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New Iraqi Christian leader accuses Arab Spring of ‘promoting bloodshed’

The newly appointed patriarch of Iraq’s largest Christian community said on Saturday that the Arab Spring had been hijacked by narrow interests and had promoted tension and bloodshed. Asked about the impacts on Christians of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East that eventually led to the ouster…

Bulgarian Roma face division between Christians and Muslims

Nothing illustrates better the arrival of a new wave of Islam among Roma in Bulgaria’s southern town of Pazardzhik, whose imam Ahmed Mussa is on trial for spreading radical ideology, than the appearance of women in niqabs. “I’ve covered like this for the past two, three years to keep myself…

Chavez’s continuing disappearance leaves Venezuela in suspense

Hugo Chavez vanished from public view two months ago Sunday, with Venezuela still in suspense over its political future despite assurances its cancer-stricken president is getting better and back in charge. The latest information on Chavez’s condition came Friday from Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who read a message from the…

Pope receives Knights of Malta for 900th anniversary

Pope Benedict XVI met with around 4,000 members and volunteers of the Order of Malta at the Vatican on Saturday in a special ceremony marking 900 years since the famous crusading order was placed under papal protection. The order was created to provide care for poor and sick pilgrims to…

Egyptian court orders YouTube block over ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film

A court in Egypt on Saturday ordered that video-sharing website YouTube be blocked for a month for hosting an anti-Islam film that triggered deadly outrage across the Muslim world last year. The court ruled the authorities must take measures to block access to the site for a month, after a…

Protests erupt after India hangs Kashmiri separatist convicted of attacking parliament

A Kashmiri separatist convicted of involvement in a deadly 2001 attack on the Indian parliament was executed on Saturday in New Delhi — triggering protests on both sides of the border in disputed Kashmir. Hundreds of demonstrators rallied near the family home of Mohammed Afzal Guru in northern Indian Kashmir…

Europeans learn they may have been eating ‘horsemeat lasagne’ for the last seven months

French frozen food supplier Comigel told the Findus brand that “the contamination” of processed beef products with horsemeat could date back to August 2012, Findus said in a statement Saturday. “Findus want to be absolutely explicit that they were not aware of any issue of contamination with horsemeat last year,”…

7.0 magnitude earthquake in Colombia felt as far away as Quito, Ecuador

A 7.0 magnitude quake shook southern Colombia Saturday and was felt as far away as Quito, Ecuador, authorities said. The quake, occurring at a depth of 129 kilometers (80 miles) at 1416 GMT, was located 11 kilometers (7 miles) southwest of Pasto, Colombia, a city of 400,000 people at the…

‘Hitler’s Pope’ revealed as a secret friend to Holocaust victims

Pope Pius XII helped Jewish refugees to hide from the Nazis, claims new book Pius XII has long been vilified as “Hitler’s pope”, accused of failing publicly to condemn the genocide of Europe’s Jews. Now a British author has unearthed extensive material that Vatican insiders believe will restore his reputation,…

‘Shackleton’ expedition stranded by wild weather

Two adventurers attempting to recreate an epic 1916 Antarctic expedition by Ernest Shackleton were Saturday stranded on a plateau above a glacier after wild weather hit the final leg of their journey. British-Australian expedition leader Tim Jarvis and mountaineer Barry Gray were stuck at Shackleton’s Gap, but had assured their…

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