Biden Leads Memorial Service for Mandela in Washington

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-12_70e428ca1e.jpgUnited Nations (WASHINGTON) -- Politicians, artists, and civil rights leaders gathered in Washington on Wednesday at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela at the Washington National Cathedral. Vice President Joe Biden, a lead speaker at the service, said that Mandela was the most impressive person he had ever met in his life. Biden also noted how Mandela's influence went far beyond the borders of South Africa.

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India Recriminalizes Gay Sex

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-12_b400809b29.jpgiStock/Thinkstock (NEW DELHI) -- India has once again declared gay sex illegal. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court reinstated the original anti-gay law that had been written in the 19th century when India was still ruled by the British. In 2009, that law had been overturned by a lower court -- a ruling that the Supreme Court now says was unconstitutional.

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Pope Francis Named "Time's" Person of the Year

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-12_97d0b87b2e.jpgFILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- Pope Francis has been named Time magazine's person of the year. In an article explaining the decision, Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs writes, "For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest faith to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is TIME’s 2013 Person of the Year." The selection was announced Wednesday and marks the third time a pope has received the honor.

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Mandela's Body to Lie in State for Three Days

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-12_1f2e221a6a.jpgAlet Pretorius/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images (PRETORIA, South Africa) -- The week-long memorial to former South African President Nelson Mandela continued on Wednesday as his body was carried through the streets of Pretoria to the nation's main government building. There, the civil rights leader's body will lie in state until Friday so that South Africans can pay their final respects.

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Yuletide Gift for Pope Francis: Vast Popularity Among Catholics

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-12_f4a1500bd8.jpgFranco Origlia/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- American Catholics may be celebrating Advent with extra gusto this month, welcoming the Christmas holiday under the leadership of an almost unanimously popular new pope -- marking the church’s continued recovery from the depths of its pedophile scandals a decade ago. Nine months after his elevation to the papacy, a remarkable 92 percent of Catholics in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll express a favorable opinion of Pope Francis, 16 percentage points more than said so about Pope Benedict XVI early this year.

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