March 29, 2015 -- Updated 4:10 pm GMT

Russians Mark 90 Years After Romanov Execution

As Russians marked the 90th anniversary of the execution of Czar Nicholas II and his family, investigators reaffirmed that the two charred remains found in a forest in the Ural Mountains were indeed those of the Czar’s son and one of his daughters.

At the same time, Russians are honoring the Czar as the greatest Russian of all time in a recent poll. Many see him as a martyr and as a symbol of the imperial glory which plenty are now seek to recapture.

Hundreds of Russians packed the Church of the Blood in Ekaterinburg, which was built over the site where the last Czar and his family were murdered. Across Russia, church services were held in memory of the events.

During the night of July 16 -17 1918, Czar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, their four daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and their son Aleksei, were awakened and told to go to the basement of the house their were imprisoned in. Four servants followed them. It was in that room that all 11 people were gunned down by Bolsheviks. The gunmen then put the bodies in a mine shaft in a forest, before bringing up the bodies the following night and then burying them in another forest outside Ekaterinburg. Two bodies – that of Maria and Aleksei – however were separately burned and buried 77 yards from where their family was buried and kept for nearly 75 years. When the remains were uncovered, the two skeletons were missing, prompted many to believe that some of the family had survived the shootings, particularly Anastasia. DNA tests in the 1990s proved that the remains were those of the Czar and his family. In 1998, the remains were buried in St Petersburg in the Peter and Paul Cathedral, the traditional burial site of Romanov czars.

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Saudi King In Spain For Interfaith Conference

Posted in: Saudi Arabia, Spain

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia arrived in Spain today for the opening of an interfaith conference set for Wednesday, July 16th. The conference will include leaders and representatives from all religions in the world, including Islam, Judaism and Christianity – as well as Buddhism and other faithsr3090556518 173x300 Saudi King In Spain For Interfaith Conference

Spanish King Juan Carlos was on hand to greet the Saudi King. Both Juan Carlos and Spanish Prime Minister are expected to open the conference tomorrow, along with King Abdullah. Other than that, the conference would be closed to the media.

It is believed Spain was chosen for the site because of its historical symbolism as a place where Muslims, Jews and Christians lived in peace under Islamic rule between the 8th and 13th centuries. In addition, Saudi Arabia is the location of two of the most holiest sites in Islam – and having non-Muslims present in the country may upset some of the more conservative clerics of Saudi Arabia – which adheres to Wahabbi Islam, the most strictest form of the religion.

The event will take place against a backdrop of tensions between the Islamic world and the West. They range from restrictions on the use of the veil by Muslim women in some European countries to cartoons regarded as blasphemous by Muslims and the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict.