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The United Nations reports that the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has exceeded 265,000 and that it expects 1.1 million Syrian refugees overall in surrounding nations by June. • Human rights groups are concerned by reports that the Zimbabwean prison service, where 74 men and 2 women are believed to reside on death row, has hired a hangman, replacing one who retired in 2005. • In a message on Feb. 13 to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Pope Benedict XVI “recognized” biodiversity “as a precious good that the Creator has placed at the disposal of the entire human family.” • Giving new life to closed churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago, St. Raphael the Archangel Church in Old Mill Creek, Ill., uses the “recycled” facade of Chicago’s demolished St. John of God Church and eventually will include the interior of the closed St. Peter Canisius Church. • Guatemala’s President Otto Pérez Molina has joined other regional leaders advocating the legalization of cocaine and other narcotics in order to quell crime related to drug trafficking. • Pastor Saeed Abedini of the United States was sentenced to eight years in Iran’s notorious Evin prison on Jan. 27 because of his efforts with that country’s house churches.

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The latest from america

Native American protestors hold hands with parishioner Nathanial Hall, right, during a group prayer outside the Catholic Diocese of Covington on Jan. 22, 2019, in Covington, Ky. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
The furor over a chance meeting between Catholic high school students and Native American protesters underscores the need to listen and learn from indigenous voices.
Marlene LangJanuary 23, 2019
The staggering parliamentary defeat for Prime Minister Theresa May, seen here leaving 10 Downing Street on Jan. 23, pushed the country even further from safe dry land. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
After the stunning defeat of Theresa May's exit deal, Scotland is looking anew at independence, and the U.K. government fears economic disaster.
David StewartJanuary 23, 2019
Michael Osborne, a film director, documents the damage from a mud slide next to his home in Los Angeles on Jan. 18, after three days of heavy rain. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
The conceit of California-as-disaster-movie is ridiculous. But maybe watching our fires and mudslides helps other states consider both their own fragility and their underlying strength.
Jim McDermottJanuary 23, 2019
A commitment to religious liberty demands that effort be devoted to resolving, rather than exacerbating, any real or apparent tension between religious obligation and civil duty.
The EditorsJanuary 23, 2019