* Eerie green clouds that floated over the Russian capital on Thursday, prompting wild online rumors, were colored by pollen released by the explosive blooming of birch trees in the capital, emergency officials said.
* Russian prosecutors said on Thursday they saw evidence of extremism in statements by a prominent Muslim lawyer who vowed bloodshed in Russia if the authorities refuse to establish Islamic law courts
* A delegation from Syria’s Popular Front for Change and Liberation opposition movement met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Thursday in what Russia says is part of its efforts to overcome differences between the Middle East country’s multiple opposition groups and facilitate their dialogue with the government
* Russian football authorities have pledged to introduce an online system where visitors can vote on referees’ mistakes, although, unfortunately for aggrieved fans, it will only be open to the referees themselves, the Russian Football Union said
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The failure of the Islamist political parties who came to power in the dramatic events of the Arab Spring would allow the military to reenter the political arena. Political Islam was successful in the opposition, but it could fail in power, as the negative experience of Egypt and Iraq have shown.