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The church reopened Friday after being closed for a week on health and safety grounds, the first time the 300-year-old church had closed since German planes bombed the city during World War II.


Russia thanks Switzerland for WTO mediation

MOSCOW | Russia’s president has voiced hope that his country will be able to join the World Trade Organization by the end of the year.

Dmitry Medvedev, who spoke at Sunday’s meeting with visiting Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey, thanked her for Swiss mediation of Russia’s WTO accession talks.

Russia needs to reach individual agreements with all 153 members of the WTO, and the lack of progress in talks with Georgia has been the last significant stumbling block.

Switzerland has sponsored the negotiations between the two nations, which fought a brief war in 2008.

Georgia said Thursday it has accepted a Swiss proposal providing guarantees of international supervision of all trade and cargo between Russia and the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russian officials said they need several days to analyze the offer.


Shepherds lead 5,000 sheep through Madrid

MADRID | Spanish shepherds led flocks of sheep through the streets of downtown Madrid in defense of ancient grazing, migration and droving rights threatened by urban sprawl and man-made borders.

Jesus Garzon, president of a shepherds council established in 1273, said some 5,000 sheep and 60 cattle crossed the city Sunday to exercise the right to droving routes that existed before Madrid grew from a rural hamlet to the great capital it is today.

Following an age-old tradition, a chief herdsman paid 25 maravedis - coins from the 11th century - to use the crossing, Mr. Garzon said.

Shepherds have a right to use 78,000 miles of paths for seasonal livestock migrations from cool highland pastures in summer to warmer grazing in winter.