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MOSCOW (AP) — It's a sad Christmas for many Russians. Emergency crews are planning to work all night searching the Black Sea off Sochi for victims and plane debris after a Russian Tu-154 carrying 92 passengers and crew crashed right after takeoff before dawn. The plane went down with 92 people on board, including a world-famous Russian army choir. The Alexandrov Ensemble was to have played a New Year's concert at a Russian base in Syria.
JERUSALEM (AP) — A fake news story is blamed for touching off a tense Twitter confrontation between nuclear power Pakistan and Israel. The story claimed Israel's former defense minister threatened a nuclear attack against Pakistan if it sends troops to Syria. Pakistan's defense minister reminded Israel that "Pakistan is a nuclear state too." Israel's Defense Ministry tweeted back saying the story was "totally fictitious."
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is sending a Christmas wish of peace "to the ends of the Earth." In the pope's traditional "Urbi et Orbi" Christmas day message, Francis wished peace to those who have lost loved ones to terrorism, which he said is sowing "fear and death into the hearts of so many countries and cities." There was heavy security at the Vatican today.
HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama is thanking U.S. troops deployed overseas during Christmas and the holidays. The White House says Obama spent Christmas Eve calling service members from each of the military's branches to thank them for serving the nation. Obama placed the calls from Hawaii, where he is on vacation with his family.
WASHINGTON CROSSING, Pa. (AP) — George Washington and his troops have made their annual Christmas Day trip across the Delaware River. The 64th annual re-enactment of the daring Christmas 1776 crossing of the river took the group from Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, to Titusville, New Jersey, this afternoon. The re-enactment drew large crowds of families and fans of history to both sides of the river in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
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