Christianity biggest religion
Christians are the world’s biggest religious group, numbering about 2.2 billion people, a study released yesterday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed. Pew assembled data on the size and geographic distribution of eight major religious groups, including non-believers. It found that Christians make up about 32 percent of the world’s population, followed by Muslims, with 1.6 billion adherents. Hindus were the third-largest group, numbering about 1 billion (15 percent), followed by Buddhists at 500 million (7 percent) and Jews, who number 14 million (0.2 percent). The study of more than 230 countries and territories found that more than eight people in 10 identify with a religious group.
Man arrested over posts
Police arrested a man for allegedly making threats on Facebook to local elementary schools, invoking last week’s Connecticut massacre — but prosecutors declined to press charges on Monday. Kyle Bangayan, 24, was arrested on Sunday at his parents’ Los Angeles home, where a cache of nine weapons, including rifles and handguns, was found, a police spokesman said. Bangayan said that if people did not stop posting about the shootings in Connecticut, he would do the same thing, an internal report by Assistant Head Deputy LA District Attorney John Gilligan showed. However, the LA County District Attorney’s Office said the Facebook posting, which Bangayan described as a joke, contained no specific threats.
Russians abducted in Syria
The government yesterday said that two Russians and an Italian steel worker had been abducted in Syria on a motorway from the port city of Tartus. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the government was undertaking “all the necessary steps both in Syria and other countries” to secure the men’s release. The nation’s embassy in Damascus had earlier confirmed that two Russian workers had been abducted together with a man identified by Italian media as Mario Belluomo. Neither the two men’s identity nor the circumstances of the abduction were released. The embassy said that the men worked for a privately-owned Syrian factory in Tartus.
Men face treason charges
Police said four men face treason and terrorism charges over a plot that included plans to attack the ongoing African National Congress convention. Brigadier Billy Jones yesterday said that the men were arrested in different locations around the country on Sunday. Police confirmed they made the arrests Monday, but offered contradictory information about the men’s proposed target. Police have described the men as having “right-wing” political beliefs, but gave no more details about them.
Trio of ‘dummies’ arrested
A group of Romans who broke into a designer clothes store at the weekend may possibly be the world’s worst thieves after they were caught pretending to be clothes mannequins. The three men — aged 55, 70 and 78 — allegedly broke into a store on Piazza Fiume in Rome through a rear window at 4am on Sunday morning and set about loading clothes and bags into sacks. Their noisy entrance woke a neighbor, who alerted police. A patrol entered the store to find the half-filled sacks, but no thieves. A careful search turned up the two older men standing stock still in a display, trying to pass themselves off as dummies.