Islamic State tells Iraqi women: wear full veil or face harsh punishment

July 25, 2014
(Veiled women walk past a billboard that carries a verse from Koran urging women to wear a hijab in the northern province of Raqqa March 31, 2014. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has imposed sweeping restrictions on personal freedoms in the northern province of Raqqa. Among the restrictions, Women must wear the niqab, or full face veil, in public or face unspecified punishments "in accordance with sharia", or Islamic law. REUTERS/Stringer )

(Veiled women walk past a billboard that carries a verse from Koran urging women to wear a hijab in the northern province of Raqqa March 31, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

Death row Christian woman flies from Sudan to Rome, meets Pope Francis

By Reuters Staff
July 24, 2014
(Pope Francis blesses Mariam Yahya Ibrahim of Sudan and her baby during a private meeting at the Vatican July 24, 2014. The Sudanese woman, who was spared a death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity and then barred from leaving Sudan, flew into Rome on Thursday.  REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

(Pope Francis blesses Mariam Yahya Ibrahim of Sudan and her baby during a private meeting at the Vatican July 24, 2014. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

Massachusetts monks tap brewing tradition to support aging members

July 24, 2014
(Father Isaac Keeley talks about the new facility where he and his fellow Trappist Monks brew Trappist Ale at Saint Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts July 22, 2014. Tucked off a two-lane highway in a hilly, wooded section of central Massachusetts, a group of Roman Catholic monks has embraced a centuries-old tradition they hope can sustain their aging members in a world of rapidly rising health costs. The 60 monks of St. Joseph's Abbey still rise at 3 a.m. for prayers and pass most of their days in silence. But when it is time for work, a handful head down to the monastery's new brewery, the first outside Europe to produce certified Trappist Ale. Picture taken July 22, 2014. To match Story USA-TRAPPISTS/BEER REUTERS/Brian Snyder )

(Father Isaac Keeley talks about the new facility where he and his fellow Trappist Monks brew Trappist Ale at Saint Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts July 22, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder )

Islamic State’s purge of minorities re-draws the map of Iraq

By Reuters Staff
July 24, 2014
(Iraqi refugees, who fled from the violence in Mosul, walk during sunset inside the Khazer refugee camp on the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region, June 27, 2014. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most influential Shi'ite cleric in Iraq, called on the country's leaders on Friday to choose a prime minister within the next four days, a dramatic political intervention that could hasten the end of Nuri al-Maliki's eight year rule. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah )

(Iraqi refugees, who fled from the violence in Mosul, walk during sunset inside the Khazer refugee camp on the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, June 27, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah )

U.N.’s Ban seeks advice on Iraq crisis from top Shi’ite cleric al-Sistani

July 24, 2014
(UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (R), walks after a meeting with Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf July 24, 2014. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sought guidance from Iraq's top cleric on Thursday, as he urged Iraqi politicians to form an inclusive government that can confront a Sunni militant insurgency. Ban's meeting with Shi'ite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani underscored the 83-year-old cleric's vast sway in Iraq, where Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is considered a polarising figure who has fueled sectarian tensions. A spokesman for Ban told Reuters the United Nations chief was meeting with Sistani in the city of Najaf to seek his wisdom on developments in Iraq. REUTERS/Ahmad Mousa )

(UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (R), walks after a meeting with Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf July 24, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmad Mousa )

French Jews living in fear after pro-Palestinian protests, minister says

By Reuters Staff
July 24, 2014
(French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrives for a meeting in Vienna July 13, 2014. Fabius on Sunday said that securing a ceasefire for the Gaza Strip and preventing an escalation of the latest outbreak of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians was top priority for France. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader )

(French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrives for a meeting in Vienna July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader )

Oil smuggling finances Islamic State’s new caliphate

By Reuters Staff
July 23, 2014
(A fighter from the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), mans an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the rear of a vehicle in Mosul July 16, 2014. The Iraqi army and allied Shi'ite militia forces are trying to push back the Sunni insurgents of the al Qaeda offshoot, who swept through northern Iraq last month to within 70 km (45 miles) of Baghdad. The banner on the bridge reads: "Welcome to the State of Nineveh; There is no God but God and Mohammad is the Messenger of God". Picture taken July 16, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

(A fighter from the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), mans an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the rear of a vehicle in Mosul July 16, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

from Photographers' Blog:

Waiting to die

July 23, 2014

Varanasi, India
By Danish Siddiqui

The River Ganges is sacred in Hinduism, and the city of Varanasi, which lies on its banks, is one of the oldest and holiest sites for Hindu pilgrims from all over the world.

Chinese police clash with Christian protesters over cross removal

July 23, 2014
(Girls run past the Catholic church in traditional Chinese architecture style ahead of a mass in Xiliulin village near the city of Taiyuan, Shanxi province, December 23, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee )

(A Catholic church in traditional Chinese architecture style in Xiliulin village near the city of Taiyuan, Shanxi province, December 23, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee )

Turkey’s top cleric calls new Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ illegitimate

July 23, 2014
(Grand Mufti of Turkey Mehmet Gormez shakes hands with a onlooker after an inauguration ceremony in front of the Gazi Husrev Begova mosque in Sarajevo, November 15, 2012. Newly elected Husein Kavazovic is the 14th Grand Mufti of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina and will be on duty over the next seven years. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic )

(Mehmet Gormez, head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, shakes hands with a onlooker during a visit to the Gazi Husrev Begova mosque in Sarajevo, November 15, 2012. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic )