World Bulletin / News Desk
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and a long-standing ally of President Vladimir Putin, on Sunday urged the Kremlin to be moderate in new legislation seeking stricter punishment for religious offences.
The pro-Kremlin United Russia party proposed a law introducing jail terms for offending religious feelings after a protest against Putin's increasingly close ties with the Church by punk band Pussy Riot in Moscow's main cathedral in February. Two members of the band are in prison for the protest, which Kirill has called part of a coordinated attack intended to thwart the post-Soviet revival of Russia's dominant church.
In remarks published on the eve of Russian Orthodox Christmas, Kirill, who has likened Putin's long rule to a "miracle of God", told the Interfax news agency that Russia needed stiffer punishments for offences against religion. "A fine of several hundred roubles (about $10) for blasphemous inscriptions on a church, a mosque or a synagogue signals that society does not fully realise the importance of protecting ... religious feelings of believers," he said.
Anti-Semitism has remained a big problem in Hungary, home to one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe.
20,730 foreign fighters, including about 11,000 people from the Middle East, went to Iraq and Syria.
Unemployment is major challenge for Sisi, thousands seek jobs in Libya despite violence and chaos.
Until now, Israel has denied the deaths and injuries.
After the tropical storm Madagascar's government appealed for international aid.
Kathrin Oertel also stepped down, citing media pressure.
After U.S. bans first choice, Iran names new U.N. ambassador as Gholamali Khoshroo.
Under the new Saudi king, relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran are expected to remain unchanged as their rivalry in the Middle East region continues, say experts.
Natives of the war-torn Syrian city are impatiently waiting to return their old homes but realities on the ground could prevent them from leaving immediately.
Prolonged process of setting up an Afghan Cabinet continues after parliament rejects president's choices.
Israeli FM said Israel should be responded to harshly and disproportionately, just as China or the U.S. would in similar circumstances.
Belgian politician likens government's plans to revoke foreign fighter citizenship to methods used by Nazis.
NGOs detail failures of criminal justice system in dealing with children.
For the United States the new year brought a shift in the scales of power in Washington.
Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) was holding the Bulgarians captive.
The agreement includes a defense pact between Russia and Abkhazia that obligates both sides to come to each other's aid in the event of aggression.