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Pope calls for peace...Israel to press ahead despite UN Security Council vote... White Christmas in some parts of US

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LONDON (AP) — George Michael's publicist says the singer who rocketed to stardom with WHAM! and went on to enjoy a long and celebrated solo career lined with controversies has died. He was 53. Michael enjoyed immense popularity early in his career as a teenybopper idol, delivering a series of hits such as "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," ''Young Guns (Go For It)" and "Freedom." As a solo artist, he developed into a more serious singer and songwriter.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is sending out a Christmas wish of peace There was heavy security at the Vatican on Sunday as the pope delivered his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" Christmas Day message. Some 40 thousand gathered in St. Peter's Square to hear him. 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."

JERUSALEM (AP) —Israel is pressing forward with promises of retaliation and damage control after the U.N Security Council voted to condemn Israel for building more settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told his Cabinet that Israel is considering a "plan of action" against the U.N., vowing to "do all it takes so Israel emerges unscathed" from what he describes as a "shameful decision."

CHICAGO (AP) — It's a white — but slick and messy — Christmas for the northern Plains and some Western states. Most of the Dakotas and southwest Minnesota are turning into an "icy, slippery mess" due to freezing rain this morning. That's expected to change into snow as the day wears on. A blizzard warning is in effect for most of North Dakota, western South Dakota and a small section of eastern Montana through Monday,

MADISON, N.C. (AP) — Two suspects are on the run after North Carolina investigators say they shot seven people during a private Christmas Party attended by hundreds of people. Deputies say none of the victims appeared to have suffered life-threatening injuries after being gunned down early Saturday at a Moose Lodge in Madison, about 25 miles north of Greensboro. Deputies say a fight broke out during the party attended by 250 to 300 people.

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