Pope Hopes Women Take Larger Role in Catholic Church

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_23922157f7.jpgPhoto by Vatican Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Pope Francis said on Saturday that he has a "vivid hope" that women will take a "more capillary and incisive" role in the Catholic church, as well as in professional life and society at large. The pope made the comments while addressing an Italian Christian women's group. Francis didn't offer any specifics on changes in women's role, though.

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Syrian Government, Opposition Meet in Geneva

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_f1c6b72d48.jpgiStockphoto/Thinkstock (GENEVA) -- The Syrian government and the leaders of opposition forces met on Saturday to begin discussions that could help to end the civil war that has been ongoing since 2011. The BBC News reports that the initial meeting lasted about 30 minutes and was mediated by the United Nations' Lakhdar Brahimi. The two sides reportedly spoke through the mediator, and not directly to each other.

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Experts Board Costa Concordia for First Time Since Shipwreck

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_f46e3fc8e0.jpgLaura Lezza/Getty Images (ROME) -- For the first time since the Costa Concordia cruise ship crashed off the coast of Italy two years ago, experts have climbed aboard the shipwreck to look for evidence of what exactly happened that night. Along with investigators were judges and lawyers involved in the trial of Capt. Francesco Schettino, who stands accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship.  Schettino's defense team is hoping to find evidence of a mechanical problem, to help get the captain off the hook.

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Cairo Rocked by Deadly Bombings

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_e9515f274f.jpgAhmed smail/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images (CAIRO) -- Cairo came under attack on Friday as four separate explosions killed at least six people and injured dozens more.  Combined with clashes nationwide between anti-coup protesters and security forces, 11 people in total have died. The bombings and clashes took place one day before the third anniversary of the revolution that eventually toppled former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government.

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Ceasefire Called in South Sudan

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_aed11892c3.jpgcreisinger/Thinkstock (ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) -- There has been a ceasefire in one of the world’s major hot spots but it’s not Syria. After weeks of fighting that has left thousands dead, the government of South Sudan and rebel forces agreed to lay down their arms Thursday during negotiations in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. The conflict broke out in mid-December between rival factions of the military.

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