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Pope Francis Celebrates Christmas At Saint Peter’s, Italy

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Pope Francis Celebrates Christmas At Saint Peter's, Italy

Pope Francis celebrated Christmas mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica and called on the world to see differences as a source of richness instead of danger. He also called for reconciliation in places torn apart by conflicts.

The Pope delivered the traditional papal message to tens of thousands of people in a sunny St. Peter’s square.

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Security was tight around the Vatican for the Christmas season, with military jeeps stationed at key access routes.  Tourists had to undergo metal detector and bag searches.

Last week, police in southern Italy arrested a Somali man suspected of having been a member of the Islamic State. He was also said to have threatened to bomb churches in Italy, including Saint Peter’s.

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In his address, Francis, the first Pope from Latin America, called for “fraternity among people with different ideas, yet capable of respecting and listening to one another.”  He said God wanted “love, acceptance, respect for his poor humanity of ours, which we all share in a great variety of races, languages, and cultures.”

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Bombers Who Carried Out Attacks In Sri Lanka Were Well Educated – Investigators

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Bombers Who Carried Out Attacks In Sri Lanka Were Well Educated - Investigators

Investigation into Sri Lanka Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 350 persons entered a fourth day on Wednesday.

Investigators say the suicide bombers who struck churches and hotels were all well-educated, middle-class Sri Lankans.

There were nine of them, eight men and one woman — including the man described as the leader of the homegrown, militant Islamist group that was blamed for the attack.

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Indian intelligence officials revealed it was the last in a series of unheeded alerts, including an intelligence memo, written at least 10 days before the bombings, that warned of attacks on churches.

President Maithripala Sirisena has requested the resignations of defense secretary, Hemasiri Fernando, and Inspector General of Police, Pujith Jayasundara.

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Meanwhile, victims of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka were laid to rest on Tuesday, with one funeral procession following another all day.

Giving the victims in Negombo a Christian burial essentially required a mass grave, and a whole new cemetery had to be hastily dug to bury more than a hundred bodies. The graves are simple mounds, covered in flowers.

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Family, neighbors and friends looked on, still trying to absorb the community’s staggering loss.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Condemns Trump Silence On Saudi Mass Execution

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Iranian Foreign Minister Condemns Trump Silence On Saudi Mass Execution

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif has criticised the administration of US president Donald Trump for not condemning a mass execution of prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia beheaded 37 of its citizens for what it said were “terrorism”-related crimes, publicly pinning two of the bodies to a pole as a warning to others.

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Tehran and Washington have taken in tit-for-tat measures to label each other’s military as “terrorist” recently, following Trump administration’s decision on Monday to end waivers for country’s importing oil for Iran.

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Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said in a statement that the prisoners were found guilty of attacking security installations with explosives, killing a number of security officers, and cooperating with “enemy organizations” against the interests of the country.

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Rights groups say each year, between 2015 and 2017, Saudi Arabia executed at least a hundred fifty prisoners.

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North Korea’s Kim Arrives In Russia Ahead Of Summit With Putin

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North Korea's Kim Arrives in Russia Ahead of Summit With Putin

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in the Russian city of Vladivostok ahead of his planned summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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Russian state television showed Kim stepping out of his green private train at a railway station in the Eastern Port City, Wednesday afternoon under a leaden sky.

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Kim and Putin are set to meet for the first time Thursday, but there is no plan to sign any agreements or make a joint statement.

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Kim’s visit to North Korea’s northern neighbor comes amid an impasse in the nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington.

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