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Church leaders in the Central African Republic are hoping the arrival of U.N. troops will end bloodshed in Bangui, where at least 16 people were killed on Dec. 5 after the city was attacked by supporters of former President François Bozizé. • At a hearing on capitol hill on Dec. 5, Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, urged Congress to extend jobless benefits—due to expire just after Christmas—noting that C.C.U.S.A. will continue to help out, but cannot come close to meeting all the needs of struggling U.S. families. • Flights were cancelled and schools were closed on Dec. 6 in Shanghai as record levels of air pollution shrouded the city in smog. • European officials met Ukrainian opposition leaders in the capital, Kiev, on Dec. 5 in talks seen as a snub to President Viktor Yanukovich, who triggered mass street demonstrations by refusing to sign a key European Union trade deal and seeking closer ties with neighboring Russia. • Pope Francis has requested prayers for 12 nuns and three young women taken away from their convent north of the Syrian capital of Damascus by Islamist rebels on Dec. 2.

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