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Pope Francis will offer his annual Christmas blessing on Thursday, traditionally an occasion to appeal for remedies to the world's woes. The plight of Christians and other religious minorities suffering persecution in the Middle East, notably at the hands of the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group, is expected to rank high among his concerns, along with the war in Syria and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
ATLANTA (AP) — Sony's "The Interview" has been a hacking target, a punchline and a political lightning rod. Now, with its release online at the same time it debuts in theaters, it has a new role: a test for a new kind of movie release.