World News

Second Suspect Taken into Custody in Thailand Shrine Bombing


NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images(BANGKOK, Thailand) -- A second suspect in the deadly bombing at a Thailand shrine last month has been arrested, the Thai prime minister announced on Tuesday.BBC News reports that the suspect was taken into custody in the Sa Kaeo province near the Thai border with Cambodia. A foreign individual was arrested over the weekend in connection with the explosion that killed more than 20 people.Officials have not released information identifiying the suspects.BBC News says that it is not clear whether either of the two in custody are the prime suspect, seen on a security camera leaving a backpack at the shrine shortly before the bombing.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Rare Supermoon Lunar Eclipse Coming This Month


A perigee full moon or "supermoon" is seen on Aug. 10, 2014, in Washington. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)(NEW YORK) — There will be an extra special show in the night sky this month when a rare supermoon lunar eclipse will occur for the first time since 1982.The cosmic event will take place on the night of Sept. 27 when two periodic events — supermoons and lunar eclipses — will happen at the same time, making for a rare coincidence.A supermoon occurs when a full moon happens when it is at the closest point in its elliptical orbit around Earth, making the full moon appear up to 14% larger and brighter than usual. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes into Earth's shadow, often turning a blood red color.The partial lunar eclipse is set to begin at 9:07 p.m. ET and will be visible to most people in the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, according to EarthSky.org. The total lunar eclipse begins at 11:11 p.m. ET.You won't want to miss this event. The next supermoon lunar eclipse won't come around until 2033.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fake Syrian Passports a Way Out for the War-Weary Fleeing to Europe


Sean Gallup/Getty Images(LONDON) — A number of migrants arriving in Turkey hoping to reach Europe are purchasing fake Syrian passports in order to claim asylum at the end of their journey, the head of the European border management agency Frontex told French radio Tuesday.“There is a traffic of Syrian passports,” Fabrice Leggeri told Europe 1, “because it’s extremely lucrative for smugglers.”Syrian citizens are legally entitled to refugee status in any European country because of the civil war in their country.Those using fake passports, Leggeri said, are mainly from North Africa or the Middle East, migrating for economic reasons. But he admitted that authorities do not have a complete picture of those migrating to Europe."We have an idea of nationalities but we don't have full profiles," Leggeri said.Asked by the radio host whether terrorists could be reaching Europe, Leggeri said, "It is not impossible but we are extremely vigilant."Overall, the number of illegal crossings at European borders since January has gone up 175 percent, according to Frontex, reaching an estimate number of 340,000 individuals arriving in the European Union. The number only reflects people who are being registered, Leggeri said, adding that not all migrants are being registered because of the volume.About 88,200 of those making their way to the E.U. are Syrians, according to the latest International Organization for Migration figures, which is more than the next four countries of origin put together.Greece has become the principal port of entry for many migrants and refugees over recent weeks: 234,778 people have arrived in Greece as of Tuesday, compared with 114,276 in Italy. The Hungarian Interior Ministry said Tuesday that around 142,000 people had requested asylum in Hungary, including 45,000 migrants from Syria. In Macedonia, about 1,500 migrants are waiting to cross the border and head north toward to Germany, Austria and Scandinavian countries.To deal with this ongoing humanitarian crisis, the head of Frontex said Europe urgently needs more border patrol officers, especially in the Greek islands. Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

UN Releases Iraq Casualty Figures for August


Romanista/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- More than 1,300 Iraqis were killed and nearly 2,000 more were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in August, according to the latest data from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq.In total, UNAMI says, 585 Iraqi civilians were killed and 1,103 more were hurt. Additionally, 740 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed, with 708 more wounded."With the steadily increasing number of casualties, internally displaced persons, and the alarming rate of Iraqis fleeing war, persecution and poverty to seek refuge abroad, the successful implementation of the government reform plan will be a paramount to restore order, legality and social justice in the country and renew confidence in the fair participation of all in the society," said Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General Jan Kubis.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pope Francis: Priests Can Absolve Women Who Have Had Abortions


neneos/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(ROME) -- In a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Pope Francis on Tuesday decided to allow priests to absolve women who have had abortions."One of the serious problems of our time," the pope wrote, "is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life," he added."I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion," the letter continues. "I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal."As part of the upcoming holy year, Pope Francis said that "the forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented." "For this reason...I have decided...to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness of it."The pope added that priests can offer absolution by "expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Satellite Photos Reveal ISIS' Destruction of Temple of Bel in Palmyra


On Left: 27 August image (before destruction): “Airbus DS, UNITAR-UNOSAT” On right: 31 August image (after destruction): “UrtheCast, UNITAR-UNOSAT”(PALMYRA, Syria) -- Confirmation from the United Nations on Monday that ISIS destroyed a historic site in Syria.Satellite photos from the UN have confirmed ISIS detonated explosives in Palmyra on Sunday, destroying the Temple of Bel.“We can confirm destruction of the main building of the Temple of Bel as well as a row of columns in its immediate vicinity,” said the UN's training and research agency Unitar.The Temple of Bel is the most significant monument in Palmyra and one of the most significant in all of Syria.ISIS has destroyed sites and items of historic importance recently including tombs and last week's destruction of a small temple.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

What Canada Thinks About Building Wall on Border


iStock/Thinkstock(OTTAWA, Canada) -- Scott Walker said in an NBC interview published Sunday that the idea of building a wall along the U.S. border with Canada is a “legitimate issue” worth reviewing, when asked about the potential risk of terrorists using unpatrolled borders to cross into the United States undetected.So what does Canada think of the idea of constructing a wall along the longest shared land border in the world?A spokesperson for the Canadian Embassy responded to ABC News with this fact: “No terrorists have been successful in attacking the United States coming through the Canadian border.”Christine Constantin, the spokesperson for embassy, points out that “all the terrorists responsible for 9/11 were in the United States with visas issued by the U.S. government.”“The Canada-US Border is jointly managed through strong information sharing and intelligence cooperation between our two countries,” Constantine continued, listing off a laundry list of shared intelligence gathering techniques that includes automated visa information sharing and a shared log of non-citizens who cross along the shared U.S.- Canada border that stretches over 1,500 miles.And in between the official entry border crossing points, Constantine said there are joint Canadian-US law enforcement teams that share intelligence across land and sea to snuff out any cross-border criminal activity that may occur.Walker’s comments on the Canadian border came in response to a question from NBC News’ Chuck Todd, who asked Walker if the U.S. should consider building a wall along the northern border amid calls by some Republican presidential candidates to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico."Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire," Walker told Todd. "They have raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that's a legitimate issue for us to look at."Walker’s campaign spokesperson AshLee Strong has since said that Walker was not advocating that a wall be built but that he was responding to Todd’s question in saying that he has heard concerns from other people about the security of the border.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Antenna on Trump Tower in Toronto 'Swaying'


Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- Trump Internation Hotel and Tower in Toronto is causing some traffic problems.Downtown Toronto is suffering from heavy traffic near Bay Street, Toronto's version of Wall Street, after roads were closed because of reports that Trump Tower's antenna was unstable.According to Toronto police, the hotel staff called in their concerns, saying it looked like the antenna was "swaying." One witness said it looked like it was moving 4 feet in either direction.Engineers and police in the area are investigating.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

President Obama Says He's Hurt When People Call Him Anti-Semitic


Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama revealed he is personally hurt when people call him anti-Semitic due to the nuclear deal with Iran in a recent interview with Forward, a Jewish American news site.“So does it hurt you personally when people say that you’re anti-Semitic?” Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of Forward, asked the president.“Oh, of course. And there’s not a smidgen of evidence for it, other than the fact that there have been times where I’ve disagreed with a particular Israeli government’s position on a particular issue,” Obama said. “If you care deeply about Israel, then you have an obligation to be honest about what you think, the same way you would with any friend. And we don’t do anybody, any friend, a service by just rubber-stamping whatever decisions they make, even if we think that they’re damaging in some fashion.”“The people I’m close to, the people who know me, including people who disagree with me on this issue, would never even think about making those statements,” he said. “These are hard issues, and worthy of serious debate. But you don’t win the debate by suggesting that the other person has bad motives. That’s I think not just consistent with fair play; I think it’s consistent with the best of the Jewish tradition.”In a FOX News interview earlier this month, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson suggested the president used “anti-Semitic” themes in his speech promoting the Iran deal.“I think anything is anti-Semitic if it’s against the survival of a state that is surrounded by enemies and by people who want to destroy them and to sort of ignore that and to act like everything is normal there and that these people are paranoid is anti-Semitic,” Carson said.The majority of the president’s interview with Forward focused on the Iran deal, but Obama did offer some insight into his go-to bagel order“I was always a big poppy seed guy,” Obama said when asked about his favorite bagel flavor. The president noted that when he attended Columbia, he would walk to H&H Bagels on the weekends to get a bagel.And what does the president like on his bagel? “Just a schmear,” he said. “Lox and capers are okay, but generally just your basic schmear.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Missing GW Student Last Seen Swimming in South Africa During Study Abroad


