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Blessing of Same-Sex Couples Rankles Africa’s Catholics
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Blessing of Same-Sex Couples Rankles Africa’s Catholics

The Vatican’s recent declaration allowing the blessing of same-sex couples caused a stir around the globe, but perhaps most of all in Africa, a rising center of the Roman Catholic Church’s future. In one statement after the next, bishops in several countries spoke of the fear and confusion the declaration has caused among their flocks, and said it was out of step with the continent’s culture and values.The bishops also harbored a deeper fear: that in a place where the church is growing faster than anywhere else in the world, and where many forms of Christianity are competing for worshipers, the declaration could slow the church’s expansion on the continent.Bishop John Oballa of the Ngong Diocese near Nairobi said that a woman had written to him saying that a friend told her he wanted clari...
Christian Oliver, ‘Speed Racer’ Actor, Dies in Plane Crash
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Christian Oliver, ‘Speed Racer’ Actor, Dies in Plane Crash

The film and television actor Christian Oliver, his two children and a pilot were killed on Thursday when the small plane they were traveling in crashed during a flight to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, the police said.Mr. Oliver, 51, who appeared in “The Good German,” “Speed Racer” and the TV series “Saved by The Bell: The New Class,” and his daughters were the only passengers in the single engine plane traveling from Bequia, an island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, when it crashed into the sea at midday, the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force said in a statement on Thursday.In addition to Mr. Oliver and his daughters, Madita Klepser, 10, and Annik Klepser, 12, the pilot, Robert Sachs, was also killed, the police said. Fishermen and divers recovered the bodies and t...
Israel-Hamas War: Killing of Senior Leader Carries Risks for Israel, Analysts Say
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Israel-Hamas War: Killing of Senior Leader Carries Risks for Israel, Analysts Say

Many Israelis welcomed the assassination of a top Hamas official in Beirut as a necessary, even inevitable, step in the campaign to destroy Hamas that Israel has been waging since the terror group’s brutal Oct. 7 attacks.But some analysts said the killing of the official, Saleh al-Arouri, on Tuesday carries risks for Israel, and the benefits are unclear. The assassination appeared likely to put on ice any talks between Israel and Hamas over freeing more hostages taken on Oct. 7, dealing yet another setback to families waiting desperately for their loved ones to come home.While the death of Mr. al-Arouri, a key strategist and liaison with Hamas’s Iranian sponsors, was a blow to the group, analysts said, it has rebounded before. And the assassination adds fuel to tensions along Israel’s nort...
Ana Ofelia Murguía, Mexican Actress and Voice in Coco,’ Dies, 90
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Ana Ofelia Murguía, Mexican Actress and Voice in Coco,’ Dies, 90

Ana Ofelia Murguía, one of Mexico’s most acclaimed actresses, whose voice acting as Mama Coco in the animated movie “Coco” brought her international recognition, died on Sunday. She was 90.Her death was confirmed by Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts and National Theater Company, which did not specify the cause of death.The National Theater Company described Murguía on social media as “one of Mexico’s greatest actresses.” In a statement, Lucina Jiménez López, the director of the National Institute of Fine Arts, described her career as one that “marked an entire era.” In the 2017 film “Coco,” made by Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios, Murguía plays the key role of Mama Coco, the great-grandmother of a boy, the protagonist Miguel, who finds himself in the land of the dead on a journey t...
Israel-Hamas War Live: Latest Gaza News and Updates
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Israel-Hamas War Live: Latest Gaza News and Updates

The popularity of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is plummeting in Israel, according to recent surveys, and deep political divisions that had been set aside after the Hamas assault of Oct. 7 are resurfacing in the country.But Mr. Netanyahu made it clear this weekend that he would not resign after the war in Gaza ends. Some analysts say he is determined to ensure his political survival and that of his governing coalition, Israel’s most right-wing and religiously conservative ever.Just over a year after his latest government was sworn in, Mr. Netanyahu remains dependent on far-right allies to keep his government in power. Some analysts argue that placating those allies is at least as important to Mr. Netanyahu, who has served longer than any other Israeli prime minister, as pr...
The Year in People: Our 12 Favorite Saturday Profiles of 2023
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The Year in People: Our 12 Favorite Saturday Profiles of 2023

