S.C. gov. faces impeachment

COLUMBIA, South Carolina — State legislators upset with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's disappearance to see his lover in Argentina began a monthslong process on Tuesday that could ultimately remove the two-term Republican from office.

The panel of the state House Judiciary Committee that's debating impeachment discussed his five-day absence in June and problems related to it, including the failure to put someone in charge of the state while he was gone.

"He left his post, he left his state. He left his country without notifying anyone in authority," said state Rep. Greg Delleney, a fellow Republican.

The governor's lawyer said in a later statement that those don't constitute "a serious crime or serious misconduct in office that has corrupted the system of government in South Carolina."

Alaska diocese settles over abuse by priests

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks and representatives of almost 300 alleged victims of clergy abuse have agreed on a settlement of almost $10 million.

The agreement was discussed Tuesday at a status hearing in federal bankruptcy court and will need to be finalized. The deal could be completed by mid-January.

Plaintiffs' attorney Ken Roosa said some of the payoff would be put aside to pursue as much as another $100 million from two of four insurance companies for the diocese that have balked in court at paying on behalf of the church. The rest would be divided among alleged victims, depending on the severity of abuse.