Exclusive: Prosecutor freezes accounts of ex-Vatican bank heads

December 6, 2014
(An exterior view of the tower of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) in Vatican City in 2011. A preliminary inquiry by the Vatican bank after the arrest of a Vatican prelate on suspicion of trying to smuggle huge sums of money into Italy from Switzerland found "clear failings" at the institution, a source close to the bank said on July 4, 2013. The board of the bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), held a meeting on Thursday that also addressed the shock resignation of its two top managers on Monday. The meeting had not been made public. Picture taken in 2011. REUTERS/Stringer)

(An exterior view of the round tower of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) in Vatican City in 2011. REUTERS/Stringer)

from The Great Debate:

Vladimir Putin’s religious, ethnic rhetoric gets a little scary in Russian state-of-the-union address

By Lucian Kim
December 4, 2014

RTR4GP4Z.jpg

Vladimir Putin lives in a scary world, where enemies plot tirelessly to undermine, trick, and destroy Russia. Containment wasn’t just a Cold War policy but a practice of Russia’s rivals for centuries. Even without a conflict in Ukraine, the United States and European Union would have come up with another pretext for imposing economic sanctions; they were an inevitable response to a rising Russia.

Vatican finds hundreds of millions of euros “tucked away” – Cardinal Pell

December 4, 2014
(Cardinal George Pell gestures as he talks during a news conference for the presentation of new president of Vatican Bank IOR, at the Vatican July 9, 2014. The Vatican said on Wednesday it will separate its bank's investment business from its Church payments work to try to clean up after years of scandal including allegations of money laundering and tax evasion. French businessman Jean-Baptise de Franssu was named as the new head of the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), succeeding German lawyer Ernst Von Freyberg, who has run the bank since February 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

(Cardinal George Pell gestures as he talks during a news conference for the presentation of new president of Vatican Bank IOR, at the Vatican July 9, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Jewish-Arab school attack scars Jerusalem’s troubled co-existence

By Reuters Staff
December 4, 2014
(Mirvat, a second grade school girl, practises her Oud at the Hand in Hand Arab Jewish bilingual school in Jerusalem December 3, 2014. The Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem presents an almost too-perfect scene in a tense and divided city, where Jews and Arabs do daily business but rarely befriend one other. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

(Mirvat, a second grade school girl, practises her Oud at the Hand in Hand Arab Jewish bilingual school in Jerusalem December 3, 2014. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

India’s Modi under pressure over minister’s tirade against non-Hindus

By Reuters Staff
December 4, 2014
(A supporter of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) holds a placard with a picture of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he attends a rally addressed by the party president Amit Shah (not pictured) in Kolkata November 30, 2014. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri)

(A supporter of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) holds a placard with a picture of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he attends a rally addressed by the party president Amit Shah (not pictured) in Kolkata November 30, 2014. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri)

Top Egyptian Muslim leader urges broader action against Islamist militants

By Reuters Staff
December 4, 2014
((L-R) Pope Tawadros II, the pope of the Coptic Orthodox church ; Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Egypt's al-Azhar Institution ; Mohammed Yasaf of the Moroccan Higher Scholarly Council ; Sheikh Ibrahim Salih Al-Husaini, Mufti of Nigeria; Mohammed bin Saud, Omani Mufti deputy ; Sheikh Ali Al-Ami, Lebanese Shiite Mufti of Tyre, attend the conference "Azhar in the face of terrorism and extremism", in Cairo, December 3, 2014. Grand Imam of Egypt?s al-Azhar Institution Ahmed al-Tayeb addressed a two-day international conference in Cairo organised by his institution. The grand imam stressed that "terrorist organisations" try to sell a "fraudulent" image of Islam.Pope Tawadros II, the pope of the Coptic Orthodox church launched the conference alongside Tayeb. Around 600 Muslim scholars and popes of eastern churches representing around 120 countries are attending the conference, reported state-run news agency MENA. REUTERS/Al Youm Al Saabi Newspaper)

((L-R) Pope Tawadros II, the pope of the Coptic Orthodox church ; Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar Institution ; Mohammed Yasaf of the Moroccan Higher Scholarly Council ; Sheikh Ibrahim Salih Al-Husaini, Mufti of Nigeria; Mohammed bin Saud, Omani Mufti deputy ; Sheikh Ali Al-Ami, Lebanese Shiite Mufti of Tyre, attend the conference “Azhar in the face of terrorism and extremism”, in Cairo, December 3, 2014. REUTERS/Al Youm Al Saabi Newspaper)

Vote for same-sex marriage would be grave injustice – Irish Catholic Church

December 4, 2014
(Celtic cross at Ballinskelligs Priory Date18 March 2008/Ulrich Hartmann)

(Celtic cross at Ballinskelligs Priory, 18 March 2008/Ulrich Hartmann)

Ireland’s church said it would be “a grave injustice” if gay and lesbian couples were granted equality in marriage as it began an uphill battle to persuade voters to reject same sex marriage in a referendum next year.

from Edward Hadas:

Cultural gloom spawns economic decay

By Edward Hadas
December 4, 2014

By Edward Hadas

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

from Photographers' Blog:

A haunting sacrifice

December 3, 2014

Bariyapur, Nepal

By Navesh Chitrakar

Butcher holding his blade stands among sacrificed buffalos inside an enclosed compound during the sacrificial ceremony of the "Gadhimai Mela" festival held in Bariyapur

Known for its large number of animal sacrifices, the Gadhimai Festival is held once every five years at the Gadhimai Temple in Bariyapur, around 150 km (95 miles) from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu.

Bale checks “Life of Brian” to make sure his Moses isn’t Pythonesque

By Reuters Staff
December 3, 2014
(Actor Christian Bale poses during a photocall for the film "Exodus: Gods and Kings" in Paris December 2, 2014. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)

(Actor Christian Bale poses during a photocall for the film “Exodus: Gods and Kings” in Paris December 2, 2014. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)