All Roman Catholic and Protestant churches in the country are serving Christmas masses this night. Christmas is celebrated as national day. President Alexander Lukashenko congratulated all Catholics and Protestants yesterday. "To every Christian, Christmas is not merely a spiritual symbol but an appeal for pious thought and creative doing," he said in a message of greetings. Roman Catholics account for 14% of all believers in Belarus, say the latest sociometric studies. The number of Catholic parishes increased four-fold within the last twelve years to a current 433, with more than 300 churches. Another thirty are under construction.
Russia may terminate all kinds of military and military-technical relations with Israel, including the agreement on the exchange of reconnaissance data
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea