Former Moscow-linked Church claims religious persecution as security raids heat up

CNN – The vertically shot video published last November shows no weapons, battlefield atrocities or even soldiers. But the sound of a patriotic Russian song reverberating through a church on Kyiv’s famous Lavra monastery grounds seemed to open a new front in Ukraine’s war with Russia. The church belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) … Read more

What is Orthodox Christmas, and why is it in the spotlight this year?

CNN – For much of the Western world, Christmas is celebrated on December 25, according to the Gregorian calendar. Yet in a distinction that dates back centuries, Orthodox Christians follow the Julian calendar and mark the festival on January 7 instead. Orthodox Christmas – and the long-standing rift between the Russian Orthodox Church and other … Read more

Ukraine: Kyiv dismisses Putin’s call for ceasefire as ‘hypocrisy’

CNN – Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his defense minister to implement a temporary ceasefire in Ukraine for 36 hours this week to allow Orthodox Christians to attend Christmas services, according to a Kremlin statement Thursday. But the proposal was quickly dismissed as “hypocrisy” by Ukrainian officials. Putin’s order came after the leader of … Read more

Damar Hamlin’s doctors are working to get him breathing without a ventilator after his mid-game cardiac arrest left him in critical condition

Cincinnati CNN – After suffering a cardiac arrest during a game on Monday, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains sedated on a ventilator as doctors work towards getting him to breathe on his own, his uncle said, while uneasy supporters across the nation await word of his fate. The 24-year-old player was still in critical … Read more

Israel’s far-right Ben Gvir visits key Jerusalem holy site amid Palestinian condemnation

Jerusalem CNN – Israel’s far-right national security minister Itamar Ben Gvir on Tuesday visited the Jerusalem compound known as the Temple Mount by Jews and the Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary by Muslims, in a move that drew international condemnation. Videos published on Israeli media showed Ben Gvir walking through the compound surrounded by Israeli … Read more

Jordan king warns of ‘red lines’ in Jerusalem as Netanyahu returns to office

Editor’s Note: A version of this story appears in today’s Meanwhile in the Middle East newsletter, CNN’s three-times-a-week look inside the region’s biggest stories. Sign up here. Amman, Jordan CNN – Jordan’s king says he is prepared for conflict should the status of Jerusalem’s holy sites change as Israel prepares to swear in what is … Read more

5 things to know for Dec. 28: Immigration, Snowstorm, Southwest, Trump’s taxes, Gas

CNN – In certain corners of the internet, some women are expressing nostalgia for an era they’ve never known. These millennials and zoomers are glamorizing the aesthetics of 1950s Americana – donning retro fit-and-flare dresses and posting vintage illustrations of aproned housewives who submit to their husbands. Here’s what else you need to know Get … Read more

Major foreign aid groups suspend work in Afghanistan after Taliban bars female employees

CNN – At least half a dozen major foreign aid groups have said they are temporarily suspending their operations in Afghanistan after the Taliban barred female employees of non-governmental organizations from coming to work. “We cannot effectively reach children, women and men in desperate need in Afghanistan without our female staff,” aid organizations Save the … Read more

US adds Russian mercenary firm Wagner Group to entities of concern under the International Religious Freedom Act

CNN – The Biden administration is adding the Wagner Group, an infamous private Russian military firm, to the list of Entities of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act “based on its actions in the Central African Republic,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday. In addition, Cuba and Nicaragua were added … Read more