A week after UNESCO granted the Church of the Nativity world heritage status, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called it the "most remarkable" milestone in Palestinian state-building. The celebration at the Manger Square included the inauguration of a plaque commemorating the UNESCO success. In the Palestinian application to UNESCO, it was also stated that quote: "Jesus' role as Issa---the divinely inspired prophet in Islamic belief , is equally significant and underscores the sanctity of the place."
Thousands of Christians around the world joined with worshippers in Bethlehem for the annual Bethlehem Prayer Service. A service delivered a message of hope and peace at the Washington National cathedral and the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem.
The U.S. Presbyterian Church has turned down a proposal to divest from companies doing business with the Israeli government. The outcome of the vote puts the Presbyterians in step with other mainline Protestant denominations, like the United Methodist Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, that have decided against divestment. A debate was held during the Presbyterian Church's General Assembly in Pittsburg where members were asked whether they wanted the church to continue doing business with companies like Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard, which have been supplying the Israeli military with security products. The proposal to divest was rejected.
A pastor's conference for "white Christians" only is angering people in one western Alabama community. But participants say the group is just exercising its right to freedom of religion.
Reporter Jack Madison faced off against a white supremacist.
Syria has begun large scale military exercises to simulate defending the country against outside aggression. Iran—a strong political ally to Syria—has warned of a catastrophe in the region if no political solution to the 16 month old Syrian conflict is found. Political analysts agree that any outside intervention would likely face strong opposition from Syrian ally Russia, as well as China, who have already shielded Damascus from diplomatic efforts to pressure al Assad.
Iraq's Foreign Affairs Minister Hoshyar Zebari says he has solid information that that Al Qaeda militants were crossing from Iraq to Syria to carry out attacks. He warned of a violent spillover that could shake the Middle East. Zebari added….. for years Baghdad urged Damascus to clamp down on militant traffic as Sunni fighters headed from Syria to aid the Iraqi insurgency. Now it's happening in the reverse.
In Sports News….
Roger Federer has won the 7th Wimbledon title. He defeated Andy Murray by a score of three sets to one. The victory ties the all-time record for wins at Wimbledon, previously set by tennis legend Pete Sampras.