The North Korean ambassador to the U.K. said in an interview that imprisoned Christian missionary Kenneth Bae should serve the full 15 years of his prison sentence, and argued that North Korea has no labor camps but "education places" instead.
Ambassador Hyun Hak-bong sat down on Thursday for a rare English-language interview with Sky News, and was asked a series of questions about the North's relationship with South Korea, Japan, the U.S. and the western world. When asked about the fate of Bae, who was arrested in 2012 while leading a tour from China to North Korea and accused of making plots against the government, Hyun said that he was not sure if the U.S. citizen will be pardoned or not, but said that he should serve the full 15 years of his sentence.
"He's now receiving fair treatment, though he spent 15 months in Pyongyang, when sick he has received medical treatment. He will be released when he finishes his sentence," the diplomat said. more >>
A British Muslim lawmaker has defended posting a picture of Jesus and Mohammed on his Twitter account after becoming the subject of death threats and a petition by conservative Muslims to have him removed from his Parliamentary seat.
On Jan. 12, Liberal Democrat Maajid Nawaz posted a cartoon of Jesus and Mohammed greeting one another with the caption "This is not offensive and I'm sure God is greater than to feel threatened by it" on his Twitter account.
Because any type of visual depiction of the Prophet Mohammed is generally forbidden under Islam, Nawaz immediately drew the ire of many conservative British Muslims, who started a petition to have him removed. more >>
Former exchange student Amanda Knox and her British ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were both convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher for the second time by an Italian appeals court Thursday night.
Prosecutors said Knox, 26 and Sollecito, 29, killed Kercher in November 2007. Knox who now lives in Seattle, Wash., was sentenced to 28 ½ years in prison while Sollecito was slapped with a 25-year prison sentence, according to CNN.
The couple was first convicted of killing Kercher in 2009 after she was discovered with more than 40 stab wounds and a deep gash in her throat. The charges, however, were overturned in 2011 on appeal. more >>
Pope Francis met Thursday with Notre Dame leaders and asked the Catholic University to defend the Church's freedom. The meeting came after Notre Dame again asked a court for an injunction against the Obama administration's birth control mandate. A federal court last year ordered the school to begin paying fines if it did not comply.
"'Missionary discipleship,' ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities," Francis said. " ... Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church's moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors."
Francis also warned that there are efforts to dilute the witness of the Catholic Church. more >>
The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has warned society on the dangers of the "international campaign" behind same-sex marriage, and insisted that the traditional family structure is needed for the survival of humankind.
"Preservation of marriage as a union between a man and a woman based on love and mutual understanding and birth of beloved children are a precondition for survival of humankind," Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill said in a statement on Tuesday following a meeting at the upper house of the Russian parliament, ITAR-TASS News Agency said of reports in the world's largest country.
Kirill added that the church is also concerned about marital infidelity and the "irresponsibility in relations between men and women," in his message directed toward "all sober-minded people of Russia and other countries." more >>
Thieves who stole a reliquary containing blood from Pope John Paul II are being asked by an Italian Roman Catholic Church official to return the item.
Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi of L'Aquila stated in a letter sent out earlier this week asking whoever was responsible for stealing the gold container with blood to "give it back."