As many as 100 people are feared dead in two Northern Afghanistan earthquakes—one a 5.4 magnitude quake, followed by a 5.7 one. They caused a landslide that buried 20 houses in the Hindu Jush region. Both quakes were felt as far as 160 kilometers away in the Afghan capital, Kabul, where buildings shook.
Egypt's political parties have agreed to a 50-50 split between Islamists and secularists in electing a 100-member panel to draft the country's new constitution. The Speaker of Egypt's parliament announced the news following a 48-hour ultimatum issued by the ruling military council. The panel—or constituent assembly-- was strongly dominated by Islamists, following the December elections, but in response to a suit filed by liberals and secularists, the panel was suspended in April. The final phase of the presidential election is scheduled for the next weekend, where the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces hands over power to the new leader. Coptic Christians have been concerned about their fate.
Implications are also significant for Israel, as a presidential victory for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi would leave Israel isolated and vulnerable in the Middle East. This is according to senior Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad. He says a win by Morsi would be a boon to Palestinians, ending the frosty relationship between Hamas and Egypt. Hamad added that no one in Hamas supports recognizing Israel as a nation
Meanwhile, an Interior Ministry spokesman in Egypt says jailed former president Hosni Mubarak is in a coma. The 84 year old's heart is said to have stopped twice and he's been in and out of consciousness. He was airlifted to hospital right after his recent verdict of life in prison.
A struggle over a museum in turkey that was once a church: thousands of Muslims are preparing to celebrate the Ottoman conquest of the country 500 years ago. They are also demanding that the Hagia Sophia (Hageea Sofy-a) museum in Istanbul be converted back to a full functioning mosque with worship services allowed. The museum was once the center of Orthodox Christianity for over 900 years. It was turned into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest, but then it became a museum, that forbid services on the grounds. Now Muslims want to see their services resumed as a celebration of the Ottoman conquest, while some Greek Orthodox Christians believe the museum should go back to its original function as a church.
A Hasidic N-Y-P-D recruit is planning a lawsuit after being dismissed for refusing to trim his beard for religious reasons. Fishel Litzman's attorney claims it's a clear example of religious discrimination. Litzman says it's against his religious convictions to trim his beard.
N-Y-P-D Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne issued a statement, saying the department makes reasonable accommodations in this regard: that beards for religious purposes must be kept at one-millimeter in length, adding there are other Hasidic and Orthodox uniformed members who observe the accommodation.
A Texas teen is taking on a religious journey, hoping to inspire others.
Junior Garcia is carrying a 12-foot cross from Saginaw, Texas to Washington D-C.
Garcia's parents and members of his church are with him. The 19-year-old hopes to reach D-C by July 13th
Quebec riot police monitoring entrances to a Montreal convention Centre to start the International Economic Forum of the Americas. The annual global summit has drawn more than 3,000 participants from a dozen countries. A small crowd of people dressed in black gathered outside as police braced themselves for anti-capitalist protestors.