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Christmas Eve celebrated...Storm deaths...Federal Express swamped



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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has used a message at a Christmas Eve gathering to note the simplicity of the birth of Jesus. He said the birth is a call for all act "in a way that is simple, balanced and consistent." Speaking at St. Peter's Basilica, he also spoke against injustices. In the Holy Land, recent violence between Israel and Palestinians has dampened the turnout in Bethlehem.

HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — A sheriff says severe weather completely destroyed the three homes of four people killed in northern Mississippi's Benton County. Three other people were killed in the state. The search continues for a missing person. Overall, storms in the Southeast have claimed at least 11 lives. The other victims were in Arkansas and Tennessee.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Some last-minute shoppers at a shopping center in Charlotte, North Carolina, have experienced terror. Gunfire broke out after an argument in a crowded store at Northlake Mall. It ended with what police are calling "an officer involved shooting." One person said to be "armed" was pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were injured.

CHICAGO (AP) — Recordings of Chicago police radio traffic prior to a white officer's shooting of a black teen 16 times show that one of the officers present requested a Taser. One officer said: "This guy is walking away but he's got a knife in hand." The recordings were obtained by WMAQ-TV through a Freedom of Information Act Request. Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder.

UNDATED (AP) — Calling all reindeer. Federal Express says it won't be able to make all its scheduled deliveries on Christmas Eve. The carrier blames shopping surge and weather challenges. It will make deliveries tomorrow and will open its Express offices across the U.S. to customers can pick up those clothing items, toys and fruitcakes themselves.

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The Associated Press

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