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Ransomed: The freeing of 226 Christians from Islamic State

Lori Hinnant, Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 6th - 9:40am

The millions in ransom money came in dollar by dollar, euro by euro from around the world. The donations, raised from church offerings, a Christmas concert, and the diaspora of Assyrian Christians on Facebook, landed in a bank account in Iraq. Its ultimate destination: the Islamic State group.

German conservatives back Merkel amid tough talk on migrants

Geir Moulson, Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 6th - 9:21am

Chancellor Angela Merkel won a new term Tuesday as the leader of Germany's main conservative party after stressing her determination to prevent a repeat of last year's huge migrant influx and advocating a partial ban on face-covering veils.

Fidel Castro laid to rest in private ceremony in east Cuba

Christine Armario, Andrea Rodriguez and Michael Weissenstein, Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 4th - 8:20pm

A wooden box containing Fidel Castro's ashes was placed by his brother and successor on Sunday into the side of a granite boulder that has become Cuba's only official monument to the charismatic bearded rebel who seized control of a U.S.-allied Caribbean island and transformed it into a western outpost of Soviet-style communism that he ruled with absolute power for nearly a half century.

Christmas gifts for underprivileged kids stolen from church

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 7th - 6:30am

Police in Connecticut are investigating the theft of dozens of toys collected for underprivileged children from a Watertown church.

Germany: 3 teens go on trial over bombing a Sikh temple

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 7th - 6:10am

Three teenagers have gone on trial in Germany over an explosion at a Sikh temple in the western city of Essen.

Pope insists opening on civilly divorced has church backing

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 7th - 5:50am

Pope Francis is insisting that his opening to letting civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion has the backing of the majority of the world's bishops.

The Latest: Judge refuses to delay Dylann Roof's trial

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 6th - 5:00pm

The Latest on the trial of Dylann Roof charged with killing nine people in a Charleston church (all times local):

Ransomed: The race to free 226 Christian hostages in Syria

Lori Hinnant, Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 6th - 3:20pm

Deep inside Syria, a bishop worked secretly to save the lives of 226 members of his flock from the Islamic State group — by amassing millions of dollars from his community around the world to buy their freedom.

Court won't hear appeal of rabbi after wife beaten to death

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 6th - 2:41pm

New Jersey's highest court won't hear an appeal from a rabbi convicted of plotting the 1994 murder-for-hire of his wife at their home.

Muslim cleric in US court says he wasn't convicted in Israel

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 6th - 2:02pm

The leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques took the stand in court Tuesday to defend himself against charges he lied on his green card application.

Graffiti welcomes Muslims at Islamic center in Missouri

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 6th - 10:31am

At a time when reports of anti-Muslim sentiment are rising, an Islamic Center in Missouri has received a different message.

Romania accused of discriminating against Hungarian festival

Alison Mutler, Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 6th - 8:51am

The Romanian culture ministry has discriminated against Hungarians in the country by failing to win international recognition for a religious festival, an ethnic Hungarian politician said Tuesday.

Church matriarch gets jail for beating that killed teen boy

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 6th - 7:40am

The matriarch of a small New York church where two brothers were beaten for hours during a counseling session has been sentenced to two years in jail.

AP Explains: What's behind persecution of Myanmar's Rohingya

Grant Peck, Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 5th - 7:01pm

Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority face discrimination and violence from the Buddhist majority in the Southeast Asian country. Their plight generally goes unnoticed by the world at large, even though some rights activists say their persecution amounts to ethnic cleansing. Here are several things to know about the group:

Muslim cleric appears in court fighting against deportation

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 5th - 5:50pm

The leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques, who is accused of lying on his green card application, was in court Monday to fight deportation.

Argentina prosecutor: Priests abused at least 22 children

Almudena Calatrava, Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 5th - 2:31pm

At least 22 children were sexually abused by two priests at a school for youths with hearing disabilities in Argentina, an investigating prosecutor said Monday.

Muslim police officer says man threatened her and her son

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 4th - 10:00pm

Police are investigating a possible bias incident in which an off-duty New York City police officer who is Muslim says she and her 16-year-old son were harassed.

Russian patriarch blesses new Paris church, a Putin project

Angela Charlton, Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 4th - 2:01pm

The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church consecrated a prominent new church Sunday near the Eiffel Tower seen as a controversial symbol of Russian President Vladimir Putin's influence in Europe.

46 claims filed in 2 months to priest abuse victims program

Jennifer Peltz, Associated Press  |  Posted  Dec 4th - 12:01pm

It took 30 years for a former student to be ready to report he'd been sexually abused by a respected Roman Catholic priest on high school trips. But it didn't take long to realize the priest wouldn't be held accountable in court.