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Pope begins Baltics pilgrimage as Russia threat looms large

Nicole Winfield and Maria Grazia Murru, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 22nd - 12:17am

Russia will be the elephant in the room as Pope Francis begins a four-day visit to the Baltics amid renewed alarm about Moscow's intentions in the region it has twice occupied.

Evangelicals push Senate Republicans to confirm Kavanaugh

Ken Thomas, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 12:29pm

Evangelical activists want Republican leaders to act more forcefully to send Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, expressing skepticism about the decades-old allegations of sexual assault levied against the federal judge. The political flashpoint is playing out only weeks before midterm elections in which conservative voters will be critical to the GOP drive to maintain control of Congress.

Rural Texas town council approves Muslim cemetery plan

The Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 11:43am

Leaders of a rural Texas town have approved design plans for a Muslim cemetery three years after the project was met with derision and claims that it was a precursor to a mosque or an extremist training center.

Fugitive New Mexico priest pleads not guilty to sex abuse

Mary Hudetz and Russell Contreras, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 10:49am

A fugitive priest who fled the U.S. decades ago amid allegations of child sex abuse has been returned to New Mexico to face charges after being arrested in Morocco last year, federal officials said Friday.

Russia looms in background as pope travels to Baltics

Nicole Winfield and Liudas Dapkus, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 6:55am

Pope Francis is heading to the Baltic countries this weekend amid renewed alarm about Russia's intentions in the region it twice occupied for decades.

Pope lets more bishops go as part of Chile sex abuse fallout

Frances D'Emilio, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 5:04am

Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignations of two more bishops in Chile, as fallout mounted from widespread sex abuse scandals there.

Report: Benedict defends 'emeritus pope' title to critic

The Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 3:28am

A German newspaper that quoted letters by Benedict XVI hitting back at criticism of his 2013 resignation said Friday that he was responding to a conservative German cardinal who took issue with his decision to take the title "emeritus pope."

5 years after mall Kenya attack, al-Shabab's threat grows

Tom Odula, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 1:38am

Five years after al-Shabab fighters burst into a luxury shopping mall in Kenya's capital, hurling grenades and starting a days-long siege that left 67 people dead, analysts say the Somalia-based extremist group has been pushed down Africa's east coast as far as Mozambique as its regional threat expands.

Catholic priest in Slovakia challenges celibacy rules

Karel Janicek, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 1:05am

A priest in the conservative Roman Catholic stronghold of Slovakia has challenged the church's celibacy rules, voicing his dissent at a time when clerical celibacy is once again a topic of debate amid ongoing sex abuse scandals.

Empty places at the table: Uighur children missing in China

Yanan Wang and Dake Kang, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 20th - 7:41pm

Chinese authorities are placing the children of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities into dozens of state-run orphanages across the far western Xinjiang region, as around 1 million adults in their families are sent to internment camps.

China distances children from families to subdue Muslim west

Yanan Wang and Dake Kang, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 20th - 7:33pm

The Chinese government has turned four of Meripet's children into orphans, even though she and her husband are alive.

China treats Uighur kids as 'orphans' after parents seized

Yanan Wang and Dake Kang, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 20th - 7:05pm

Every morning, Meripet wakes up to her nightmare: The Chinese government has turned four of her children into orphans, even though she and their father are alive.

Anti-abuse activists pan US Catholic bishops' new proposals

David Crary, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 20th - 1:21pm

Lawyers and advocates for victims of clergy sex-abuse are assailing as inadequate some new steps announced by U.S. Catholic bishops to curtail the abuse scandals that have deeply shaken the church this year.

Pennsylvania dioceses consider victims' compensation fund

Marc Levy, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 3:32pm

Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses said late Friday they are willing to set up a victims' compensation fund as they face the prospect that state lawmakers will give victims of decades-old child sexual abuse another chance to sue the church.

The Latest: Fugitive priest pleads not guilty to sex abuse

The Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 12:28pm

The Latest on the arrest of a fugitive priest from New Mexico on child sexual abuse charges (all times local):

Rivals for Georgia governor clash on 'religious freedom' law

Russ Bynum, Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 11:19am

The candidates running to become Georgia's next governor are clashing over whether the state should pass a law offering protection for citizens acting on religious belief.

Pakistan urges China to ease pressure on Muslims minority

The Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 21st - 2:51am

Pakistan is urging China to ease pressures on the country's Muslim minority amid warnings by rights groups that the Uighurs in China face restrictions on religious activities and mass detentions in so-called "re-education camps."

Canada declares Myanmar treatment of Rohingya to be genocide

The Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 20th - 4:27pm

Canada's Parliament has unanimously adopted a motion declaring crimes committed against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar to be genocide.

Washington calls for the release of scientist in Turkey

The Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 20th - 1:32pm

The United States has called for the immediate release of a NASA scientist who was arrested in southern Turkey for alleged links to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based Islamic cleric the Turkish government blames for a failed 2016 coup attempt.

Retired Illinois priest faces deportation over illegal vote

The Associated Press  |  Posted Sep 20th - 11:46am

A retired Episcopal priest in southwestern Illinois is facing deportation to his native England for what he says was mistakenly voting 12 years ago.