What to Do?

It’s not easy being David Cameron.

Seems like the Prime Minister has a knack for getting himself into tight spots. Sometimes it’s his own doing, like when he promises referenda on who might want to opt out of what entity or country, but this one’s not entirely of his own making. Tomorrow retired high court judge Sir Robert Owen will publish the results of the lengthy British inquiry into the death of former FSB agent turned MI6 operative turned dead man Alexander Litvinenko. The Prime Minister (who already has the report) will be required to decide what if any punishment to impose on the Russian involvement the report will presumably show in Litvinenko’s death. This comes at a delicate time in Russia/western relations, what with the attempted reconvening of Syria talks next week.

The Litvinenko case makes for riveting real-life-tales-of-international-intrigue reading, and it will be all the news tomorrow. Catch yourself up with this longish summary by Luke Harding in the Guardian. The book to read is Blowing Up Russia, written by Litvinenko. Since the report comes out tomorrow, might be best to download the electronic version instead of waiting for delivery of a hard copy.

In the book Litvinenko alleges FSB involvement in an aborted bombing of an apartment building in Ryazan, Russia in 1999, just months after Vladimir Putin assumed power from Boris Yeltsin. By extension, Litvinenko means to make the assertion that the FSB, and possibly Putin, was involved in a string of fatal bombings of Russian buildings in 1999, presumably as a pretext for the second Chechen war. (While Litvinenko is not the only one to make such allegations, Steven Lee Myers gives short shrift to these allegations in his absorbing new biography of Putin, The New Tsar.)

Allegations like that would make anyone radioactive in Moscow, so Litvinenko fled to London, where ultimately he became literally, and fatally so, dying at age 44 in 2006.

After presentation to parliament, tomorrow’s report will be published on the inquiry’s web site.

Friday Photos #51: Faith and Worship, a Photo Tour

Here is a good long photo tour that shows whatever their origin theory and wherever they are, people believe in a greater power, a force beyond. Click to enlarge any of these, and please enjoy them:

We begin in Bhutan, at a ceremony in the watchtower of the Tongsa Dzong, Tongsa.

This is the elaborate interior of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland.

Prayer flags fly above prayer wheels at Changu (Tsomgo) Lake, Sikkim, India.


These are worshippers at Trinity Ethiopian Orthodox church, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Elders venerated (we guess) at Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island (Rapa Nui).


Whirling Dervish ‘Sema’ performance at the Seljuk caravanserai at Sarihan, Turkey.


This is a Buddhist temple in the Cholon district of Saigon, Vietnam.


A service in St. Michael’s Orthodox Cathedral, Kyiv, Ukraine in March, 2013.


Monks at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.


Catedral de la Virgen María de la Concepción Inmaculada de La Habana, Havana, Cuba.


Prayer wheel in Buddhist monastery, or datsun, in Ivolginsk, Buryatian Autonomous Republic, Siberia, Russia.


14th century Trinity Church (Tsminda Sameba) near Mt. Kazbek, Caucasus mountains, Republic of Georgia.


Shwemawdaw pagoda, Bago, Burma.


The Fearsome Hallgrim’s Church, Reykjavik, Iceland.


Wat That Luang, Vientaine, Laos.


Yak butter lamps, Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet.


Interior of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman.


Orthodox Jewish men at the Western Wall at night, Jerusalem, Israel.


Pope John Paul II in the Popemobile, Dubrovnik, Croatia.


The Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy.


Orthodox Church at the Russian settlement of Barentsburg, Svalbard.


Men at mosque, old city, Fez, Morocco.


The ceiling at St. Nicholas church, Prague, Czech Republic.


Khor Virap Monastery, Armenia and Mt. Ararat, Turkey.

There are more photos in the Worship section of EarthPhotos.com. And see all the other fifty weeks of Friday Photos.

A good weekend to all!