Jessica McConnell Burt/GW(WASHINGTON) -- A student from George Washington University has disappeared while studying abroad in South Africa this past weekend, the school confirmed.Nicholas Upton is a junior at the school and is currently studying at a partner program in Cape Town.He has not been seen since he went swimming in the Eastern Cape Province on Sunday evening local time, GW University Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said in a statement.Konwerski said that local authorities are conducting the search and updating both the U.S. embassy and Upton's family."We are closely monitoring this situation and are in touch with his family," Konwerski's statement read. "We continue to hope and pray for Nicholas’ safe return."Upton, who is originally from Redding, Conn., is a part of the George Washington rowing team and is a member of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity, according to ABC News affiliate WJLA-TV.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

EXCLUSIVE: Pope Francis Holds Virtual Audience with Americans in ABC News Event


ABC News(THE VATICAN) -- Pope Francis participated in a virtual audience today with Americans from around the country during an event hosted exclusively with ABC News. The event was moderated from inside the Vatican by ABC News’ "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir, as the pontiff engaged via satellite with individuals from three different groups: students at the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago’s inner city, congregants from a McAllen, Texas, church located near the U.S.-Mexico border and homeless men and women and those working with the homeless in Los Angeles. The event will air in a one-hour special edition of ABC News’ "20/20" on Friday, Sept. 4 at 10 p.m. ET. In addition, the event will be posted in its entirety in both English and Spanish on ABCNews.com. The event coincides with the pope’s upcoming visit to the United States, scheduled for later this month, when Francis is expected to travel to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27. The pope’s U.S. trip includes a meeting with President Obama at the White House, an address in front of a joint-meeting of Congress, an address at the U.N. General Assembly in New York and a "multi-religious service" at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. His trip will conclude in Philadelphia at the World Meeting of Families, a global event organized by the Catholic Church that focuses on strengthening family bonds. Event organizers expect up to two million people to attend the pope’s closing mass. Only three other reigning popes have ever visited the United States: Paul VI in 1965, John Paul II, who traveled to the country seven different times, and Pope Benedict XVI, who visited in April 2008. Born in Argentina, Francis, 78, is the first Latin American and first Jesuit to lead the Roman Catholic Church. He succeeded Benedict in 2013, and since then the pontiff has won wide acclaim for his modern views on religion, his hands-on work with the less-fortunate and his acceptance of the LGBT community.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New Horizons Probe Gets Its Next Flyby Target After Pluto


NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker(NEW YORK) — New Horizons has passed Pluto but the space probe's work isn't done yet.NASA has selected a potential new target for New Horizons to fly past located nearly one billion miles beyond the dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt, an area beyond Pluto's orbit of the Sun that is the largest structure in the planetary system, with more than 100,000 miniature worlds ripe for exploration.Before New Horizons reaches the Kuiper Belt object, known as 2014 MU69, a proposal will have to be evaluated by an independent team of experts before the flyby is officially approved."While discussions whether to approve this extended mission will take place in the larger context of the planetary science portfolio, we expect it to be much less expensive than the prime mission while still providing new and exciting science," John Grunsfeld, chief of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement.The object was chosen in part for its location. It will cost less fuel to reach it than other candidates, leaving more fuel for New Horizons to conduct other science opportunities.New Horizons conserved energy by taking naps on its 3 billion mile journey to Pluto. The spacecraft may have enough power for two more decades of exploration, according to NASA.The piano-sized probe is equipped with a battery that converts radiation from decaying plutonium into electricity. New Horizons loses about a few watts of power each year, according to NASA, but is estimated to have as much as 20 years left in its life expectancy.It will spend the next year and few months transmitting data from back to Earth from its July 14 encounter with Pluto, with the information being categorized by low, medium and high priority. It will likely make its last transmission in October or November of next year, officials said.Launched in January 2006 on a 3 billion mile journey to Pluto, New Horizons "phoned home" after its Pluto flyby, indicating that it had successfully navigated just 7,700 miles from the dwarf planet. It later sent back the first high-resolution images of Pluto's surface.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Violent Clashes Outside Parliament in Kiev


SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images(KIEV, Ukraine) -- Violent clashes erupted in Ukraine's capital city Monday as demonstrators there protested constitutional amendments being discussed by lawmakers.Police in riot gear hurled stun grenades and smoke bombs into the crowds, and at least 10 police officers were injured in the clashes.The parliament is discussing amendments that would grant greater autonomy to Ukraine’s regions, including pro-Russian separatist territories in the east.Some have said the amendments won’t go far enough, while many of those demonstrating are opposed to the changes, which they view as surrendering to Russian pressure.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ISIS Destroys Part of the Temple of Bel in Palmyra


iStock/Thinkstock(PALMYRA, Syria) -- ISIS destroys another historic site in Syria.According to Aljazeera, ISIS blew up part of the historic Temple of Bel in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra on Sunday, detonating more than 30 tons of explosives.ISIS originally gained control of Palmyra in May, and has continued to destroy items of historical importance including tombs and statues.The ancient city is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Vancouver Suffers Record Wind Storm and Flooding


iStock/Thinkstock(VANCOUVER, Canada) -- Vancouver braces for flooding after the city cleans up from the worst wind storm in nearly a decade.Toppling trees all over the Vancouver-area, a wind storm's record high winds left 400,000 homes without power, one woman with life-threatening injuries after a tree fell on her, and another woman injured when a street light fell onto her car's windshield.One resident in the area, Mike King, said his car was crushed by a tree."I heard the crack, looked up, stepped back 2 feet, and in slow motion she just fell over," King said.More heavy rain was expected Sunday as officials reportedly asked people to clear sewer drains.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Three Al Jazeera Journalists Sentenced to Jail in Egypt


fotokon/iStock/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- Three journalists were sentenced to three years in prison in Egypt on Saturday, in what their employer is calling "another deliberate attack on press freedom."Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy will return to prison after the ruling and colleague Peter Greste was sentenced though he had been deported earlier this year. "It is a dark day for the Egyptian judiciary," Al Jazeera's statement continued. "Rather than defend liberties and a free and fair media, they have compromised their independence for political reasons."The media network called for the release of its journalists, as well as urging "everyone to continue the fight for freedom of speech, for the right of people to be informed and for the right of journalists around the world to be able to do their job."The men, according to Al Jazeera News, had been accused of not registering with Egypt's journalist syndicate, bringing equipment into the country without approval, broadcasting false information and using a hotel as a broadcasting point without permission.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Watch the Sky for a 'Supermoon'


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's a bird, it's a plane, it's supermoon!Remember to stop and look at the sky Saturday night to witness one of the biggest and fullest moons of the year -- known as a "supermoon."A supermoon occurs when a full moon or new moon is closest to Earth and comes within 224,834 miles of us, which will happen six times this year, according to earthsky.org.But if you miss the supermoon, don't worry. The next one is just one month away, on Sept. 28.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tropical Storm Erika Moving Across Haiti


iSTock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Erika may be losing steam.As of Friday evening, Tropical Storm Erika was 25 miles southwest of Port au Prince and dumped rain on Haiti causing mudslides and flooding.The storm is moving toward the west at 21 mph with maximum sustained winds at 45 mph, but it's expected to slow, according to the National Hurricane Center.So far, Erika has caused multiple deaths on many islands, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for the state before the storm hits.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Japan Passes Bill Requiring Companies to Set Goals for Hiring Women


Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- There may soon be more women executives in Japan.On Friday, Japan's upper house passed a bill requiring companies with more than 301 employees to set numerical targets for the hiring of female employees and managers.According to The Wall Street Journal, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the efforts allowed the country to "move forward onto a new stage" at the World Assembly for Women conference in Tokyo.The approved legislature comes during a time for Japan when the economy is slow and the country's population is shrinking.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Senior ISIS Member Killed by Drone Strike Inside Syria


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The U.S. military says it had killed Junaid Hussain, a senior ISIS recruiter and cyber specialist during a drone strike in Syria.Hussain's death was confirmed in a tweet from Brett McGurk, the Deputy Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.Hussain is believed to be a computer expert and propagandist for terror group, which is known for its effective use of online recruitment. Hussain was tied to the Garland, Texas cartoon contest shooting this past May. Prior to the attack one of the gunmen posted a statement on social media urging others to follow Hussain on Twitter.Hussain is also believed to be responsible for producing ISIS “kill lists,” calling on people to target specific Americans.Hussain's death marks one of a number of the ISIS leaders recently killed by US airstrikes. The group's most senior leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, remains at large.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

