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Obama says must keep public abreast of terror fight...Francis addresses Vatican officials...Former FIFA president Blatter says he'll appeal ban

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HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama says criticism of his strategy to combat the Islamic State group is legitimate and failure to keep the public informed has contributed to fears that not enough is being done. Obama tells NPR News in an interview that the most damage IS can do to the U.S. is to force Americans to change how they live or what they believe in.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — Fierce fighting is continuing in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, after Taliban gunmen overran a strategic district. Helmand's deputy governor says gunmen took control of the Sangin district last night and that casualties among Afghan security forces are high.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Police say a woman who intentionally ran over pedestrians along the Las Vegas Strip is being interviewed and is having her blood drawn and tested. Police say they aren't sure why the woman swerved her car onto a busy sidewalk two or three times Sunday, killing one person and injuring at least 30 others, but police say the assault probably was not terrorism.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is urging Vatican bureaucrats to show more honesty, humility and sobriety. The pope has issued a Christmas-time "catalog of virtues" for Vatican officials to follow after having castigated them last year during his Christmas greeting to them. Francis joked today that after last year's scathing public critique in his "15 ailments of the Curia," he should have come up this year with the "Curial antibiotics" to treat them.

ZURICH (AP) — Sepp Blatter says he'll appeal his 8-year ban from soccer to Court of Arbitration for Sport. Speaking at a news conference today, Blatter also says he still views himself as president of FIFA (FEE'-fuh), despite the ban. Blatter and the president of Europe's soccer association, Michel Platini, received the same ban for conflict of interest and disloyalty to FIFA in a $2 million payment deal in 2011 based on an oral contract.

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