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  • Indonesians rally for tolerance after blasphemy protests

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Tens of thousands of Indonesians rallied in the center of the capital Jakarta on Sunday, calling for tolerance and unity after massive protests by conservative Muslims against the city's minority Christian governor.

    Associated Press
  • No room for Virgin Mary in French public park

    A town in eastern France has been ordered to remove a statue of the Virgin Mary to comply with a national ban on religious symbols in public, the local mayor said Saturday. An administrative court ordered the commune of Publier, in the Haute-Savoie region to remove the religious image which has stood in a public park since 2011. Town mayor Gaston Lacroix said he intended to find a new home for the offending statue "on private land".

    AFP
  • France, UAE launch fund to protect monuments in conflict areas

    France and the United Arab Emirates on Saturday launched a $100 million fund to protect heritage sites threatened by extremism and conflict after the destruction last month of an ancient palace by Islamic State militants in Iraq. The fund, announced at an Abu Dhabi conference attended by President Francois Hollande and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, will be used to create "safe havens" for endangered artifacts and to transport and restore monuments damaged by war, UAE state news agency WAM reported. "Conflict causes irreparable damage to valuable heritage sites in Syria, Iraq, Mali and many others," WAM quoted Mohammed al-Mubarak, chairman of Abu Dhabi's tourism and culture authority, as saying.

    Reuters
  • Senegalese sculptor Sow, famed for giant wrestlers, dies at 81

    By Nellie Peyton DAKAR (Reuters) - Senegalese sculptor Ousmane Sow, a prominent figure in contemporary art and the first African to be elected to France's prestigious Academie des Beaux-Arts, died on Thursday in Dakar at the age of 81, his agent said. Sow was known for his monumental sculptures of human bodies, notably the Nuba wrestlers of Sudan, which drew over three million visitors when they were exhibited on the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris in 1999. "He really changed the course of history of contemporary sculpture," said Francoise Monnin, an art historian in Paris who places him among the ranks of the world's great sculptors such as Auguste Rodin.

    Reuters
  • One Year After Attacks, San Bernardino Reflects On Trump

    Mixed reactions surfaced in the southern California city over Trump's rhetoric toward Islam and security concerns in the country.

    International Business Times
  • Indonesian Muslims protest against Christian governor

    More than 200,000 Indonesian Muslims take part in the second major demonstration against Jakarta's Christian governor, as conservative groups push for his arrest for allegedly insulting Islam. IMAGES AND SOUNDBITES

    AFP Videos
  • Supreme Court takes Christian-affiliated hospital pension case

    New Jersey-based St. Peter's Healthcare System, Illinois-based Advocate Health System and California-based Dignity Health each appealed separate federal appeals courts rulings that refused to throw out the employee lawsuits. The justices agreed to hear all three cases.

    Reuters
  • Pope Francis: We Must Listen to the Voices of the Poor

    "Transform our institutions and economic structures" to do so, he said Saturday in Vatican City.

    Fortune
  • Russia not serious in talks with Syrian rebels: opposition official

    By Angus McDowall and Tom Perry BEIRUT (Reuters) - A senior Syrian opposition official accused Russia on Friday of procrastinating in talks with rebels over Aleppo, signaling no progress in diplomacy which rebels hoped would ease dire conditions in the city where they are in danger of defeat. Buoyed by its rapid capture of several whole neighborhoods, the government on Friday took journalists on an escorted tour of the ruined northeast Aleppo districts which fell on Sunday and Monday, and which the army is sweeping for mines. The rebels' talks with Russia, the most powerful ally of President Bashar al-Assad, in Ankara point to the bad set of options they face.

    Reuters
  • Police: Man fatally shot in church wouldn't drop crowbar

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A church break-in escalated into a deadly confrontation in a small Kentucky town Friday when the suspect refused multiple commands to drop a crowbar and advanced toward a deputy sheriff who opened fire, killing the man, police said.

