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Counting blessings...Praying peace...Arson suspect at Clinton historical site

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HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — Some residents of northern Mississippi say they're just glad to be alive this Christmas, even if their presents and homes were wiped out by Wednesday's storms. Fourteen people in three states were killed. Forecasters say there is a continuing risk of flooding in the region. Marines helped pass out toys and other needed items today in one hard-hit town.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is praying for peace. Speaking today from St. Peter's Basilica, Francis prayed for the U.N.-backed peace processes for Syria and Libya and that suffering will end. He called atrocities against civilians a "monstrous evil." He also called for peace in the Middle East

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Post correspondent being held by the Iranian government for more than 500 days has been allowed a Christmas Day visit with his wife and mother. The mother of Jason Rezaian (reh-ZY'-ahn) says in an email to the newspaper that the visit lasted several hours. The 39-year-old reporter holds both U.S. and Iranian citizenships. He was convicted after being charged with espionage and related allegations.

HAVERHILL, Mass. (AP) — Two Massachusetts women face criminal charges for what authorities say was a hoax that touched off a massive search after the two allegedly reported that a man threw a baby into the Merrimac River. Charges they face include misleading a police investigation and filing a false police report.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) —A fire that caused minor damage to former President Bill Clinton's childhood home in Hope, Arkansas, was apparently caused by arson. A police official in Hope says a motorist spotted flames early today at the Clinton Birthplace National Historic Site. One interior room was damaged. Arson is suspected because investigators smelled an accelerant at the scene.

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