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Russian plane disappears ... Netanyahu angry with Obama ... Pope Francis begins Christmas season


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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's Defense Ministry says a military aircraft with 91 people aboard disappeared over the Black Sea shortly after takeoff from the resort town of Sochi (SOH'-chee). The plane, carrying the famous Alexandrov military band, was on its way to a Russian base in Syria. The ministry says the plane was carrying 83 passengers and eight crew when it dropped off radar early Sunday. It says emergency services are searching for the plane.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister is lashing out at President Barack Obama, accusing him of conducting "a shameful anti-Israel ambush at the U.N." over West Bank settlements and says he's looking forward to working with his "friend" President-elect Donald Trump. Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel rejects what he calls the "delusional" U.N. resolution which demanded an end to Israeli settlement construction. It got the green light after the U.S. abstained from voting.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is urging Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus by thinking about the plight of today's children. On Christmas Eve, he bemoaned how some children must escape bombs or flee in migrant boats and how others are prevented from being born at all. For his first major event of the season, Francis celebrated a somber Christmas Eve Mass in a packed St. Peter's Basilica. He will next give his noon blessing on Christmas Day.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A powerful typhoon is heading for a Christmas Day collision with the central Philippines. Nock-Ten has intensified into a super typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 108 miles per hour and gusts of up to 133 mph. It's expected to make landfall over Cataduanes (kah-tan-doo-AH'-nees) Island in the central Bicol (BEE'-kohl) region. It's then forecast to drag across the southern portion of Luzon (luh-ZAHN') island as it passes close to the capital, Manila, and begins to weaken.

NEW YORK (AP) — An engineer who fell asleep at the controls of a speeding commuter train in New York City will receive a lifetime disability pension. The Journal News reports William Rockefeller will receive $3,200 a month from Metro-North Railroad on top of his federal railroad retirement pension. Rockefeller was at the controls of a Metro-North train that derailed in the Bronx in December 2013. Four passengers were killed and dozens were injured.

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