Israel

Deportation plan protested

A government plan to deport tens of thousands of African migrants has sparked an unexpected backlash from liberal Israelis and their American Jewish allies who say Israel — established in the wake of the Holocaust — should never be turning away those in need. The showdown could come to a head on April 1, when the state plans to start expelling Africans, some of whom have been in Israel for years and have children who know no other home, to an uncertain fate.

VATICAN CITY

Pope addresses Chile uproar

After coming under excoriating public criticism, Pope Francis decided Tuesday to send the Vatican’s most respected sex crimes expert to Chile to investigate a bishop accused by victims of covering up for the country’s most notorious pedophile priest. The Vatican said Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna would travel to Chile “to listen to those who have expressed the desire to provide elements” about the case of Bishop Juan Barros. The move marks the first known time the Vatican has launched a full-blown investigation into allegations of sex abuse cover-up, and it comes after Francis was harshly criticized for his unwavering defense of Barros.

Iran

American, wife sentenced

Iran has sentenced an Iranian-American art dealer and his wife to prison under a little-used law that can target dual nationals, a New York-based rights group said Wednesday, alleging their faith and Western ties made them the target of hard-liners. The convictions of Karan Vafadari and his Iranian wife, Afarin Neyssar, who are Zoroastrians, mark the latest case of Tehran imprisoning dual nationals and those with ties to the West after its nuclear deal with world powers. Vafadari was sentenced to 27 years in prison, while Neyssar received 16 years.

France

Guide allows chef to withdraw

In an unprecedented move, the Michelin guide allowed a three-star chef to withdraw his restaurant from its prestigious listings on Tuesday. Sebastien Bras had announced in September that he didn’t want Le Suquet restaurant in southern France to figure in the guide anymore because of the huge pressure involved. Michelin said it granted Bras’ request, and that his restaurant wouldn’t be listed in the 2018 edition of the guide to be unveiled next week. In a statement to the Associated Press, Bras praised Michelin for the move and said he would still be seeking “excellence.”

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires