- The UNSC has strongly condemned an attack on Russia’s Damascus embassy, describing it an “act of terrorism.” A mortar shell hit Russia’s diplomatic mission compound on Thursday while another landed nearby, killing one local person and injuring nine.
- Scotland has launched its first extensive blueprint for independence in a new 670 page white paper, described by Scottish first Minister Alex Salmond as a ‘mission statement’ for Scotland’s future.
- Hopes were high for warmer relations between the Russian Orthodox and Catholic churches as President Vladimir Putin flew Monday to Rome for his first audience with Pope Francis. Topping the agenda is likely help for Christians in the Middle East.
- The head of MI6 Sir John Sawers told the committee of MP’s and peers that Edward Snowden’s leaks have been “very damaging” and have put operative’s lives at risk. He also blamed the Guardian for publishing material that compromised national security.
- Violence broke out between police and demonstrators in Rome on Saturday as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest Italy’s new budget.
- Activists from 26 countries are taking to the streets on Saturday to protest fracking technologies that extract hydrocarbons by pumping pressurized chemicals underground. They say fracking contaminates groundwater and hastens climate change.
- Edward Snowden’s revelations of NSA surveillance programs prove that the US has abandoned the rule of law, betraying its own constitution, whistleblower Thomas Andrews Drake, told RT.
- President Vladimir Putin called on the Netherlands to apologize for the alleged assault and detention of a Russian diplomat in The Hague. He slammed the incident as a “blatant violation” of the Vienna Convention and demanded those responsible be punished.
- The Assad regime in Syria deserves credit for complying with the chemical weapons deal, US Secretary of State John Kerry said after the first high-level meeting with his Russian counterpart since Moscow and Washington agreed on the deal.
- The UN confirms chemical experts in Syria destroyed missile warheads, aerial bombs, and chemical mixing equipment on Sunday as they started eliminating the country’s chemical weapons.
- Some 120,000 Swiss signatories have put their names to a petition demanding a minimum disposal household income of $2,800 per month for every single member of the working adult population. Enough names have been collected for a government vote.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the start of the Russian leg of the record-breaking Olympic torch relay for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The relay kicked off at Moscow’s Red Square, where the flame arrived on Sunday.