Pope’s Latin American brains trust was behind Cuba deal

December 20, 2014
(Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Pietro Parolin looks on during the arrival of Pope Francis (not pictured) at Fiumicino airport in Rome May 24, 2014. With a Rabbi and a Muslim leader in tow, Pope Francis makes his first visit to the Middle East on Saturday, a delicate mission to push his vision of inter-religious dialogue as a vehicle for peace in the region. He will visit Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Israel during his May 24-26 trip. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

(Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Pietro Parolin looks on during the arrival of Pope Francis (not pictured) at Fiumicino airport in Rome May 24, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Church of England appoints Libby Lane as its first woman bishop

December 17, 2014
(Libby Lane, a suffragan (Assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester, smiles as her forthcoming appointment as the new Bishop of Stockport is announced in the Town Hall in Stockport, northern England December 17, 2014. On her appointment, Lane will become the Church of England's first female bishop. REUTERS/Phil Noble)

(Libby Lane, a suffragan (Assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester, smiles as her forthcoming appointment as the new Bishop of Stockport is announced in the Town Hall in Stockport, northern England December 17, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble)

Saudi rulers reconsider ties to Wahhabi clergy

By Reuters Staff
December 17, 2014
(Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba during their final circling at the Grand Mosque during the annual hajj pilgrimage for this year in Mecca October 6, 2014. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

(Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba during their final circling at the Grand Mosque during the annual hajj pilgrimage for this year in Mecca October 6, 2014. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

India’s Modi orders his BJP party to rein in its pro-Hindu agenda

By Reuters Staff
December 17, 2014
(Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election campaign rally at Kathua, south of Jammu December 13, 2014. The five-phased polls in Jammu and Kashmir will end on December 20 and the results would be announced on December 23. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta)

(Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election campaign rally at Kathua, south of Jammu December 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta)

No room at the inn? U.S. atheists see holiday displays vandalized

December 17, 2014
("Beware of Dogma" billboard of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. On West Beltline Frontage Road, next to Culver’s Restaurant, 2102 West Beltline Highway, Madison, WI.)

(“Beware of Dogma” billboard of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin, 19 Nov 2008/Jeffrey M. Dean)

from The Great Debate:

Will Pakistan’s grief force it to cut ties with Islamic militants?

By Matthew Green
December 17, 2014

A mother mourns her son Mohammed Ali Khan, a student who was killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, at her house in Peshawar

Pakistan’s army knew it would pay a price when it launched an offensive in the mountains of North Waziristan. But even in their worst imaginings, few officers could have foreseen the way revenge would be served: an attack on an Army-run school that cost the lives of 132 students. Many were the teenage sons of soldiers.

Indian Hindu group plans to convert Christians and Muslims on Christmas

By Reuters Staff
December 16, 2014
(A couple take part in a religion conversion ceremony from Christianity to Hinduism at Hasayan town in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh August 29, 2014. Picture taken August 29, 2014. To match Insight INDIA-RELIGION/MODI REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

(A couple take part in a religion conversion ceremony from Christianity to Hinduism at Hasayan town in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh August 29, 2014. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

Austria to close Saudi school for not providing names of its teachers

By Reuters Staff
December 16, 2014
(St. Stephen's cathedral is pictured behind an advent market in Vienna December 1, 2013. The German expression "Es weihnachtet sehr" (It's getting very Christmassy) fits the mood in Vienna as Austria's capital decks itself out in style for the holiday season. The centre of the old Habsburg empire treats locals and visitors to quaint Christmas markets featuring crafts and decorations, hot punch and baked goods in all the city's main squares. Picture taken December 1, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader)

(St. Stephen’s cathedral is pictured behind an advent market in Vienna December 1, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader)

Sisters in the vanguard as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood battles to survive

By Reuters Staff
December 16, 2014
(Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi walk in the rain during a protest at Al-Haram street, in Cairo December 13, 2013. With many of its male members jailed, Egypt's besieged Muslim Brotherhood is calling up an unlikely reserve force against the army-backed government in the conservative Arab country. At more and more protests, female members of the Islamist movement can be seen taking on security forces mounting one of their fiercest crackdowns against the group. REUTERS/Stringer)

(Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi walk in the rain during a protest at Al-Haram street, in Cairo December 13, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer)

Factbox: Turkish government’s battle with U.S.-based Muslim cleric Gülen

December 16, 2014
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(Zaman editor-in-chief Ekrem Dumanli (C), escorted by plainclothes police officers, is cheered on by his colleagues as he leaves the headquarters of Zaman daily newspaper in Istanbul December 14, 2014. REUTERS/Murad Sezer)