U.S. President Barack Obama has been declared persona non grata in the small Russian republic of Chechnya.
The country's president, Ramzan Kadyrov revealed via his Instagram account that he was banning Obama from Chechnya as a result of what he calls "state terrorism" by the U.S. and EU in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan according to The Guardian.
The list of banned officials also includes European Union officials José Manuel Barroso, Herman van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton. more >>
Thousands of people gathered in two different cities in France this past week to offer their support and opposition to Israel in its continued conflict with Hamas and the Gaza Strip.
Those supporting Israel's efforts to defend itself from Hamas rockets gathered in Marseille, located in the south of France to march on Sunday. Nearly 2,000 pro-Israel demonstrators reportedly gathered in the streets to offer their support to the Middle Eastern country; they were shielded by riot police from nearby pro-Palestine protesters.
"We are here to show our solidarity with Israel, which has been attacked and has a right to defend itself," William Labi, who leads the governing body of Marseille's Jewish congregations, told Reuters. more >>
The Netherlands, which has formally taken over the investigation of the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane, has ruled out an international armed mission to secure the site in eastern Ukraine, where a fighting between separatists and government forces prevented a visit by international experts Sunday.
"We concluded there was a real risk that an international mission would immediately be involved in the conflict in Ukraine," the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Sunday, of a decision the country took along with Australia and Malaysia, according to Reuters.
It is "not realistic" to seek military dominance over heavily armed separatists in an area so near the Russian border, he added. more >>
As the fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip carried on with no breakthrough in efforts for an enduring ceasefire, Pope Francis on Sunday broke off from his scripted weekly Angelus address and said, "Please stop," pleading for peace in the world.
"Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! I am thinking above all of children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future," the pontiff said in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday, speaking of the forthcoming centenary of the World War I.
"I think especially of the children whose hopes for a dignified future are taken from them, dead children, injured and mutilated children, orphans and children who have bits of weapons as toys, children who don't know how to smile," news.va, the official Vatican network, quoted him as saying. more >>
Frustrated by the sloppy handling of the aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 tragedy in which more than half of the 298 victims were Dutch citizens, a Dutch mayor called for the deportation of Russian President Vladimir Putin's 29-year-old daughter Maria, who is currently living in the Netherlands with her Dutch boyfriend.
A report in The Guardian said Pieter Broertjes, mayor of the city of Hilversum called for Maria Putin to be thrown out of the Netherlands during a local radio interview Wednesday morning.
The mayor, however, later said he was sorry for the comments on Twitter, noting that "they stemmed from a feeling of helplessness that many will recognize" and they were "not wise." more >>
She is free at last.
Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian mother from Sudan who became a global icon for Christians when she refused to renounce her faith even after she was placed on death row for it, was blessed by Pope Francis at the Vatican just hours after she finally fled Sudan after a protracted fight for her freedom.
A report from the Official Vatican Network, NEWS.VA, said Meriam met with Pope Francis in the Casa Santa Marta and was accompanied by her husband, Daniel Wani, her son Martin, 1 ½, and her daughter Maya who she gave birth to in prison just two months ago while shackled. Italian Deputy Foreign Minister, Lapo Pistelli, who helped arrange her flight from Sudan and travelled with her to Italy, was also present. more >>