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from FaithWorld:

U.N. peace envoy criticizes Israeli Easter security at Jerusalem church

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(Worshippers hold candles as they take part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, April 19, 2014. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly )

Israeli police refused to let the U.N.'s peace envoy to the Middle East, other diplomats and a crowd of Palestinians pass through a barricade to attend a pre-Easter ritual in the Jerusalem church that Christians revere as the burial site of Jesus, the U.N. official said on Saturday.

The incident, following two days of violence at a separate holy site known as a flashpoint for Jews and Muslims, underscored rising tensions in the politically charged city ahead of Pope Francis's Holy Land visit next month.

Israel dismissed the U.N. complaint, calling it an attempt to inflate a "micro-incident" and saying police at the barricade keep people back as a crowd-control measure while there was no reported violence among the tens of thousands of Christians who thronged to the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem's old walled city to witness the "Holy Fire" ritual.

from FaithWorld:

Hollywood plays to the faithful and finds box-office hits with God

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(Cast member Emma Watson arrives for the UK premiere of "Noah", Leicester Square, London, March 31, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Hacket)

Hollywood has embraced God in a big - and lucrative - way.

The movie "Heaven is for Real," which depicts the story of a young boy who claims to have visited heaven during a near death experience, is the fourth faith-based film this year to stir movie-going audiences with impressive box office numbers.

from Expert Zone:

In defence of the defensives: Why IT, pharma stocks are not pariahs

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Expectation that the ongoing general election will throw up a stable government has spurred a return to risk in domestic equities. The consequent rally has meant those favoured defensives of the sluggish times - information technology and pharma stocks - received a shearing.

The CNX IT index shed 7.8 percent and CNX Pharma 10.1 percent in March - even as the benchmark Nifty surged 6.8 percent.

from FaithWorld:

In Damascus, Christians briefly ignore war for Good Friday

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(Debris lie inside a damaged church in Mar Bacchus Sarkis monastery, in Maloula village, northeast of Damascus, after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from rebel fighters, April 14, 2014. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri )

The sound of battles echoes from the outskirts of the capital as Christians in Damascus celebrated the Easter weekend, briefly ignoring the conflict for the yearly ritual.

from MuniLand:

Understanding the public pension funding gap

This is a guest post by Gregory Mennis, director of state public-sector retirement systems for The Pew Charitable Trusts. It is a response to "Late to the public pension game," from April 2. 

The Pew Charitable Trusts has been reporting on state and local pension data since 2007 and we applaud Reuters’ attention to this important public policy issue.  Cate Long’s April 2 blog post “Late to the Public Pension Game” questioned why our report, “The Fiscal Health of State Pension Plans: Funding Gap Continues to Grow,” relied on 2012 data, saying it was out of date. These key points explain why Pew’s latest report relies on 2012 data.

from Counterparties:

MORNING BID – A week overflowing with earnings

Markets head into a busy week of earnings with a bit of uncertainty around whether the major companies out there will help continue the momentum in the stock market that was regained last week after some weeks of lackluster trading.

As put in Reuters' Wall Street Weekahead, there's something for everyone this week, from the old-line tech companies like Microsoft that have been the recent beneficiary of the switch away from the high-flying names like Netflix and Facebook (which also report this week) to some big industrial names like General Motors - which has plenty of its own issues with the recall - to Dow components like AT&T and McDonald's.

from MuniLand:

The Treasury wades into muniland

The U.S. Treasury Department has organized a new office to monitor the municipal bond market, along with state and local finances and public pensions. Reuters reports:

The U.S. Treasury Department is forming a unit on state and local finance to coordinate its responses to developments in the country's $3.7 trillion municipal bond market, a Treasury spokesperson said on Thursday.

from Breakingviews:

Missing inflation could make Asian bonds frothier

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By Andy Mukherjee

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Asia’s inflation is missing. Analysts have been caught by surprise. If it isn’t found soon, the region’s frothy bond prices could get even higher.

from Euan Rocha:

Barrick proposal to acquire Newmont hits roadblock-sources

TORONTO (Reuters) - The talks between Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Newmont Mining Corp (NEM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) over a combination that would create a gold mining behemoth have hit a snag, but two sources close to the situation say the companies remain keen on a deal and discussions are likely to resume.

The talks had been on for a few weeks and the two sides had broadly agreed to a transaction that would see Barrick acquire Denver-based Newmont in an all-stock deal, said one source close to the matter, adding that the deal would offer Newmont shareholders a slight premium to its current share price.

from Mark Jones:

Yellen shows her hand http://t.co/ZhF6ELKBot

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Yellen shows her hand http://t.co/ZhF6ELKBot

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