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Pope says Christmas 'hostage' to materialism, God in shadows

Pope says Christmans hostage to materialismPope Francis said on Saturday that Christmas had been "taken hostage" by dazzling materialism that puts God in the shadows and blinds many to the needs of the hungry, the migrants and the war weary.

Francis, leading the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics into Christmas for the fourth time since his election in 2013, said in his Christmas Eve homily that a world often obsessed with gifts, feasting and self-centeredness needed more humility.


UN passes resolution calling for end to Israeli settlements

UN passes resultion calling for end to settlementsThe U.N. Security Council on Friday passed a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building in occupied territories.

The U.S. had the ability to veto the resolution but abstained from doing so, despite pressure from President-elect Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Obama administration’s decision to let it pass represents a break from the longstanding U.S. policy of shielding Israel from U.N. reproaches.


Malta hijack ends peacefully as Gaddafi loyalists surrender

Malta skyjack ends peacefullyHijackers armed with what were probably replica weapons forced an airliner to land in Malta on Friday before freeing all their hostages unharmed and surrendering, having declared loyalty to Libya's late leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Television pictures showed two men being led from the aircraft in handcuffs. The prime minister of the tiny Mediterranean island, Joseph Muscat, tweeted: "Hijackers surrendered, searched and taken in custody".

The Airbus A320 had been on an internal flight in Libya on Friday morning when it was diverted to Malta, 500 km (300 miles) north of the Libyan coast, after a man told the crew he had a hand grenade.


Anis Amri, suspect in Berlin Christmas market attack, shot dead in Milan

Berlin terrorist killed in MilanItalian Interior Minister Marco Minniti on Friday said police in Milan fatally shot Anis Amri, the main suspect behind this week's Berlin Christmas market truck attack.

"The person who attacked our police officers was killed," Minniti said at a press conference. "There is absolutely no doubt that the person who was killed was Anis Amri, the suspect in the terrorist attack in Berlin."


Germany’s Far Right Rises Again

Alternative for DeutschlandFive days after Donald Trump became the next president of the United States, the South Munich chapter of Germany’s far-right party, Alternative for Deutschland, held its first meeting since the U.S. election. In a traditional Bavarian tavern on a quiet residential street, 50-some party members and supporters drank beer and celebrated the victory that they felt was, in many ways, their own.

The theme of the meeting was supposed to be the local elections in May, when the AfD is expected to pick up seats in several of Germany’s state parliaments. (The party currently holds seats in 10 of Germany’s 16 state parliaments, up from five one year ago.) But instead of local elections, talk that night centered almost exclusively on Donald Trump.


Prince Charles: Rise of Anti-Immigrant Populism Echoes Nazi Era

prince CharlesThe heir to Britain's throne spoke out Thursday, saying the wave of anti-immigrant populism sweeping the world has "deeply disturbing echoes" of the Nazis' persecution of Jews in the 1930s.

Prince Charles, the queen's eldest son, said his parents' generation "fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and an inhuman attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe.


Trump: US should veto UN Israel settlement resolution

Trump: Veto UN settlement resolutionHours before the United Nations Security Council was to vote on a draft resolution demanding Israel halts settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territories, president-elect Donald Trump urged the US to veto the measure.

Egypt on Wednesday circulated the draft calling on Israel to "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem".

The vote was scheduled for 3pm (20:00 GMT) on Thursday.


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