BBC News. I'm John Shay.
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says the country is not willing to consider a prisoner swap involving the former US Marine Paul Whelan. He was arrested in Moscow over a week ago on suspicion of spying. His families say he's innocent. From Moscow, here's Sarah Rainsford. Sergei Ryabkov described the arrest of Paul Whelan as very serious and said that at this stage, talk of swapping him for any Russian detainee was inappropriate, counter-productive and politically unjustified. His comments came after days of speculation that the former US Marine may have been arrested to exchange for Maria Butina who has pleaded guilty in the US to conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of Moscow. Russia's Foreign Ministry and President Putin have condemned that case repeatedly and loudly. Sergei Ryabkov said there is no link between Mr. Whelan's arrest here in Moscow and other detentions.
A document officially recognizing the independence of Ukraine's Orthodox Church from Russia has been signed at a ceremony at St. George's Cathedral in Istanbul. The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attended the signing of the document known as "tomos". Jonah Fisher is in Kiev. What the "tomos" does is it recognizes that Ukraine has its own branch of the Christian Orthodox Church, crucially a branch that is separate from the Russian Orthodox Church, because for the last three hundred years or so, the Ukrainian parishes have been under the overall responsibility of the Russian Orthodox Church. That will no longer be the case. This "tomos" has been signed. It now grants official recognition to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. That's why the Russians are so upset and the Ukrainians are so happy.
Opposition demonstrators in Hungary are due to resume protest shortly against the policies of the far-right government of Viktor Orban. The rallies began last month in response to a controversial law that extends overtime. Nick Thorpe is in Budapest. Today's demonstration is a litmus test to the degree of anger in Hungary against the overtime law, and of the determination of those willing to come out onto the streets. Heavy snow in the past twenty four hours across the country could reduce numbers. They're threatening nationwide strikes unless their four main demands are met. The scrapping of the overtime law, double-digit wage increases, the removal of limitations on the right to strike and a far-reaching pension reform. The Fidesz government has already offered an eight percent wage increase this year, followed by another eight percent next year in an attempt to head off the discontent.
World news from the BBC.