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Charities fight changes on tax deductions

WASHINGTON (RNS) Most Americans who file income tax returns won't be affected by proposed changes in how charitable contributions are deducted, but that hasn't stopped charitable groups from lobbying Congress to fight any change in deductions as part of the "fiscal cliff'' negotiations. By Jackie Kucinich / USA Today.
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Ugandan bishop willing to defend notorious Lord’s Resistance Army commander in war crimes court

(RNS) In its heyday, the Ugandan rebel force known as the Lord’s Resistance Army was accused of killing more than 100,000 people, abducting 60,000 to 100,000 children and displacing more than 2.5 million civilians. But now a retired Anglican bishop in northern Uganda says he is re...
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Auschwitz was about the Jews (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) I might have seen Anne Frank’s body. That was what went through my mind as I watched the new HBO documentary “Night Will Fall.” In 1945, as Allied soldiers liberated the concentration camps, combat and newsreel cameramen recorded the scenes from hell that they encountered. S...
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Putting our money where our faith is by divesting from fossil fuels (COMMENTARY)

WASHINGTON (RNS) We’re a few weeks into 2015, which means many of us are striving to keep our New Year’s resolutions while others have already seen their best intentions collapse under the pressure of daily routines. Every year, we make promises to be better — we’ll go to the gym, s...
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Tanzania bans witch doctors after scores of albino people are killed in ritual slaughter

(RNS) The government of Tanzania has banned witch doctors due to ritual killings of albino people for their body parts. The witch doctors reportedly fueled the killings by inducing local people to believe “magic potions” made from body parts brought good luck and wealth. Some re...
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Mario Cuomo’s overlooked contributions to bioethics (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) Lost in the extensive media coverage of Mario Cuomo’s recent death was mention of one of the former governor’s most enduring achievements: the New York state biomedical Task Force on Life and the Law. During his first term as governor, Cuomo established the 25-member task fo...
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Using ‘flower speech’ and new Facebook tools, Myanmar fights online hate speech

YANGON, Myanmar (RNS) Sometimes a smiley-face emoticon just won’t do the trick. In Myanmar, the newest set of Facebook stickers features a flower in an animated character’s mouth. The 24 stickers carry a deeper message than the usual “Like” thumbs-up Facebook icon: “End hate speec...
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My top 10 religion stories of 2014 (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) It was a topsy-turvy year in 2014, and here are my picks for the top 10 religion stories of the year: 1. Islamic extremist groups, especially the Islamic State and Boko Haram, dominated the year’s news with atrocities that included beheadings, crucifixions, mass killings and...
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Franciscan order on verge of bankruptcy after financial fraud is uncovered

VATICAN CITY (RNS) One of the largest Franciscan religious orders, founded on the humble teachings of St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago, announced it is on the brink of bankruptcy after admitting some of its monks embezzled funds from its accounts. The Italian news mag...
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Executions drop to lowest level in two decades

WASHINGTON (RNS) Driven in part by continuing legal disputes related to lethal injection drugs and state moratoriums on the death penalty, the 35 people executed in the U.S. this year marks the fewest in two decades, according to a year-end report by the Death Penalty Information Ce...
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What to say when your Muslim child asks about Peshawar

(RNS) The massacre of 145 people, nearly all of them children, at a Pakistani school on Tuesday (Dec. 16)  is almost too horrible for adults to talk about, much less children. But what if your Muslim child brings it up? What if you want to open the discussion? Does the fact that...
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