PAKISTAN

Influential chief justice has retired

Pakistan's controversial chief justice, who helped oust President Pervez Musharraf and broaden human rights even as critics accused him

of overstepping his mandate, retired Wednesday.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who turned 65 on Thursday, is credited with strengthening the judiciary and making it a force to be reckoned with. But he was also instrumental in the resignation of the popularly elected Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

"He was instrumental in making the Supreme Court powerful but couldn't deliver on much-needed judicial reforms or in clearing the backlog of cases," said political commentator Raza Rumi. "He remained committed to constitutional rule. But the conduct of the Supreme Court under him undermined the role of parliament and the cabinet." - Los Angeles Times

ITALY

Coalition survives

Italian Premier Enrico Letta's reconstituted governing coalition comfortably survived confidence votes Wednesday that were called after Silvio Berlusconi jumped to the opposition. The Letta government easily won the votes in both the upper and lower chambers of parliament with the backing of a new center-right party that split from Berlusconi.

- AP

GERMANY

Anne Frank sapling

A sapling cloned from the tree that lifted Anne Frank's spirits while she hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam has been felled and stolen from outside a school in Frankfurt bearing the name of the Jewish teenage diarist. Spokesman Manfred Fuellhardt said Wednesday the 8-foot tree was felled over the weekend in the grounds of the Anne Frank School. The original tree blew over in a storm in 2010.

- AP