What We Know About the Latest Deaths in European Migrant Crisis


Antonio Melita/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Hundreds of people are feared dead off the coast of Libya in the latest shipwreck of migrants desperately trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe.“We are still waiting for more details, but we have learned there were 400 migrants on one of two boats; 100 have already been rescued," the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) Chief of Mission for Libya, Othman Belbeisi, said in a news release Friday.At least 100 bodies were taken to a hospital in Libya, the IOM said.Libyan authorities "are expecting to receive another 150 survivors Friday. The rest of the people are still missing in the sea," Belbeisi said.Here is what you need to know about the latest victims in the ongoing European migrant crisis:Who are they?Of the 100 people already saved, nine were women and two were girls, Belbeisi said.The bodies recovered included five children, ages between 1 and 3, according to the IOM.Where are they from?The IOM said, "according to media reports from Libya, victims included migrants from Syria, Bangladesh and several sub-Saharan African countries, although he explained the information could not be independently verified."Zuwara, on the coast of Libya, is a major launch pad for the thousands of people fleeing poverty and persecution. Zuwara's coastline spans 120 kilometers.Why are more people dying overall?"Smugglers are becoming increasingly violent and cruel," Federico Soda, director of IOM’s Coordinating Office for the Mediterranean in Rome, said in a release by IOM. "Migrants are forced to stay in the hold, where they asphyxiate."Migrants in the Mediterranean, by the numbers:This was just the latest in many unsuccessful attempts for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean in hopes of reaching Europe.This year so far, about 2,432 migrants have died while traveling to Europe, according to IOM.Migrant deaths in the Mediterranean region account for about 72 percent of global migrant deaths so far in 2015, according to the Missing Migrants Project.ABC News Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

American's First Thought During Train Attack Was 'Just Trying Not to Die'


Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- U.S. serviceman Alek Skarlatos, who helped stop a gunman on a Paris-bound train last week, said his first thought was "just trying not to die."Recalling on ABC News' Good Morning America Friday what ran though his mind when he first saw the gunman and realized his life was in danger, Skarlatos said, "I immediately recognized what was happening, and I just thought, ‘There is just no way. There is no way this is happening right now.’”"Then we just acted, and I didn’t have another conscious thought for the next two minutes,” he continued.Skarlatos, 22, an Army National Guardsman assigned to an infantry unit in Roseburg, Oregon, was on vacation in Europe with his friends after a tour in Afghanistan. Skarlatos, Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, 23, of Carmichael, California, and Anthony Sadler, 23, a senior at Sacramento State University in California, were among the train passengers last Friday when they helped stop a man armed with guns and a box cutter who had started firing.Skarlatos said as he, Salder, Stone and British businessman Chris Norman worked together to subdue the gunman, "Everybody behind the terrorist just ran back about two or three cars. And then everybody in our train car either helped out in some way or just kind of sat there in shock."Skarlatos described his initial decision to jump in and help as a "gut reaction,” noting that his military training didn't kick in until later."We were just acting on adrenaline and doing what we had to do to survive," he said. "Once we were able to think again, that was kind of when training kicked in, but before that, we were just trying not to die.”After the train was stopped and the gunman was in custody, he said the magnitude of the event still hadn't hit him."I thought they would just question us and then put us on the next train to Paris," Skarlatos said. "I didn’t think it was going to be this big at all."And when Skarlatos finally returned to the United States this week, he was shocked to see law enforcement officers at the airport lining up to shake his hand."I was so grateful to everybody that showed up for that. That was just amazing," he said. "That many law enforcement officers showing up ... it meant a lot to me."While Skarlatos and Sadler escaped the attack without injury, their friend Stone underwent surgery to reattach his thumb after the gunman slashed him with the box cutter. Stone was released from a French hospital then taken to Germany for further medical treatment."He’s still stuck in Ramstein, but he’s doing great," Skarlatos said on Friday of Stone. "He's in high spirits. He just couldn’t be here today, unfortunately."Skarlatos doesn't know what's next for him, but said, "I’m probably going to go back to Germany and hang out with Spencer."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Former Archbishop Accused of Sexual Abuse Dies Awaiting Trial


ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images(ROME) -- The first Vatican official set to stand trial for sex abuse died in Rome Friday. Disgraced former Archbishop Josef Wesolowski was a high-ranking Vatican diplomat accused of paying young boys for sex in the Dominican Republic, where he was ambassador for five years. His trial inside the Vatican was set to begin earlier this summer but was postponed at the last minute when he became ill. He was to be tried under a new court system, set up by Pope Francis for Vatican sex offenders.Wesolowski was recalled to Rome more than two years ago after authorities began investigating the Polish priest for allegedly picking up shoeshine boys and handing them stacks of cash to perform sex acts on him.After a year of living in Rome, the Vatican moved to defrock him. During that time, Wesolowski used his computer to access child pornography. He was facing charges for that, as well.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.