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French soldier checks on safety of nun during patrol in Central African Republic. (CNS photo/Joe Penney, Reuters)

Sporadic violence between Christian and Muslim gangs continued throughout the Central African Republic as leaders of the Muslim Seleka militia appeared to flee Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic on Jan. 26. • The Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi, S.J., confirmed on Jan. 24 that Pope Francis has begun work on a text on ecology that could become an encyclical, but he said it was too early to say when it might be published. • Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin welcomed an Irish government decision on Jan. 21 to reopen its embassy at the Vatican just over three years after it was closed as a cost-saving measure. • The prelature of Opus Dei announced on Jan. 21 that Bishop Álvaro del Portillo, the successor to Opus Dei’s founder, St. Josemaría Escrivá, will be beatified on Sept. 27 in Madrid. • On Jan. 20 Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto, Nigeria, commended the country’s President Goodluck Jonathan for signing a law making same-sex marriage and same-sex relationships punishable offenses. • Vatican officials announced on Jan. 21 that the first-ever meeting between Pope Francis and President Obama has been scheduled for March 27 in Rome.

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