Reuters blog archive
A small group of Jewish pilgrims gathered on an Tunisian island to visit one of Africa's oldest synagogues but worries over continued unrest kept many away from the annual event. About 5,000 pilgrims from Tunisia and abroad usually travel each May to the El Ghriba synagogue on Djerba island in the south to mark Lag BaOmer, a holiday which follows Passover.
But this year less than 100 took part and organizers cancelled traditional celebrations because of security concerns and lack of participants as the country struggles to restore order following the overthrow of Tunisia's authoritarian ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January.
"This year was an exception, the atmosphere is different because of security in the country. It is a real shame," Perez Trabesli, the head of the Jewish community in Djerba said late on Friday, the day that usually draws the most pilgrims. "It is understandable that they do not come because they see attacks and unrest every day on the television," he said.
The Vatican has urged the faithful not to let reports of huge crowds or unscrupulous hoteliers deter them from coming to Rome for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul on May 1. "I invite everyone to come. Rome is ready. Don't be afraid of coming or of inviting people," said Father Caesar Atuire on Tuesday.
A special Indian court on Tuesday sentenced to death 11 people for setting fire to a train in Godhra in the western state of Gujarat in 2002, killing 59 people in an act that led to some of the worst religious riots in the country since independence in 1947. The Sabarmati Express was carrying Hindu devotees returning from the site of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya.
More than 2,500 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the subsequent riots in Gujarat. Critics say the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules Gujarat, did little to stop the violence and many believe the riots led to the defeat of the BJP in the 2004 general elections.
The turnaround of Pilgrim's Pride may have been long by 2009 standards, but as Emily Chasan reports creditors probably made out better from the chicken producer’s reorganization than any other bankruptcy in the past year.
On Monday, just over a year after the company entered bankruptcy protection, it emerged with new ownership, new management, and a new business plan, proving the traditional route through bankruptcy is not quite dead. Unsecured creditors got paid back in full, in cash, and stockholders -- who usually get wiped out in bankruptcies -- got a 36 percent equity stake in the reorganized company.
from Changing China:
By Emma Graham-Harrison
I was trying to take photos of pilgrims near the Potala Palace in Lhasa, with my government minders telling me to hurry up (we had a neighbourhood committee to visit) and the pilgrims looking uncomfortable as I snapped away at their devotions.
Suddenly a smiling old woman, dressed like she had stepped out of an engraving of 19th century Tibet, hobbled up behind me and gave me a resounding smack on the bum.