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from UK News:

Best of Britain: War and peace

Two events highlighted the past week's Best of Britain photos: Remembrance Day and the protests that made their way inside the Conservative Party headquarters.  In a simultaneous mirror of war and peace, there were the somber Remembrance Day vigils honoring those who'd given their lives in war, contrasted with the chaos of student protesters, angry at the Conservative Party's plans for higher tuition fees and cuts to education.

Also included are photos of a girl celebrating Diwali and a scientist showing a new high tech material that can manipulate visible light.

Lance Corporal Ram Patten helps his daughter, Melanie, 4, plant a cross during the opening of the Royal British Legion Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance, in the grounds of Lydiard Park, Swindon November 9, 2010. Prince Harry planted a cross dedicated to his friend Lance Corporal of Horse Jonathan Woodgate,  who was in the Household Cavalry Regiment with Prince Harry, and was killed on foot patrol in Afghanistan earlier in the year.   REUTERS/Ben Birchall/Pool

Lloyds of London staff hold their annual Rememberance Day service at the Lloyds Building, which is designed by architect Richard Rogers, in the City of London November 11, 2010.   REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Photographs of soldiers killed on duty in Afghanistan are seen attached to replica crosses at a Field of Remembrance outside Westminster Abbey in central London November 11, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A girl sprays bubbles during Diwali celebrations in Leicester, central England, November 5, 2010. Hindus decorate their homes and places of worship with lamps or candles and light fireworks during Diwali, the festival of light. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Dr Andrea Di Falco poses for a photograph with a tiny piece of Metaflex material in a laboratory at St Andrews University, in Scotland November 5, 2010. A team of scientists at the university have created the Metaflex material which could be used to make fabrics that manipulate visible light to shield objects from view.    REUTERS/David Moir

Demonstrators break windows of the Conservative Party headquarters building during a protest in central London November 10, 2010. A group of protesters against higher university tuition fees broke into the headquarters of the Conservative party on Wednesday, smashing the glass reception area and streaming up onto the roof.  REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Demonstrators break windows of the Conservative Party headquarters building during a protest in central London November 10, 2010.   REUTERS/Paul Hackett

from FaithWorld:

Pope visit costs criticized in austerity-hit Spain

Cost to the taxpayer seems to be the latest target for protesters when Pope Benedict comes to town. After a lively debate about the price the public had to pay for his visit to Britain in September, Spanish protesters have picked up the torch with complaints about the estimated 3.7 million to 5 million euros the state will spend on logistics and security for the pope. And this at a time when Spain is burdened with 20 percent unemployment and is struggling to emerge from recession and austerity measures that have slashed public sector wages.

“I think it’s bad, I mean really bad, to spend so much money on a guy who comes, gives a speech, stays an hour and leaves,” said Pedro Barral Gonzalez, 18, in Santiago de Compostela, the city in northwestern Spain that the pope visited on Saturday.

from FaithWorld:

Malawi Muslims burn Gideons Bibles in protest

bibleMuslims in southern Malawi have been burning Bibles in protest against their distribution in Islamic schools by Gideons International, a senior Muslim Association of Malawi official said on Tuesday.

Sheikh Imran Sharif, the association's secretary general, said the burning of Bibles was carried out by a few Muslim fanatics and the association has ordered them to stop. The Muslim protest has been widely criticised in secular Malawi, which has had little religious friction.

from FaithWorld:

Pope supporters and detractors duel in liberal London

protest 9 (Photo: Supporters and protestors hold a signs while waiting for Pope Benedict to arrive at Westminster Abbey in London September 17, 2010./Suzanne Plunkett)

Pope Benedict is usually greeted by adulating crowds when he travels in Italy and other Catholic countries but he was treated to a mixed reception in London. Protesters, many angered by a sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church worldwide, shouted "anti-Christ" and "Pope will go to hell" as the pope drove through the heart of London on Friday in a bullet-proof popemobile.