    Associated Press
  • Sex crimes in focus at Hague trial of Ugandan rebel commander

    By Thomas Escritt AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A top lieutenant of Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony goes on trial in The Hague on Tuesday accused of war crimes ranging from child kidnapping and forced marriage to rape and murder during the rebel group's long rampage in northern Uganda. The trial of Dominic Ongwen opens as the International Criminal Court faces the biggest crisis in its 15-year history, with several member states quitting over claims it unfairly singles out Africans for prosecution. Ongwen was himself a victim of the LRA's child kidnapping campaign in 1988, pressed into service as a young teenager in Kony's war against the government of President Yoweri Museveni, who had seized power two years before.

    Reuters
  • Hot trend to watch in 2017: Rise of Islamic banks on Main St. USA

    A financial network based on Shariah, the legal code of Islam, is growing in the U.S. Experts are now looking at opportunities and risks.

    CNBC
  • China exonerates man executed in 1995 for rape and murder

    China's highest legal body on Friday exonerated a 21-year-old man executed in 1995 following a conviction of rape and murder, saying the evidence against him had been insufficient. Nie Shubin was found guilty 21 years ago of raping and killing a woman in the city of Shijiazhuang in China's northern province of Hebei. The exoneration by the Supreme People's Court followed a second re-examination of the case, that began in June.

    Reuters
  • Indonesia blasphemy protest draws 200,000; ends peacefully

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — At least 200,000 conservative Muslims rallied peacefully in the Indonesian capital on Friday in the second major protest against its minority Christian governor, who is being prosecuted for alleged blasphemy.

    Associated Press
  • Court bars S.African "Prophet of Doom" from spraying congregants with insecticide

    A South African pastor who sprays his congregants with insecticide to supposedly cure their ailments has been ordered to desist by health authorities pending a court appearance in Limpopo state next month. Dubbed the "Prophet of Doom" by local media after images circulated of Lethebo Rabalago using Doom, a popular aerosol insecticide, on members of his church, he has said his methods are harmless and help followers recover from illnesses. Rabalago was quoted by local media Eyewitness News as saying that God can use mud, saliva, or "even poisonous things to deliver people." Derick Kganyago, a spokesman for Limpopo's department of health, said the regional government had obtained a court order against Rabalogo "until he appears in court in January.

    Reuters
  • Supreme Court takes up hospital pension dispute

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will decide whether some of the nation's largest health providers can rely on their church affiliations to avoid complying with federal laws covering pension benefits for workers.

    Associated Press
  • Exclusive: Iraqi commanders examined strategy shift to avert Mosul war of attrition

    By Ahmed Rasheed and Dominic Evans BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Facing brutal urban warfare in Mosul and with their push slowed by the presence of one million residents, Iraqi commanders examined changing strategy last week to help civilians leave to give the army a free hand to strike Islamic State fighters. The proposal, a sign of frustration at slow progress in the six-week campaign against Islamic State in Mosul, was ultimately dismissed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his generals, military sources told Reuters in interviews. Islamic State militants who have controlled the city since mid-2014 have waged a lethal defense, deploying snipers, mortar fire and 600 suicide car bombers, as well as attacks launched from a network of tunnels beneath residential neighborhoods.

    Reuters
  • Turkish foreign minister calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called for an immediate ceasefire in Syria on Friday, describing the situation in Aleppo as critical and saying that President Bashar al-Assad was unfit to rule. Asked about Assad at a news conference in Beirut, Cavusoglu said it was undeniable that the Syrian leader was responsible for 600,000 deaths and that somebody with that record should not be running a country. NATO member Turkey is a major backer of rebels fighting to oust Assad.

    Reuters
  • Ohio State attacker buried amid shock from family over death

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Somali-born student who hurt nearly a dozen people in a car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University before a police officer quickly shot and killed him has been buried as his relatives remain stunned about his death.

    Associated Press
  • U.S.-Iranian, wife in Iran jail, no charges since July: rights group

    An American-Iranian dual national and his wife have been in detention in Iran without charge or access to lawyers since their arrest by elite Revolutionary Guards in July, a New York-based rights group said on Friday. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) said Karan Vafadari and his wife Afarin Niasari, who run an art gallery in Tehran, were being held in Tehran's Evin Prison. The Islamic Republic does not recognise dual nationality, a position that prevents Western embassy officials from visiting such detainees.

    Reuters