Syria-Iraq ‘caliph’ urges Muslims to join in jihad in “new era”

By Reuters Staff
July 1, 2014
(Militant Islamist fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. The fighters held the parade to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic "caliphate" after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online on Sunday of people waving black flags from cars and holding guns in the air, the SITE monitoring service said. Picture taken June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

(Militant Islamist fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

European rights court backs French ban on Islamic full-face veil

July 1, 2014
(A women, wearing a niqab despite a nationwide ban on the Islamic face veil, gives a phone call outside the courts in Meaux, east of Paris, September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Charles Platiau )

(A women, wearing a niqab despite a nationwide ban on the Islamic face veil, gives a phone call outside the courts in Meaux, east of Paris, September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Charles Platiau )

from India Insight:

Short skirts, bad stars, chow mein: Why men in India rape women

July 1, 2014

Demonstrators from All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against the recent killings of two teenage girls, in New Delhi May 31, 2014. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

The 2012 Delhi bus rape case and an ever-longer list of rapes and murders in India have prompted politicians and public figures in India to cite plenty of implausible reasons why rape happens and why men brutalise women or portray women in ways that suggest they had it coming. Many people, when speaking out, tend to minimise the crime or rationalise it in ways that sound ludicrous to many. We created this list of such comments more than a year ago, but it seems like it's time to add some new entries.

U.S. Supreme Court upholds private firms’ religious objections to contraception

By Reuters Staff
June 30, 2014
(Anti-abortion demonstrators cheer as the ruling for Hobby Lobby was announced outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington June 30, 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that business owners can object on religious grounds to a provision of U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare law that requires closely held companies to provide health insurance that covers birth control. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst )

(Anti-abortion demonstrators cheer as the ruling for Hobby Lobby was announced outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst )

Israel’s top court says mother need not have son circumcised

June 30, 2014
(Relatives look at a baby after his circumcision in Jerusalem September 24, 2012. Circumcision, the surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis, is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys performed eight days after birth as a mark of faith ordained by the Bible, and is widely practiced in Israel both by religious and secular Jewish families. Picture taken September 24, 2012. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

(Relatives look at a baby after his circumcision in Jerusalem September 24, 2012. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

U.S. cancels visa of hardline Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, his group says

By Reuters Staff
June 30, 2014
(A Buddhist monk from the "Buddhist Power Force" holds up a placard as they march towards the Indian High Commission during a protest against the Indian government in Colombo July 10, 2013. The organisation accused the Indian government of failing to prevent a series of explosions on Sunday that occurred in and around the Mahabodhi Temple complex located in Bodh Gaya, the place where the Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte )

(A Buddhist monk from the “Buddhist Power Force” holds up a placard as they march towards the Indian High Commission during a protest against the Indian government in Colombo July 10, 2013. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte )

from The Great Debate:

Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision puts faith in compromise

By Jay Michaelson
June 30, 2014

Anti-abortion demonstrators high five as the ruling for Hobby Lobby was announced outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington

On Monday the Supreme Court decided its most anticipated case of the year. According to a sharply divided 5-4 court, the government cannot compel a closely-held corporation to provide contraceptive coverage as part of its Affordable Care Act-mandated employee insurance plans.

After years off-stage, Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Sistani takes charge

By Reuters Staff
June 29, 2014
(Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi Army to fight against predominantly Sunni militants, carry weapons and a portrait of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani during a parade in the streets in Baghdad's Sadr city June 14, 2014. An offensive by insurgents that threatens to dismember Iraq seemed to slow on Saturday after days of lightning advances as government forces regained some territory in counter-attacks, easing pressure on the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili ()

(Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi Army to fight against predominantly Sunni militants, carry weapons and a portrait of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani during a parade in the streets in Baghdad’s Sadr city June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili)

On eve of Supreme Court ruling, Americans oppose contraceptive ban: poll

By Reuters Staff
June 29, 2014
(Numerous news crews await outside the Supreme Court in Washington June 25, 2014. The Court is expected to rule on several key cases in this term, most notably the Hobby Lobby contraception case that asks whether owners of companies with strongly held religious views can seek an exemption from the birth control provisions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. REUTERS/Gary Cameron )

(Numerous news crews await outside the Supreme Court in Washington June 25, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron )

Record turnout for Singapore gay rally amid religious protests

June 29, 2014
(Participants form a giant pink dot at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 28, 2014. The annual Pink Dot Sg event promotes an acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Singapore, according to organizers. REUTERS/Edgar Su )

(Participants form a giant pink dot at the Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 28, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su )