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Religion News

Sweden temporarily halts Uighur deportations to China

Stockholm - Swedish authorities said Monday they had temporarily halted the deportation of Muslim minority Uighurs to China due to concerns over the situation there.

Swiss region overwhelmingly votes for 'burqa ban'

Geneva - A second Swiss canton will introduce a regional "burqa ban", after voters in St. Gallen on Sunday emphatically backed prohibiting all face-covering garments in public spaces.

Swiss region overwhelmingly votes for 'burqa ban'

Geneva - A second Swiss canton will introduce a regional "burqa ban", after voters in St. Gallen emphatically voted Sunday to prohibit all face-covering garments in public spaces.

Pope honours victims of Holocaust, Soviet terror in Lithuania

Vilnius - Pope Francis on Sunday paid homage to Holocaust victims who perished in the Vilnius ghetto, 75 years to the day after the Nazis liquidated it, and remembered those who risked and lost their lives to challenge the Soviet regime in Lithuania.

Swiss region overwhelmingly votes for 'burqa ban'

Geneva - A second Swiss canton will introduce a regional "burqa ban", after voters in St. Gallen overwhelmingly voted Sunday to prohibit all face-covering garments in public spaces.

Chinese Catholics 'pray for the best' but wary after Vatican deal

Bejing - Chinese Catholics have mixed feelings about the Vatican's landmark deal with Beijing: Some in the unofficial "underground" church remain suspicious of the government while others "pray for the best".

Vatican announces historic deal on bishops with China

Vatican City - The Vatican on Saturday announced an historic accord with China on who appoints bishops in the Communist country, paving the way for rapprochement between the Catholic Church and the world's most populous country.

Indian bishop refused bail in nun rape case

New Delhi - An Indian bishop accused of raping a nun was refused bail Saturday, and ordered to remain in police custody to face questioning in a case that has triggered outrage among clergy.

Vatican announces historic China accord to appoint bishops

Vilnius - The Vatican announced Saturday it had reached an historic accord with China on the appointment of bishops in the Communist country which has so far named its own officials to a sole Beijing-recognised Catholic church.

Pope honours Baltic martyrs as bishops quit over abuse

Vilnius - Pope Francis began a Baltic tour in Catholic Lithuania on Saturday, honouring victims of the region's Nazi and Soviet occupations as the Church scrambles to contain the fallout from fresh clerical abuse scandals.

Pope to honour Baltic martyrs amid abuse crisis

Vilnius - Pope Francis kicks off a Baltic tour in Catholic Lithuania on Saturday where he will honour victims of the region's Nazi and Soviet occupations as the Church reels from fresh clerical abuse scandals.

US criticizes treatment of Uighurs in latest China row

Washington - The United States on Friday denounced China's treatment of its Uighur Muslims in unusually strong terms, adding to a growing list of disputes in increasingly turbulent relations between the two powers.

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Israelis protest Sabbath tramway work

Bnei Brak - Several thousand ultra-orthodox Jewish Israelis demonstrated near the coastal city of Tel Aviv on Friday against construction work on a tramway during the Jewish Sabbath.

Baltic pagans ask pope for help over religious status battle

Vilnius - Latvian and Lithuanian neo-pagans have called on Pope Francis to end local Catholic opposition to their quest for religious recognition in the Baltic states, ahead of the pontiff's visit to the region Saturday.

Date set for Irish blasphemy referendum

Dublin - Ireland will hold a referendum on October 26 to repeal its constitutional law forbidding blasphemy, Dublin announced on Friday.

Finnish FM survives confidence vote after abortion row

Apo - Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini clung on to his job Friday after winning a no-confidence vote in parliament over his attendance at an anti-abortion vigil during an official visit to Canada.

Regional 'burqa ban' up for vote in Switzerland

Geneva - A second Swiss canton will vote Sunday on whether to introduce a regional "burqa ban", a controversial law that would prohibit all face-covering garments in public spaces.The ballot in northeastern St.

Lithuanian Soviet, Nazi victims await pope's 'never again'

Vilnius - Thirty-five years ago, Father Sigitas Tamkevicius was detained and repeatedly interrogated at a KGB prison for protesting Soviet religious discrimination.

One of world's largest bells unveiled in Poland

Warsaw - One of the largest swinging bells in the world, weighing 55 tons (7,850 stone), was unveiled in the Polish city of Krakow on Thursday ahead of being installed at a major pilgrimage site in Brazil.

Indonesian city orders top staff to 'pray or get a new job'

Jakarta - An Indonesian city has ordered its top civil servants to visit their local mosque for dawn prayers or risk being sacked, underscoring the growing influence of religion across the world's biggest Muslim majority country.

Pope to pay tribute to Baltic freedom amid abuse crisis

Vilnius - Pope Francis will start a Baltic tour in Lithuania on Saturday during which he will pay homage to the history of a region that still bears the scars of its Nazi and Soviet occupations.

Bono saw 'pain' on pope's face over abuse scandals

Vatican City - U2 frontman Bono said he could see the pain on Pope Francis's face on Wednesday when he told him "it looks to some people that the abusers are being more protected than the victims".

French priest commits suicide in church after assault claim

Rennes - A 38-year-old French priest in a northern French town committed suicide in his church after being accused of molesting a young woman, local prosecutors and police sources told AFP on Wednesday.

Finnish FM under fire after attending pro-life vigil

Apo - Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini faces a parliamentary confidence vote for taking part in a pro-life demonstration during an official visit to Canada earlier this year.

Vatican delegation 'to visit China this month': state media

Fpo - The Vatican could send a delegation to China by the end of the month, Beijing's state-run media said Tuesday, with the visit potentially paving the way for a historic agreement on the appointment of bishops.

Ukrainian Church to become independent of Russia: envoy

Kiev - An envoy of Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, told Ukraine's leader Monday that his country's church would soon be declared independent of Russia, a move set to infuriate Moscow.

Cardinal says women should train priests to fight abuse 'crisis'

Poznan - Women should play a greater role in the training of priests to fight the child abuse "crisis" that has engulfed the Catholic Church, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet has said.

In the Name of the Father: unholy row over Seoul church inheritance

Seoul - One of the world's largest presbyterian churches has been engulfed by an unholy row after its pastor sought to pass the super-rich South Korean institution into the control of his son.

Dalai Lama: I knew of sex abuse by Buddhist teachers since 1990s

Den Haag - The Dalai Lama said Saturday that he has known about sexual abuse by Buddhist teachers since the 1990s and that such allegations are "nothing new".

Sex abuse claims rock Dutch Catholic Church

Den Haag - More than half of the Netherlands' senior clerics were involved in covering up sexual assault of children between 1945 and 2010, a press report claimed Saturday, further engulfing the Catholic Church in a global abuse scandal.
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