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Pope wishes peace for those scarred by war, terror

Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi (Latin for “to the city and to the world”) Christmas Day blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. (Alessandra Tarantino / Associated Press)
Decrying the suffering in Syria, Pope Francis on Sunday wished Christmas peace and hope for all those scarred by war and terrorism, which he said is sowing “fear and death in the heart of many countries and cities.”

Anti-refugee sentiment from election spills over to states

Refugees Gilbert Hategeka, left, and Chantal Nyiramanza share a laugh together Oct. 11 outside the Missoula International Rescue Committee office in Missoula. The couple and their four children were the last of five Congolese families who arrived in Missoula in August and September. (Tommy Martino, Missoulian / Tommy Martino 
The push to restrict refugee resettlements and immigration in the U.S. that figured so prominently in Donald Trump’s election is now headed to states that are preparing to convene their legislative sessions early next year, immigration advocates said.

From Obama, a final Christmas tribute to the troops

President Barack Obama, joined by first lady Michelle Obama, speaks during an event to thank service members and their families at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Sunday. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)
For eight years, Barack Obama has led a military fighting in multiple theaters overseas, becoming the only president in U.S. history to serve two full terms with the nation at war. On Sunday, he sought to pay tribute to the men and women who sacrificed along the way in battles that will continue even after his presidency comes to a close.

Netanyahu, furious over U.N. vote, summons U.S. ambassador

Fuming over a United Nations Security Council resolution passed Friday that deems Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem illegal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the rare step of summoning the U.S. ambassador to express his displeasure with the Obama administration for allowing the measure to pass.

British singer George Michael dead at age 53

In this Dec. 2, 1993 file photo, George Michael performs at “Concert of Hope” to mark World AIDS Day at London’s Wembley Arena.  Listen to George Michael’s jazz ballad “Kissing a Fool” in honor of April Fool’s Day. (Gill Allen / Associated Press)
George Michael, the British pop superstar who reached early fame with WHAM! and went on to a solo career lined with controversies and chart-topping hits that blended soul and dance music with social commentary, has died, his publicist said Sunday. He was 53.

Russia says focus not on terrorism in plane crash probe

A woman lights candles are placed in memory of victims of the crashed plane in the center of Sochi, Russia, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. A Tu-154 operated by the Russian Defense Ministry en route to Syria crashes into the Black Sea minutes after takeoff from Sochi. Everybody aboard the plane are thought to have perished and the cause of the crash is not immediately known. (Viktor Klyushin / AP)
Backed by ships, helicopters and drones, Russian rescue teams searched Sunday for victims after a Russian plane carrying 92 people to Syria crashed into the Black Sea shortly after takeoff. Investigators said they were looking into every possible cause for the crash, including a terror attack.

India’s Modi lays foundation of huge statue amid criticism

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday laid the foundation stone for a massive memorial of a medieval warrior king that’s expected to cost billions of rupees and has come under criticism from environmental activists and others.

Explosion rocks east Aleppo in Syria as residents return

BEIRUT – An explosion rocked eastern Aleppo on Saturday as some residents were returning to their homes after the government assumed full control of the city earlier this week, state TV reported, while fresh airstrikes on a rebel-held town near Aleppo killed at least five people. The airstrikes on areas near the northern city of Aleppo show the government has resumed military activities after days of calm that coincided with the evacuation of tens of thousands of civilians and rebels from east Aleppo.

Israel’s Netanyahu lashes out at Obama over U.N. vote

Israel’s prime minister lashed out at President Barack Obama on Saturday, accusing him of a “shameful ambush” at the United Nations over West Bank settlements and saying he is looking forward to working with his “friend” President-elect Donald Trump.

Investigators seek supply network for slain Berlin attacker

Armed police officers stand behind concrete blocks for protection near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, after Anis Amri, the suspect of the terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin was shot in Milan, Italy. (Markus Schreiber / Associated Press)
Investigators on Saturday worked to determine if the Berlin Christmas market attacker got any logistical support to cross at least two European borders and evade capture for days before being killed in a police shootout in a Milan suburb.

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