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Pope Francis asked to avoid Turkey's lavish 1,000-room presidential palace

Pope Francis' penchant for austerity and humility will face a diplomatic challenge when he visits Turkey's new ostentatious presidential palace on his first visit to the country later this month.

Francis will be the first foreign dignitary to be welcomed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the new 1,000-room palace when he visits Ankara on Nov. 28.

Turkish architects have written to the pope urging him not to go to the palace built by Erdogan and known locally as the "White Palace."

Minority communities wonder why Iraqi government fails to protect them

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Two months after 3-year-old Christina was snatched by Islamic State militants from a bus as her family helplessly watched, Ayda Abada wonders about the fate of her daughter.

Now sheltering in an unfinished building in the Christian enclave of Ainkawa outside of Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan area of northern Iraq, Abada replays the scene over and over in her mind.

Pope urges G-20 focus on helping the poor, says 'lives are at stake'

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As world leaders prepared to meet in Australia to continue looking at ways to improve the global economy, Pope Francis asked them "not to forget that many lives are at stake" behind their discussions and decisions.

The measure of success of the Group of 20 heavily industrialized and emerging-market countries will not be found in statistics, but in "real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality," the pope said in a message.

Korean parliament passes Sewol ferry bills

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Nearly seven months after the Sewol ferry capsized and sank off the Korean peninsula killing more than 300 passengers, South Korea's parliament passed a bill Nov. 8 to set up an inquiry into the disaster, seeming to accede to a central demand of grieving victims’ families.

The bill calls for the appointment of an independent counsel and a 17-member panel to conduct an 18-month inquiry to bring charges against those responsible for the disaster. The panel will include three members drawn from the families of victims.

Canadian bishops mark 50th anniversary of decree on ecumenism

Canada's Catholic bishops examine the church's connection with other Christian churches in a document marking the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's decree on ecumenism.

Titled "A Church in Dialogue: Towards the Restoration of Unity among Christians," the document reviews the work of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops with various ecumenical partners including the Orthodox, the Anglican Church of Canada, the United Church of Canada and others since the council.

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