A teenager jailed in Egypt, determined to bear witness to the abuses he suffered during years of detention. A proponent of peace in Colombia, shadowed by death threats. A father in India, fighting his own patriarchal impulses to give his two daughters a better life.With reports from six continents and 34 countries, the Saturday Profile in 2023 revealed people making a difference, mostly under the radar. Every week, our correspondents often sought out not the famous nor the powerful, but the unheralded with stories worth hearing.A Muslim cleric in Ukraine, now a medic on the front lines of the war. An anticorruption whistle-blower in Bangkok, with (he’d be the first to admit) a disreputable past. A scientist and hair salon owner in Paris, dedicated to styling curly hair.Some of our subjects...
Israel-Hamas War: Live Updates – The New York Times
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Israel-Hamas War: Live Updates – The New York Times

As Israel wages a war in Gaza aimed at dismantling Hamas’s military capacity, the armed group and its affiliates have continued to fire rockets at Israel nearly every day, aiming deep inside its borders and striking some of the country’s biggest cities.Since Hamas led a terrorist attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7, Hamas and other armed groups have fired about 12,000 rockets from Gaza into Israel, a quarter of them on Oct. 7, the Israeli government has said.Most rockets fired from Gaza were shot down by Israeli air defenses before they were able to make impact. But the ongoing salvos, although less frequent than at the start of the war, are an indication of the size of Hamas’s arsenal and its continued ability to menace cities far from Gaza.In nearly three months of war, 15 people in Isra...
These Vets Make House Calls for Killer Whales
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These Vets Make House Calls for Killer Whales

One day last September, a team of scientists clambered onto a small boat and set out into the Salish Sea, searching for an endangered population of orcas. The Southern Resident killer whales, one of several distinct orca communities that inhabit the Pacific Northwest, can be elusive, so the researchers were delighted to find a small pod of them. But as they drew closer, a putrid smell washed over the boat.The scientists eyed each other with suspicion before it dawned on them: The odor was coming from the clouds of mist that the whales were expelling from their blowholes. “Everybody is allowed to have bad breath every now and then, but this was not just bad breath,” said Dr. Hendrik Nollens, the vice president of wildlife health for the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, who was on the boat. ...
Christmas Comes Early in Ukraine, but Not a Moment Too Soon
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Christmas Comes Early in Ukraine, but Not a Moment Too Soon

Christmas lights flickered on ahead of schedule. Families sang carols a little sooner. And the first presents of the season — by tradition hidden under a pillow or in a boot — appeared two weeks early.Of Ukraine’s many Western-oriented changes, put in place bit by bit since independence and accelerated during the war, one brought special joy this year: Christmas came early.After centuries of marking the holiday on Jan. 7 under the Julian church calendar, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church this year formally switched to celebrating on Dec. 25 with most of the rest of Europe — and pointedly not with Russia.For 6-year-old Drynka, that meant practicing carols early and enjoying the excitement of receiving gifts like a Rainbow High doll and a paint set two weeks earlier she did than last year.“I lov...
The Best of Canada in 2023
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The Best of Canada in 2023

Read: The 10 Best Books of 2023Best TV ShowsNathan Fielder, the Canadian actor known for his deadpan delivery, is back with a dark comedy called “The Curse.” Here’s a trailer. It’s streaming on Paramount+ Canada. (Mr. Fielder was an executive producer on “How To With John Wilson,” another show that critics say is worth your time.)Read: Best TV Shows of 2023Best Movies“Past Lives,” the debut film by the South Korean-Canadian director Celine Song, is “an examination of destiny, chance, love and the invisible thread that binds one soul to the next,” writes Alissa Wilkinson, a movie critic at The Times. (I enjoyed watching this film at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, which has made it available for rent. You can also catch it on streaming platforms in Canada.)An honorable mention on the lis...