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Death Cafes help ease grief, loss in the time of coronavirus

Leanne Italie and Emily Leshner, Associated Press  |  Posted Jul 1st - 9:24am

Panic attacks, trouble breathing, relapses that have sent her to bed for 14 hours at a time: At 35, Marissa Oliver has been forced to deal with the specter of death on COVID-19′s terms, yet conversations about her illness, fear and anxiety haven’t been easy.

Museum or mosque? Turkey debates iconic Hagia Sofia's status

Suzan Fraser and Ayse Wieting, Associated Press  |  Posted Jul 1st - 9:07am

In its more than 1,400-year existence, the majestic domed structure of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul has served as the Byzantine Empire’s main cathedral, a mosque under the Ottoman Empire and a museum under modern Turkey, attracting millions of tourists each year.

Zoom got big fast. Then videobombers made it rework security

Michael Liedtke, Associated Press  |  Posted Jul 1st - 9:05am

Back in March as the coronavirus pandemic gathered steam in the U.S., a largely unheralded video-conferencing service suddenly found itself in the spotlight.

Maine, Vermont next in fight over aid to religious schools

David Sharp and Wilson Ring, Associated Press  |  Posted Jul 1st - 7:45am

A U.S. Supreme Court decision that says states can’t cut religious schools out of programs that send public money to private education could breathe new life into efforts to force Maine and Vermont to help fund religious educations.

AP Exclusive: Hair weaves from Chinese prison camps seized

Martha Mendoza, Associated Press  |  Posted Jul 1st - 7:06am

topped with “Haolin Hair Accessories” in big red letters — was ringed with barbed wire fencing and surveillance cameras, and the entrance was blocked by helmeted police. Across the street, what appeared to be an educational facility was topped with political slogans declaring “the country has power” and urging people to obey the Communist Party. It was unclear whether the factory was part of a detention center, but former detainees in other parts of Xinjiang have described being shuttled to work in fenced, guarded compounds during the day and taken back to internment camps at night.

The Latest: South Korea worries as virus resurgence spreads

The Associated Press  |  Posted Jul 1st - 12:19am

South Korea says it has confirmed 54 more COVID-19 cases as the coronavirus continues to spread beyond the capital region and reach cities like Gwangju, which has shut schools and tightened social restrictions after dozens fell sick this week.

Interfaith group: No Buddhist or Hindu statues in nightclubs

William J. Kole, Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 30th - 11:19pm

America’s nightclubs are largely closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that isn’t stopping an interfaith coalition from launching a campaign to stop what organizers call the “disrespectful” use of sacred Buddhist and Hindu statues as decor.

Asia Today: Thailand lets in some foreigners, opens schools

The Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 30th - 8:43pm

Thailand has begun a fifth phase of relaxations of COVID-19 restrictions, allowing the reopening of schools and high-risk entertainment venues such as pubs and massage parlors that had been shut since mid-March.

Pope urges US Catholic media to work to overcome racism

Nicole Winfield, Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 30th - 1:25pm

Pope Francis is urging Catholic media in the U.S. to work to overcome the “diseases of racism and injustice" in his latest comments about George Floyd's death in the U.S. and the anti-racism protests that followed.

With a pen stroke, Mississippi drops Confederate-themed flag

Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 30th - 10:22am

With a stroke of the governor’s pen, Mississippi is retiring the last state flag in the U.S. with the Confederate battle emblem — a symbol that’s widely condemned as racist.

Vatican prosecutors seize data from St. Peter's Basilica

Nicole Winfield, Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 30th - 4:28am

Vatican prosecutors have ordered the seizure of documents and computers from the administrative offices of St. Peter’s Basilica in an apparent new investigation into financial irregularities in the Holy See.

Polish group seeks pope's action against sex abuse, cover-up

Nicole Winfield, Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 29th - 12:02pm

The Vatican says Pope Francis has been informed about an appeal launched by a group of Catholics in Poland urging intervention into cases where bishops have continued to cover up for priests who sexually molest children.

Band's pandemic diversion leads to every-night gig in park

Kathy Willens and Emily Leshner, Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 29th - 8:44am

What started as a way for two musicians to get out of the house during the pandemic has turned into nightly concerts at the boathouse in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park -- with fans who expect them to play three to four hours a night, seven nights a week.

Winds of change: Mississippi rebel-themed flag fading away

Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 28th - 11:02pm

The Mississippi flag is fading from public display in many places, even before the governor signs a bill that will retire the last state banner in the U.S. that includes the Confederate battle emblem.

Lebanon's FM to summon US envoy over comments on Hezbollah

Bassem Mroue, Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 28th - 6:23am

Lebanon’s foreign minister summoned the U.S. ambassador to Beirut over comments she made recently in which she criticized the militant Hezbollah group, state-run National News Agency reported Sunday.

Mississippi takes step toward dropping rebel image from flag

Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 27th - 8:19am

Spectators at the Mississippi Capitol broke into cheers and applause Saturday as lawmakers took a big step toward erasing the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, a symbol that has come under intensifying criticism in recent weeks amid nationwide protests against racial injustice.

Confederate symbol on Mississippi flag sparks strong debate

Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press  |  Posted Jun 26th - 3:39pm

Emotions are running high as Mississippi legislators consider the future of the last state flag in the U.S. that includes the Confederate battle emblem.

Catholic priest suspended for comparing BLM to 'maggots'

The Associated Press  |  Posted Jul 1st - 3:34pm

A bishop suspended a suburban Indianapolis Catholic priest from public ministry on Wednesday for comparing the Black Lives Matter movement and its organizers to “maggots and parasites” in a recent church bulletin.

Editorial Roundup: US

The Associated Press  |  Posted Jul 1st - 1:09pm

why would getting paid make all that much difference? Iranians have been paying them to kill Americans, and so have jihadist elements in Pakistan, including some in the intelligence services.