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Cardinal George Pell at the County Court last month in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

An Australian judge has sentenced Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell to 6 years in prison for sexually abusing 2 choirboys in the late 1990s, reports the AP.

Details: Chief Judge Peter Kidd handed down the sentence to Pell, 77 — the most senior Vatican official to be convicted of sex abuse — on Wednesday from Victoria's County Court in Melbourne. He was convicted on 5 counts in a clandestine 5-week trial in December and has been ordered to serve a minimum of 3 years and 8 months before he is eligible for parole. He had denied the allegations and plans to appeal the convictions in June.

Go deeper: The stunning scale of the global Catholic sex abuse crisis

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
31 mins ago - Health

New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

New research is bolstering the case for delaying second doses of coronavirus vaccines.

Why it matters: Most vulnerable Americans remain unvaccinated heading into March, when experts predict the more infectious virus variant first found in the U.K. could become dominant in the U.S.

31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Rail's big moment is arriving

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Passenger rail could be the big winner if Congress moves ahead with President Biden's ambitious infrastructure plan.

Why it matters: There's long been bipartisan support for rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure, but under Biden, the focus has shifted to sustainable projects that fulfill both his climate and equity goals, such as rail transit.

Scoop: Schumer wants to freeze stimulus changes

Sen. Chuck Schumer. Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is privately saying he can pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus package but wants to avoid any last-minute changes jeopardizing its trajectory, three sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: While the president hoped to enlist Republican support for the measure, Schumer has worked to ensure he has a solid 50 votes to muscle it through if necessary. A parliamentary ruling Thursday improved his chances.