| 9.6°C Dublin

Vatican bank row surprise

A VATICAN official says he is "truly surprised" that the Bank of Italy ordered credit card payments suspended in the tiny city-state and insists the Vatican has taken adequate measures to fight money laundering.

The Vatican has been cash-only since January 1 after Italy's central bank compelled Deutsche Bank Italia to stop providing electronic payment services to the Holy See.

That has meant visitors to the Vatican Museums and post office have had to pay cash for tickets and other transactions.

Nuclear plant future unclear

A FEDERAL appeals panel in New York is poised to hear arguments over whether Vermont's only nuclear power plant can continue to operate without approval from state regulators.

The case has drawn attention across the country since last year. A federal judge ruled that the plant can continue to operate even without state approval.

The judge had said safety issues at stake in the dispute are solely the responsibility of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Powell warns Republicans

FORMER US Secretary of State Colin Powell said his own Republican Party is having "an identity problem".

The former Joints Chief of Staff chairman, who twice endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president, tells NBC's Meet the Press that in recent years there has been "a significant shift to the right", and that has produced two losing presidential campaigns.

He said the party needs to "take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed" and that if the party does not change, "they're going to be in trouble".

President sacks judge

SRI Lanka's president signed a decree to dismiss the country's chief justice, the official government website has said.

The move came after Parliament voted to remove the chief justice in a widely criticised impeachment process.

It was the final step to dismiss Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake by the government following a bitter dispute with the judiciary.