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84-year-old nun gets 35 months for breaking into nuclear facility

(RNS) An 84-year-old nun was sentenced to nearly three years in prison on Tuesday (Feb. 18) for breaking into a Tennessee nuclear facility in July 2012.     Sister Megan Rice and two other anti-nuclear activists were convicted last May of breaking into a federal complex that stores enriched uranium.     ``Please have no leniency on me. To remain in prison for...
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Meriam Ibrahim, freed from Sudan, plans to settle in New Hampshire

ROME (RNS) Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian who was flown to Rome after her death sentence was overturned, is now dreaming of building a future in the U.S. “We will begin a new life,” Ibrahim told Antonella Napoli, head of Italians for Darfur, according to the daily La Repub...
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With Mosul’s Christians gone, Islamic State troops take over 4th-century monastery

ERBIL, Iraq (RNS) A day after most of Mosul’s Christians fled, Islamic State fighters stormed the fourth-century Mar Behnam Monastery near the city. They forced two priests, a monk, a guard and a few families taking refuge there to leave the Syriac Catholic compound. Like many Chr...
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Meriam Ibrahim, finally freed from Sudan, meets with Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis met Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman spared a death sentence for apostasy in Sudan, at the Vatican on Thursday (July 24) after she was flown to Rome by the Italian government following a vigorous international campaign to free her. Ibrahim, 27, w...
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A ban on new church construction angers Sudanese Christians

(RNS) Christians in Sudan frequently face arrests, impromptu questioning and expulsion. But this month, conditions worsened after the government announced a ban on the construction of new churches. Shalil Abdullah, the Sudanese minister for guidance and religious endowments, made...
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Political and religious leaders denounce European anti-Jewish outbursts tied to Gaza

PARIS (RNS) Amid mounting protests in Europe against the Gaza conflict, political and religious leaders in the region have sharply denounced anti-Semitism within their borders. “Anti-Semitic rhetoric and hostility against Jews, attacks on people of Jewish belief and synagogues hav...
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COMMENTARY: A letter to Christians about LGBT protections and religious freedom

(RNS) Dear faithful brothers and sisters: Some of you do not understand how your country can extend employment protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. I have been in ministry with LGBT people for decades, so permit me to share with you what happened Monday (J...
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IRS agrees to monitor churches for electioneering

(RNS) The Internal Revenue Service said it will monitor churches and other houses of worship for electioneering in a settlement reached with an atheist group.     The settlement was reached Friday (July 18) in federal court in Madison, Wis., where the initial lawsuit was filed in 2...
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ANALYSIS: Did Obama finally thread the needle on gay rights and religious freedom?

(RNS) One of the toughest political calculations in Washington is balancing competing claims of gay rights with the traditional prerogatives of religious freedom. After a number of setbacks on that front, President Obama may have finally found a small patch of middle ground with Mon...
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Pope Francis appeals for peace with Shimon Peres, Mahmoud Abbas

VATICAN CITY (RNS) As Israel continued its ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, Pope Francis urged Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to end the spiraling conflict. The pontiff telephoned the two leaders on Friday (July 18) to express “his very...
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Obama to employers: Notify workers if you’re dropping contraceptive coverage

Eds: A version of this story originally appeared in USA Today. It is available for use by RNS subscribers. Please use the USA Today byline. WASHINGTON — Employers that intend to drop coverage for some or all forms of contraception in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby dec...
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