Philippine Catholic bishops voice alarm over gambling after $81-million heist

March 29, 2016
Casino dealer trainees practise on a roulette table inside Solaire Casino in Pasay city, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 27, 2015. The Philippines has emerged as one of Asia's hottest gambling hubs after it launched its 120-hectare (1.2 square km) gaming and leisure enclave called Entertainment City in the capital, modelled on the Las Vegas strip. When paying your final respects for a relative or friend, the last thing you might expect to see at the wake is people placing bets on a card game or bingo. Not in the Philippines. Filipinos, like many Asians, love their gambling. But making wagers on games such as "sakla", the local version of Spanish tarot cards, is particularly common at wakes because the family of the deceased gets a share of the winnings to help cover funeral expenses. Authorities have sought to regulate betting but illegal games persist, with men and women, rich and poor, betting on anything from cockfighting to the Basque hard-rubber ball game of jai-alai, basketball to spider races. Many told Reuters photographer Erik De Castro that gambling is only an entertaining diversion in a country where two-fifths of the population live on $2 a day. But he found that some gamble every day. Casino security personnel told of customers begging to be banned from the premises, while a financier who lends gamblers money at high interest described the dozens of vehicles and wads of land titles given as collateral by those hoping lady luck would bring them riches.  REUTERS/Erik De Castro  PICTURE 12 OF 29 FOR WIDER IMAGE STORY "HIGH STAKES IN MANILA". SEARCH "BINGO ERIK" FOR ALL IMAGES. - RTX1HP9C

(Casino dealer trainees practise on a roulette table inside Solaire Casino in Pasay city, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 27, 2015. REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

Iran’s answer to pop stars: religious singers serenade Syria war

March 29, 2016
A handout picture shows religious singer Hamid Reza Alimi posing with a portrait of Hassan Nasrallah while on a trip to Syria in this undated photo courtesy of parsine.com. REUTERS/parsine.com/Handout via Reuters

(Religious singer Hamid Reza Alimi posing with a portrait of Hassan Nasrallah while on a trip to Syria in this undated photo courtesy of parsine.com. REUTERS/parsine.com)

Unable to sell cattle, Indian farmers have a beef with Modi’s BJP

March 29, 2016
Farmer Revaji Choudhary (L) shows his pair of bulls to buyers at a weekly cattle market in Belhe village in the western state of Maharashtra, India, February 22, 2016. REUTERS/Rajendra Jadhav

(Farmer Revaji Choudhary (L) shows his pair of bulls to buyers at a weekly cattle market in Belhe village in Maharashtra state, India, February 22, 2016. REUTERS/Rajendra Jadhav)

Myanmar lifts state of emergency in conflict-torn Rakhine state

March 29, 2016
Men work at the process of extracting crude oil on the seashore in Kyaukpyu township, Rakhine state, Myanmar October 5, 2015. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

(Men work extracting crude oil on the seashore in Kyaukpyu township, Rakhine state, Myanmar October 5, 2015. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun)

Iraqi Christians fear extinction, see no relief from Islamic State

March 29, 2016
Iraqi Christians attend a Good Friday mass at a church in Baghdad March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

(Iraqi Christians attend a Good Friday serviceat a church in Baghdad March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily)

Pakistan blasphemy killer’s supporters clash with police near parliament

March 29, 2016
Islamist activists holds pictures of Mumtaz Qadri as they gather at Rawalpindi's Liaqat Bagh before marching towards Islamabad, Pakistan, March 27, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood   - RTSCFGB

(Islamist activists holds pictures of Mumtaz Qadri as they gather at Rawalpindi’s Liaqat Bagh before marching towards Islamabad, Pakistan, March 27, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood)

Factbox – Easter attack the latest by Taliban faction Jamaat-ur-Ahrar

March 29, 2016
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH     Security officials gather at the site of a blast outside a public park in Lahore, Pakistan, March 27, 2016.   REUTERS/Mohsin Raza TEMPLATE OUT      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSCF4H

(Security officials gather at the site of a blast outside a public park in Lahore, Pakistan, March 27, 2016. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza)

Pope calls Pakistan attack ‘hideous’, demands protection for Christians

March 29, 2016
Pope Francis is seen at the end of the Easter mass in St. Peter's square at the Vatican March 27, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

(Pope Francis at the end of the Easter mass in St. Peter’s square at the Vatican March 27, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

from The Great Debate:

The three powerful scholars fueling Islamic State’s hate

March 29, 2016

Militant Islamist fighters waving flags, travel in vehicles 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 (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTR3WKTZ

Militant Islamist fighters waving flags, travel in vehicles as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Suicide bomber Laachraoui was model student at Brussels Catholic school

March 24, 2016
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(Insitut de la Sainte-Famille d’Helmet school in Schaerbeek area of Brussels, 23 June 2009/Varech)