Hundreds booed aggressively as he arrived at Westminster Abbey in London's historic core to celebrate Evening Prayer -- one of the religious focal points of his four-day visit to Britain. Papal supporters at times tried to steal the momentum by chanting "We love you pope" but in most cases were quickly drowned out by boos and whistles.

from FaithWorld:

London protesters accuse pope of hypocrisy over sex abuse – report and photos

protest 2 (Photo: Protest as Pope Benedict XVI arrives by car at St Mary's University College in London September 17, 2010/Peter Macdiarmid)

Pope Benedict reminded his Church on Friday that its first priority was to provide a safe environment for children as the pontiff was met by the first substantial protest of his delicate visit to Britain.  Several hundred people whistled and shouted "Pope must resign" and "shame" as the papal motorcade entered a Catholic school complex in Twickenham, southwest London.

They held placards reading "Hypocrisy and lies" and "Catholic paedophile cover up."

from FaithWorld:

GUESTVIEW: Why stoning Sakineh is a mistake

The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. This interview with Abdullahi Ahmed an-Naim and Massimo Papa about Iran's stoning sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani on charges of adultery was originally published in Oasis, a Venice-based magazine on Christian-Muslim dialogue. Martino Diez is director of research at the Oasis International Foundation. sakinehBy Martino Diez .

Professor Naim, what is your assessment of Sakineh’s case?
Officially, the authorities maintain this is a straightforward murder case. Although I have not followed the matter in detail, I think that the ambiguity of the versions produced throughout the years is suspicious and betrays the presence of political manipulation. This poor woman has ended up at the centre of a struggle between different underground factions. There are many cases similar to this.

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures September 12, 2010

As the anniversary of the 9/11 attack coincided with Eid celebrations, Florida based Pastor Terry Jones announced that he would burn the Koran as a protest  to plans to site a Muslim cultural centre near Ground Zero , stoking tensions in Asia.  Add into the mix millions in Pakistan suffering from lack of water, food and shelter after floods, a parliament election in   Afghanistan and a U. S. -led  military campaign against the Taliban around Kandahar -  photographers in the region had lots of raw material to work with.

Raheb's picture of relief and joy caught in the harsh light of a direct flash seems to explode in a release of tension as news spreads that Pastor Jones had cancelled his plans to burn the Koran. It has to be said that ironically earlier in the day in Pakistan US flags were burned in protest against the planned protest.

from FaithWorld:

Iran tells world: don’t make woman’s stoning a human rights issue

stoningForeign countries should not interfere in Iran's legal system and stop trying to turn the case of a woman sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery into a human rights issue, Tehran said on Tuesday. (Photo: Demonstrator against stoning in Trafalgar Square, London, August 28, 2010/Paul Hackett)

The case of the 43-year-old mother of two, condemned to death for illicit sex and charged with involvement in her husband's murder, provoked an international outcry, with Brazil offering her asylum and the Vatican speaking out against the "brutal" punishment.

from FaithWorld:

U.S. Afghanistan commanders condemn Florida church’s Koran-burning plan

kabul koran (Photo: Afghans in Kabul protest against Koran burning plan, September 6, 2010/Mohammad Ishaq)

U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan have warned that a small Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks could endanger the lives of American troops.

The warnings followed an angry protest on Monday by several hundred people in the Afghan capital, Kabul, who chanted "Death to America" as they denounced the planned burning event by the Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center church.

from FaithWorld:

German govt calls Bundesbanker’s remarks about Muslims offensive

sarrazinGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel's finance minister and spokesman have spoken out forcefully against disparaging comments about Muslim immigrants by a board member of the central bank, raising pressure on him to resign.

The Bundesbank's Thilo Sarrazin, who has previously caused outrage with outspoken criticism of Turks and Arabs living in Germany, took aim at Muslims again in a new book which has been serialised in a popular daily newspaper this week.

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