VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
HUNDREDS DIE IN WEEKEND ATTACKS IN MIDDLE EAST
An assault by Islamic extremists at a shopping mall in Kenya, a suicide attack on a Pakistani church and assaults by suicide bombers targeting mourners at Shiite and Sunni funerals in Iraq have killed more than 250 people and injured at least 470 others since Saturday.
A recap of key events:
- Saturday, Sept. 21, through Sunday, Sept. 22: Nairobi, Kenya - Islamic extremist gunmen lobbing grenades and firing assault rifles inside an upscale mall in Nairobi kill at least 68 people, wound more than 175 others and hold an unknown number of others hostage.
- Saturday, Sept. 21: Baghdad - A wave of attacks, mainly on a Shiite funeral in Baghdad, kill 104 people and wound more than 140 others.
- Sunday, Sept. 22: Peshawar, Pakistan - A pair of suicide bombers blow themselves up amid hundreds of worshippers at a church in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 78 and wounding more than 140 others..
- Sunday, Sept. 22, Baghdad - Iraqi authorities say a suicide attacker killed at least 16 people and wounded at least 35 others at a Sunni funeral.
CATHOLICS CHEER POPE'S REMARKS ON GAYS, ABORTION
NEW YORK (AP) -- Catholics attending Sunday services around the globe said they were heartened by Pope Francis' recent remarks that the church has become too focused on "small-minded rules" on hot-button issues like homosexuality, abortion and contraceptives.
Worshippers applauded what they heard as a message of inclusion from the man who assumed the papacy just six months ago.
"I think he's spot on," said Shirley Holzknecht, 77, a retired school principal attending services in Little Rock, Ark. "As Catholic Christians, we do need to be more welcoming."
In Havana, Cuba, Irene Delgado said the church needs to adapt to modern times.
"The world evolves, and I believe that the Catholic Church is seeing that it is being left behind, and that is not good," said Delgado, 57. "So I think that they chose this Pope Francis because he is progressive, has to change things."
Francis, in an interview published Thursday in 16 Jesuit journals worldwide, called the church's focus on abortion, marriage and contraception narrow and said it was driving people away.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the pope's words were welcome.
"He's captured the world's imagination," Dolan said after Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. "Like Jesus, he's always saying, `Hate the sin, love the sinner.'"
BLAME ALREADY BEING CAST OVER BUDGET FIGHT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Even before a budget deadline arrives, leaders from both parties are blaming each other - and some Republicans are criticizing their own - for a government shutdown many are treating as inevitable.
The top Democrat in the House says Republicans are "legislative arsonists" who are using their opposition to a sweeping health care overhaul as an excuse to close government's doors. A leading tea party antagonist in the Senate counters that conservatives should use any tool available to stop the Affordable Care Act from taking hold. President Bill Clinton's labor secretary says the GOP is willing "to risk the entire system of government to get your way," while the House speaker who oversaw the last government shutdown urged fellow Republicans to remember "this is not a dictatorship."
The unyielding political posturing on Sunday comes one week before Congress reaches an Oct. 1 deadline to dodge any interruptions in government services. While work continues on a temporary spending bill, a potentially more devastating separate deadline looms a few weeks later when the government could run out of money to pay its bills.
"This is totally irresponsible, completely juvenile and, as I called it, legislative arson. It's just destructive," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in an interview that aired Sunday.
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