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Pope's Christmas message ... Russia's day of mourning ... Israel promises to act


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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has wished Christmas peace for people scarred by wars and those who have lost loved ones to terrorism that he says is sowing "fear and death" in many cities and countries. Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, Francis cited those suffering through the Syrian war, especially during the "most awful battles" in Aleppo. He pressed the international community for a negotiated solution.

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared tomorrow a nationwide day of mourning for victims of the crash of a Russian plane that plunged into the sea with 92 people aboard. There appear to be no survivors after the T-u-154 passenger plane crashed into the Black Sea minutes after taking off from Sochi. The jet was carrying members of the world-famous Russian army choir to a New Year concert at the Russian military base in Syria.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is pressing forward with promises of retaliation and damage control following last week's U.N. vote on an anti-settlement resolution that passed thanks to an abstention by the U.S. Speaking to a weekly meeting of his Cabinet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is considering a "plan of action" against the U.N., without elaborating.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump says he will dissolve his charitable foundation before he takes office to avoid conflicts of interest. There's a legal hitch, though. The New York attorney general's office, which has been investigating whether foundation spending benefited Trump's campaign, says the foundation cannot close until the investigation is complete.

LONDON (AP) — It took police units, police dogs and a helicopter to control a massive Christmas morning brawl in the town of Woking (WOH'-king), England. Police say four people were arrested in a fight that broke out and involved as many as 100 people in the town located 25 miles southwest of London. It's not clear what they were fighting about.

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