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Pope Francis has praised the "small steps" of diplomacy and peacemaking that brought about the rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba.
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How revived ties with Cuba came to be

By Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee, Associated Press  |  posted Dec 18th - 1:20am
Fresh off his 2012 re-election victory, President Barack Obama summoned senior advisers to a series of meetings, asking them to "think big" about a second-term agenda, including the possibilities of new starts with long-standing U.S. foes such as Iran and Cuba. Two years later, after painstaking secret diplomacy on separate but surprisingly similar tracks, efforts with Tehran and Havana are in full swing.
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Most Americans think Christian symbols on government property are OK, survey shows

Megan Marsden Christensen  |  posted Dec 17th - 7:04pm
A new survey shows a majority of Americans believe Christian symbols should be permitted on government property, according to the PewResearch Center.
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Pope played crucial role in US-Cuba rapprochement

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press  |  posted Dec 17th - 3:51pm
The crucial role played by Pope Francis in bringing Cuba and the United States together signals that history's first Latin American pope has no qualms about putting the Holy See on the front lines of diplomacy, especially for a cause it has long championed.
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Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw

By Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee, Associated Press  |  posted Dec 17th - 3:41pm
Fresh off his 2012 re-election victory, President Barack Obama summoned senior advisers to a series of meetings, asking them to "think big" about a second-term agenda, including the possibilities of new starts with long-standing U.S. foes such as Iran and Cuba. Two years later, after painstaking secret diplomacy on separate but surprisingly similar tracks, efforts with Tehran and Havana are in full swing.
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Pope gets cake, tango and chicken for birthday

By Daniela Petroff, Associated Press  |  posted Dec 17th - 10:02am
Pope Francis got a cake, cards and a tango demonstration for his 78th birthday Wednesday — and 800 kilograms (1,760 pounds) of chicken meat for the poor.
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Celebrate miracles and share light, Herbert says at menorah lighting ceremony

Whitney Evans  |  posted Dec 17th - 7:38am
Rabbi Benny Zippel, of the Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, joined Gov. Gary Herbert and other dignitaries for a menorah lighting ceremony Tuesday at the Capitol.
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Biden marks start of Hanukkah at national menorah

By Josh Lederman, Associated Press  |  posted Dec 16th - 4:52pm
The smell of latkes — fresh potato pancakes — wafted over the National Mall on Tuesday as Vice President Joe Biden marked the first night of Hanukkah.
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No immediate plans for Mormon missionaries in Cuba

The Associated Press  |  posted Dec 18th - 3:10am
The Mormon church says it's too soon to say if it will start sending missionaries to Cuba as the United States begins re-establishing diplomatic ties with the communist island.
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Pope adds 2nd victim to sex abuse commission

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press  |  posted Dec 17th - 2:31pm
Pope Francis has added a second survivor of priestly sex abuse to his commission of experts advising the Vatican on child protection policies, tapping a self-described "thorn in the side of the church" who has criticized the church's response to the scandal.
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Church of England appoints first female bishop

By Jill Lawless, Associated Press  |  posted Dec 17th - 5:10am
The Church of England on Wednesday named the first female bishop in its 500-year history, promoting saxophone-playing, soccer-loving vicar Libby Lane to bishop of Stockport.
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Funerals begin as death toll rises in Pakistan

The Associated Press  |  posted Dec 17th - 2:00am
Funerals have begun in Pakistan for the dozens of children and teachers killed during a Taliban attack on a military-run school in the country's northwest.
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