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from FaithWorld:

Poland’s cross wars revive debate on role of Catholic Church

cross 2 (Photo: Protesters urging removal of the cross at the presidential palace. The road sign reads "Attention! Cross defenders." August 9, 2010/Kacper Pempel)

A simple wooden cross honouring victims of a plane crash that killed Poland's president in April has spurred demands that the influence of the powerful Roman Catholic Church be pared back to forge a more secular Poland.

A scout group set a crucifix outside the presidential palace in Warsaw, which turned into a shrine for the victims. Four months later, the three-meter-high cross is still there, festooned with candles and flowers despite attempts by the state and some clergy to move it to a nearby church. The "cross defenders" stood their ground, squabbling with police.

The cross debate reflects political divisions. It has become a rallying point for radical rightists backed by the main opposition, the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party led by Kaczynski's twin brother, Jaroslaw.

"The problem of too close links between church and politics exists here for so long that many people don't even see it," said Jacek Kucharczyk, head of the Institute of Public Affairs.

from Global News Journal:

Can export bans be challenged at the WTO?

 

 

Russian grain harvest

Russia’s ban on grain exports as a heat wave parches crops in the world’s third biggest wheat exporter has raised questions whether such export curbs break World Trade Organization rules. Russia is not a member of the WTO, and it remains to be seen how its new grain policy will affect its 17-year-old bid to join. But other grain exporters, such as Ukraine, which is also considering export curbs, are part of the global trade referee.

WTO rules are quite clear that members cannot interfere with imports and exports in a way that disrupts trade or discriminates against other members. But in practice most WTO rules aim to stop countries blocking imports – shutting out competitor’s goods to give their own domestic producers an unfair advantage.

from FaithWorld:

Planned New York Islamic center near Sept. 11 site wins approval

A New York city agency denied "landmark" status for an old building near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks, clearing the way for the building to be torn down to make room for a Muslim cultural center which has spurred heated debate.

The City Landmarks Commission decision on Tuesday allows for the demolition of a building near where the World Trade Center's Twin Towers stood and paves the way for construction of the Cordoba House, set to include a prayer room and a 500-seat auditorium as part of a 13-story cultural complex.

from FaithWorld:

Malaysia fines Muslims for brandishing cow’s head in Hindu temple protest

MALAYSIA-POLITICS/TENSIONS (Photo: Protesters stomp on cow’s head, 28 Aug 2009/Samsul Said)

A Malaysian court has sentenced a Muslim to a week in jail and fined 11 others for a brandishing a cow's head during a protest against the construction of a Hindu temple.

Critics said the light sentences on Tuesday may further strain race relations between Muslims, who make up the majority of the country's 28 million population, and minority Hindus and Christians who complain of discrimination.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Hey, you’re just a pretender vendor!

Blog Guy, I saw some Reuters photos of street vendors in San Salvador, having a protest. There were THOUSANDS of them. How can there be so many street vendors in one city?

That's easy. There are no indoor shops there. Everything is sold on the streets by vendors.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

“Department of Violence and Evil, thank you for calling…”

IRAQ-USA/BIDEN

Okay, this one just struck me as very funny. The actual photo caption tells us that residents in Najaf, Iraq, are protesting a visit by Vice President Joe Biden two days ago, but I can't help noticing their banner rails against George Bush.

IRAQ-USA/BIDENI asked the folks at our Baghdad bureau, and they suggested that maybe the protesters were too lazy to print a new sign, too poor to print a new sign, or just hadn't been told about recent changes in the U.S.

from MacroScope:

Protesters take to streets of Toronto

Protesters converged in the thousands on the streets of downtown Toronto on Friday to press demands that the Group of 20 industrialized and important emerging economies take more heed to the poor as they seek solutions to the global economic crisis.

Starting at Allan Gardens, one of Toronto's oldest gathering spots and just a few kilometers from where the G20 will be held this weekend, protesters led by gender rights activists wound through the streets, dancing and chanting anti-capitalist slogans from noon to dusk.

from FaithWorld:

Banned Paris “sausage and wine” party goes ahead at Arc de Triomphe

aperogeant1 (Photo: Protesters at the Arc de Triomphe, 18 June 2010/Benoit Tessier)

A "sausage and wine" party went ahead in Paris despite a police ban but was staged near the Arc de Triomphe instead of in a neighbourhood with many Muslim residents as originally planned.  Friday's event had been criticised as highly provocative because it was planned for the day of weekly Muslim prayers and the World Cup soccer match between England and Algeria, a former French colony that is majority Muslim.

The mayor of Paris had said the event was "clearly inspired by extreme right-wing movements." Paris police banned the party in the multiethnic Goutte d'Or neighbourhood because it risked sparking disturbances. The French daily Le Parisien estimated that 600 to 800 people gathered on the Champs Elysées near the Arc de Triomphe to eat pork sausages and drink wine at what organisers called a "giant cocktail party."

from Our Take on Your Take:

Protest in Azerbaijan

One of the 36 arrested oppositional activists during a demonstration for free parliament elections in Baku, Azerbaijan.  Your View/Abbas Atilay

News is always happening around the world.  However, due to resource limitations, news organizations aren't always able to cover everything.  But with the advent of citizen journalism, ordinary people can step in and help fill the gaps, whether it's in countries that have been heavy in the news like Iran, or ones not quite on the radar like this photo in Azerbaijan.

Your View contributor Abbas Atilay captured a dramatic moment during a protest for free parliament elections in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, a country located in the Caucus mountains region in Asia.  There is determination both in the face of the protester and in the faces of the police who're arresting him.

from FaithWorld:

Ultra-Orthodox protest against Israeli ruling to integrate Jewish schools

orthodox jews 1

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews protested in Israel Thursday against a court order to desegregate a religious school and force Jewish girls of European and Middle Eastern descent to study together.

Demonstrations were held in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, a Tel Aviv suburb with a large population of religious Jews, before some 80 Ashkenazi parents, Jews of European origin, were to report to jail for defying the Supreme Court ruling.

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