Three women charged with blasphemy went on trial Monday in Russia in a case that's being seen as a major test of President Vladimir Putin's tolerance for dissent. The women are members of the band Pussy Riot. They were arrested after staging a punk rock protest at the altar of a Moscow cathedral.
The eurozone crisis has led to sharp spending cuts and, with an economy based on public sector wages, Sicily is being called Italy's Greece. The central government fears Sicily's debt of more than $6 billion could further endanger Italy's financial stability.
Mitt Romney's trip abroad accomplished some of what he wanted. In Israel he delivered a hawkish pro-Israel message of support for the conservative government meant to appeal to those U.S. Jews skeptical of President Obama. But his trip also had missteps, notably in Britain but not only there.
Forbes in Israel has published a first-of-its-kind ranking of the country's richest rabbis. The estimated wealth of the top-ranked rabbi? $335 million. Some self-styled Jewish mystics attract wealthy, high-profile followers who donate huge sums in exchange for blessings and advice.
South African Oscar Pistorius will run on artificial legs in the 400-meter Olympic sprint preliminaries in London Saturday. Pistorius is a double amputee who runs world-class times on his carbon-fiber limbs. Some question whether he has an unfair edge — so a lab studied his running motion.
Questions are growing about the fate of President Bashar Assad's regime. One possibility is the creation of a breakaway region in the northwest coastal mountains dominated by the president's Alawite minority. Analysts say it would be a disaster politically and economically for Assad and the region.
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