Reuters blog archive
(French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Europe 1 radio, 2 May 2010/Dailymotion)
France hasn't even presented its draft bill to outlaw Muslim face veils yet -- in contrast to Belgium, which has started voting on its ban -- but Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is already preparing for the wave of criticism from abroad it will provoke. He told Europe 1 radio on Sunday that he'd already warned the government at a cabinet meeting about what to expect.
"The United States are very attached to religious liberty and there will be lots of NGOs and American foundations that will want to point out our mistake," he said (in the video above in French). "I think they'll also be convinced that we are for religious liberty but there is no religious recommendation to veil one's face.
"There will certainly also be European countries that will protest, like Denmark, the Netherlands, etc. that will say what about religious liberty, we've already tackled this problem.
from Global News Journal:
Punchai is arranging strings of flowers under the imposing statue of King Rama VI at the entrance of Lumphini Park in Bangkok. The statue overlooks one end of the sprawling "red shirt" encampment that occupies a 3 square-km area of downtown Bangkok.
An altar has been set up at the base of the statue of a king who ruled from 1910 to 1925 and is generally credited with paving the way for democractic reforms in the kingdom. He is also the creator of Lumphini Park.
About 3,000 people marched in Beirut on Sunday to demand a secular system in place of the Muslim-Christian sectarianism that permeates politics, employment and family status matters in Lebanon. "Civil marriage, not civil war" was among the banners carried by the mostly young, educated protesters who gathered in response to a campaign on Internet social networking sites. It was Lebanon's first such demonstration in favor of secularism.
Many wore white T-shirts with "What's your sect?" written on the front and "None of your business" on the back.
The New York Times has unearthed a startling paper trail of 25 letters and memos documenting the way a U.S. priest known to have abused up to 200 deaf boys from about 1952 to 1974 was quietly moved to another diocese and the Vatican resisted attempts to defrock him. Their story on the case of Rev. Lawrence Murphy is here, the paper trail here and our story on the Vatican reaction here. Here's another story from our Rome bureau on victims demanding that Benedict open all Vatican files on sex abuse cases and defrock all predator priests.
from Tales from the Trail:
The protests against healthcare reform took an ugly turn on Saturday. Black congressmen told reporters that demonstrators called them the N-word and one representative said he was spat upon.
"This is not the first time the congressman has been called the N-word and certainly not the worst assault he has endured in his years fighting for equal rights for all Americans," said a statement from the office of Democratic Representative Emanuel Cleaver.
from Russell Boyce:
With the same ghoulish intrigue that children pull the wings off a fly, the legs off spiders or as motorists slow to look at a scene of a bad accident, I waited to see the pictures from last night's demonstration in Thailand. The "red shirt" wearing supporters of ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra promised the world the sight of a million cubic centimetres of blood being drawn from the arms of his supporters and then thrown over Government House to demand that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva call an immediate election. A million is a bold figure that I tried to picture; a thousand cubic centimetres, one litre, so one thousand litre cartons of milk. A more compact notion of the volume would be to visualise a cubic metre of blood; or in more practical terms in the UK the average bath size is 140 litres, so that is just over seven baths filled with blood.
A supporter of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra donates blood during a gathering in Bangkok March 16, 2010. Anti-government protesters will collect one million cubic centimetres of blood to pour outside the Government House in Bangkok, in a symbolic move to denounce the government as part of their demonstration to call for fresh elections. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang
from Oddly Enough Blog:
Blog Guy, I want to teach my family to cut back on the water we use. Do you have any figures on how much water it takes to, say, have a shower.
Sure. A shower takes two gallons of water a minute, so you should make it a quick one.
I had a rare opportunity to talk with Israel's mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat on Sunday about how he spent most of his first year in office trying to find a political homeostasis in the city holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. The main news that came out of it was his call for the European Union on Monday to reject any future division of the city (read that story here).
We sat together for about an hour in his office on the top floor of the city hall. He has a large balcony that overlooks the modern part of the city from one side, where cranes and crews are hard at work building and developing. The other side overlooks the walled Old City, a view that has highlighted the hilly Jerusalem landscape for centuries.
from Mario Di Simine:
It was 29 years ago today that a lone gunman assassinated John Lennon and the anniversary was the spur behind a youth "bed in" at the COP15 conference center.
Socres of young folks from around the world used the day to remember Lennon's famous bed-in protest of the Vietnam War and to put their own spin on it. They pulled on their P.J.s, pulled out their pillows and protest signs and got in "bed" together to perform a rendition of Lennon's iconic Give Peace a Chance, remaking the lyrics to reflect their climate concerns.