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2 men get prison in Mormon ruse robbery in Vegas

Associated Press

Two men who posed as religious missionaries have been sentenced to seven years to life in Nevada state prison after being found guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges in a home invasion at a Las Vegas house.

Sierra Leone bans Christmas parties amid Ebola

- Associated Press

Alice Marke and her family aren't celebrating Christmas the way they used to: The deadly Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone means no festive parties at the beach, no carolers singing at night.

A Palestinian dressed as Santa Claus holds balloons at Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Faithful flock to Bethlehem for Christmas

- Associated Press

Several thousand Christian pilgrims on Wednesday flocked to the biblical town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations at the traditional birthplace of Jesus, lifting spirits after a year of conflict and failed peace efforts.

In this Dec. 1, 2014, a guard walks inside the chapel of the former University of Santo Thomas of Villanueva in Havana, Cuba. Since late 2009, President Raul Castro's government has been quietly returning some church property that was confiscated in the years after the Cuban revolution, including this chapel. The rest of the university property was not returned. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Cuba's relations with Catholic Church hit high point

- Associated Press

Golden rays of tropical sunlight slant through the caved-in roof of Saint Thomas de Villanueva chapel, illuminating tiles graced by the faces of saints. Vandals shattered the stained-glass windows and scrawled their names on the thick walls during decades of frigid relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Cuba's communist government.

Pope Francis delivers his message during a meeting with cardinals and bishops of the Vatican Curia on the occasion of the exchange of Christmas greetings in the Clementine hall at Vatican, Monday, Dec. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Andreas Solaro, Pool)

Pope Francis' words to Middle East

Catholic News Agency

In a Christmas message to Christians of the Middle East, Pope Francis grieved the violence that has ravaged and displaced many of the region's faithful. But the birth of Jesus, he insisted, gives us the ultimate consolation – God has come in the flesh to save us.

Indiana man's mobile Nativity a response to ban

- Associated Press

On a frigid night lit by the lights of the Tippecanoe County Courthouse last week, Don and Mary Beth Porter drove around downtown looking for him.

Defense: Ex-gov should volunteer, not go to prison

- Associated Press

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell's lawyers asked a judge Tuesday to order three years of community service for his federal corruption convictions while prosecutors recommended a prison term of at least 10 years.

Notre Dame Sociology professor Richard Williams sits at his desk on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, Oct. 14, 2014 in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

Church-based institutions ponder same-sex benefits

- Associated Press

Universities, charities and hospitals affiliated with churches that oppose same-sex marriage are facing the thorny question of whether they have an obligation - morally or legally - to extend health care benefits to spouses of gay and lesbian employees in states where they now are allowed to marry.

An angel ripped from a Satanic Temple display at the Florida Capitol sits on a table, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014, in Tallahassee, Fla. A woman damaged the Satanic display a day after an atheist group put it up as a counter to a nativity scene that was set up by a Christian group. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)

Satanic display at Florida Capitol damaged

- Associated Press

Florida's Capitol has displayed a Pabst Blue Ribbon Festivus pole, atheist banners and even a tribute to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But a display showing an angel falling into flames with the message "Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple" was too much for one woman.

Abuse case upheld for boy kept in church bathroom

- Associated Press

A man who punished his teenage son by confining him in a church bathroom lost an appeal Tuesday as the Missouri Supreme Court upheld his child abuse convictions.

Local facility help treat Alzheimer's victims

- Associated Press

When Polly Wilson of Alamance County was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease more than 10 years ago, her husband Richard had a lot of questions about what the future held for them as they battled the disease together.