Welcome to this edition of World Report, I'm Tom Anthony sitting in for Christine Williams.
As fighting churned on in major cities on Sunday, Syria held a referendum on a new constitution, an offer of reform that critics dismissed as too little too late and Western leaders labeled a farce. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who joined delegates from sixty countries to call for Assad's ouster, dismissed the vote as an empty gesture. She said, "It's a phony referendum that is going to be used by Assad to justify what he is doing to other Syrians."
The hunt goes on for an infiltrator who shot and killed two U.S. officers inside Afghanistan's heavily guarded interior ministry in Kabul. The Taliban claimed its people were behind the shooting aimed at avenging the burning of Qurans by NATO personnel last week. The victims were among several officers who are in Afghanistan to train and equip that country's security forces. Meanwhile a suicide car bomber has killed nine Afghans, most of them civilians, in an attack on a military base in eastern Afghanistan that, once again, the Taliban have claimed as revenge for the burning of Qur'ans by foreign troops.
The White House and the U.S. State Department have issued statements demanding the immediate release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been imprisoned in Iran. Last week, the American Center for Law and Justice announced that Iranian courts may have already quietly issued an execution order for Nadarkhani, who is currently imprisoned on charges of apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims.
The stand-off over Iran's nuclear program is showing more signs of straining the global economy. The price of Brent crude oil has climbed more than five percent in the past week. And gasolines prices keep rising. Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to international sanctions. U.N. nuclear officials visited Iran but failed to resolve the crisis.
The Vatican has made an official request to gain access to a 1500-year-old Bible worth $28 million being held by the Turkish government. There is speculation that the Bible may be a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas – a part of Jesus' ministry Muslims believe is part of the original Gospels. The Bible is handwritten in gold lettering on loosely strung together animal hide and written in Syriac-- a dialect of Aramaic – Jesus' native language.
IN HEALTH NEWS
Here's an inspirational story of giving: There is a medical student who started out with a backpack of supplies and a passion to help. Take a look at how he is providing free health care to some of the world's remote areas..
Film Director Tyler Perry has come to the rescue of a pastor who has pledged to tear down a former motel, a center of drug violence in Chicago. Rev. Corey Brooks of New Beginnings Church needed and received ninety eight thousand dollars to reach his goal of four hundred and fifty thousand dollars. So what is so special about this - the pastor spent 3 months living on the rooftop of that motel to bring attention to his goal. The money will also be used to build a community centre for kids.
AND THE OSCAR GOES TO: "The Artist," the black-and-white silent film about Hollywood's rocky transition to the "talkies." IT took the biggest honors at the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday night, including best picture, director and lead actor.
And that concludes this edition of World report I'm Tom Anthony.