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News digest: Police to quiz suspects over Maddy case

By Staff Reporters

Police are likely to interview "several suspects" in the near future over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, it was reported.

British police have spent the last week searching an area of scrubland close to where she went missing in the Algarve holiday resort seven years ago.

It was reported on Friday that Scotland Yard has been granted permission from the Portuguese authorities to question three suspects about the case.

But the BBC claimed Portuguese police said more than three people will be interviewed. They would conduct the interviews in the presence of British officers, who would not be allowed to intervene in questioning them, the BBC said.

Pope hosts peace prayers summit

Pope Francis has welcomed the Israeli and Palestinian Presidents to the Vatican for an evening of peace prayers just weeks after the last round of US-sponsored negotiations collapsed.

Israeli President Shimon Peres was the first to arrive at the Vatican hotel where Francis lives, to be followed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The unusual prayer summit was a feat of diplomatic and religious protocol, organised in the two weeks since Francis issued the surprise invitation from Manger Square in Bethlehem.

It is taking place in the Vatican gardens in the shadow of St Peter's Basilica, the most religiously neutral place in the tiny city-state, and will incorporate Jewish, Christian and Muslim prayers, delivered in Hebrew, English, Arabic and Italian.

The prayers include a focus on seeking forgiveness for past wrongdoing and praying to God to bring peace to the region.

Francis, Mr Peres and Mr Abbas are also expected to shake hands and plant an olive tree. Officials have described the prayer evening as something of a "time-out" in political negotiations, designed to rekindle the desire for peace through prayers common to all faith traditions in the Holy Land.

Released GI tortured by Taliban

The US soldier released by the Taliban after five years has told military officials that he was tortured, beaten and held in a cage by his captors in Afghanistan after he tried to escape.

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is being treated at a US military medical facility in Germany following his release a week ago.

The New York Times has reported that Sgt Bergdahl is not yet emotionally prepared to return to his family.

His release in exchange for five Taliban militants from Guantanamo Bay has ignited a political firestorm and sparked a debate over whether the 28-year-old should be given a hero's welcome or punished as a deserter.

His home town of Hailey, Idaho, abruptly cancelled plans for a welcome home celebration on Wednesday, citing security concerns.

FBI spokesman William Facer said: "The FBI continues to monitor the situation in Hailey, Idaho. We are taking each threat seriously." Mr Facer did not describe the nature of the threats.

Egypt's new President pledges better future

Egypt's new President has told his people it is time to build a more stable future and called on them to work hard so that their rights and freedoms may grow.

Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a former military chief who ousted Egypt's first freely elected leader last July, was addressing a ceremony held at a presidential palace in Cairo hours after he was sworn in by the Supreme Constitutional Court.

"It is time for us to build a more stable future and pen a new reality for the nation's future," he said.

Human remains found inside large crocodile

Police have found human remains inside a large crocodile that is believed to have snatched a man from a boat in a popular national park.

Police found the remains inside a 15ft 5in saltwater crocodile that park rangers shot while searching for a 62-year-old man who was attacked in Kakadu National Park yesterday.

Northern Territory Police were told the man was on a boat with his wife, son and daughter-in-law when the crocodile snatched him.

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