ministry. But the ministry said the U.S. declined that request Friday.

The ministry said in a statement that it then asked the U.S. Embassy to remove the man from New Zealand.

A U.S. Embassy official said Saturday that the man had left New Zealand but declined to provide the man's name or any details about the investigation.

Pope lines up visit to Egypt in April

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis will visit Egypt in late April, reflecting improved Vatican-Muslim dialogue after years of tension that developed during the previous papacy of Benedict XVI.

The Vatican said Saturday that details of the April 28-29 trip will be announced soon.

In Egypt, presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said the visit to the majority Muslim nation comes in response to an invitation from President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who met Francis when he visited the Vatican in late 2014.

The Vatican said the pope had received invitations from Catholic bishops in Egypt, Coptic Orthodox Church leader Pope Tawadros II and the grand imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque, Sheik Ahmed el-Tayyib.

In May, the imam visited the Vatican, where the pope embraced him. That meeting was seen as reopening Catholic-Muslim dialogue after Al-Azhar had frozen relations with the Vatican. The freeze was triggered by demands by Benedict in 2011 for greater protection of Christians in Egypt after a bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria that killed 21 people.

Peruvian rain toll in '17: 72 people

LIMA, Peru -- The intense rains, overflowing rivers, mudslides and flooding in the country are the worst seen in in two decades, Peruvian authorities said Saturday, as the death toll since the beginning of the year rose to 72 people.

Prime Minister Fernando Zavala on Saturday updated the number of dead people to 72 in comments to radio station RPP.

The rains have overwhelmed the drainage system in the cities along Peru's Pacific coast, and the Health Ministry has started fumigating around the pools of water that have formed in the streets to kill mosquitoes that carry diseases like dengue.

Lima has been without water service since the beginning of last week. The government has deployed the armed forces to help police keep order in the 811 cities that have declared emergencies.

A Section on 03/19/2017

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