Nation/world digest 11/30/05

FCC Cable, satellite TV could face indecency fines

WASHINGTON -- Sexed-up, profanity-laced shows on cable and satellite TV should be for adult eyes only, and providers must do more to shield children or could find themselves facing indecency fines, the nation's top communications regulator says. "Parents need better and more tools to help them navigate the entertainment waters, particularly on cable and satellite TV," Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin told Congress on Tuesday. Martin suggested several options, including a "family-friendly" tier of channels that would offer shows suitable for kids, such as the programs shown on the Nickelodeon channel. He also said cable and satellite providers could consider letting consumers pay for a bundle of channels that they could choose themselves -- an "a la carte" pricing system.

Virginia governor stops 1,000th execution

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia's governor on Tuesday spared the life of a convicted killer who would have been the 1,000th person executed in the United States since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. Robin Lovitt's death sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole a little more than 24 hours before he was to be executed by injection tonight for stabbing a man to death with a pair of scissors during a 1998 robbery.

France tightening immigration controls

PARIS -- French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announced tightened controls on immigration Tuesday as part of his government's response to the nation's worst civil unrest in four decades. Authorities will better enforce requirements that immigrants seeking 10-year residency permits or French citizenship must master the French language and integrate into society, he said.

Vatican defends ban on homosexual priests

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican defended a policy statement designed to keep men with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies from becoming priests, but said there would be no crackdown on gays who are already ordained. The Vatican document, the first major policy statement of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy, was officially released Tuesday after being leaked earlier. Conservatives have said it may help reverse the "gay culture" of many U.S. seminaries, while liberal critics complain the restrictions will create morale problems among clergy and lead to an even greater priest shortage in the United States.

Bank employees arrested in record Irish heist

DUBLIN, Ireland -- Two Northern Ireland bank employees were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of involvement in the robbery of their Belfast bank, raising questions about whether the British-record $50 million theft last year could have been an inside job. Chris Ward, 24, and a 22-year-old woman whom police refused to identify were being held at the Northern Ireland police's central interrogation center in Antrim, west of Belfast, where under anti-terrorist laws they could be held for up to a week before being charged or released.

-- From wire reports