Ahmed Pesher cries next to the destroyed houses where he says 23 members of his family were killed during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State on the western side of Mosul, Iraq. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

Speaking from Baghdad to reporters at the Pentagon, the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said an ongoing investigation may reveal a more complicated explanation for the March 17 explosion that residents say killed at least 100 people, including the possibility that Islamic State militants rigged the building with explosives after forcing civilians inside.

Avery Davis 3-28-2017

The power of the order is found less in its immediate consequences, and more in its trajectory-setting results. While the world is slowly backing away from a crumbling cliff, this executive order represents a shift into drive to send the global climate hurtling toward the ledge.

Image via Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened on March 27 to cut off U.S. Justice Department grants to cities that fail to assist federal immigration authorities, moving the Trump administration closer to a potential clash with leaders of America's largest urban centers.

Sessions' statements were aimed at a dozens of cities and other local governments, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, that have joined a growing "sanctuary" movement aimed at shielding illegal immigrants from stepped-up deportation efforts.

Image via RNS/Emily McFarlan Miller

It was her desire to hear the stories of real people — “not just faceless refugees or immigrants” — that brought the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton to a refugee resettlement agency that provides a range of services to refugees in the Chicago area.

“Especially now, when there’s this fear that’s been stirred up, and anti-refugee sentiment, it’s really critical to say, ‘No, these people are our grandparents, our aunts and uncles,” said the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination.

Image via Reuters/Max Rossi

Pope Francis urged the United Nations on March 28 to seek the "total elimination" of nuclear weapons, speaking as the United States and some other major powers boycotted a conference considering a global ban.

In a message to the conference that started in New York on March 27, Francis called on nations to "go beyond nuclear deterrence" and have the courage to overcome the "fear and isolationism" he said was prevalent in many countries today.

Jera Brown 3-28-2017

Image via lobstar28/Flickr

In the wake of these threats, faith groups in Chicago have grown more intentional about coming together in solidarity — something many Jewish and Christian leaders alike credit to their religious teachings and their understanding of what it means to care for one's neighbor.

A suspect is shown in this still photo taken from surveillance video March 26, 2017 in Fort Collins, Colo. Courtesy Fort Collins Police Services/Handout via REUTERS

Investigators in Colorado searched on Monday for a man suspected of hurling a “biblical text” inside a mosque after smashing windows and a glass door of the Islamic center and overturning furniture inside, police said.


Image via RNS/Reuters/Tony Gentile

Collins, who was sexually abused by a priest at age 13, resigned on March 1, citing what she called “shameful” resistance to commission proposals from the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office, which is responsible for pursuing cases against abusive priests and bishops.

Saunders stepped aside after publicly calling for Australian Cardinal George Pell to be dismissed, after news reports surfaced that he had protected pedophile priests in Australia. Pell serves as the Vatican’s finance chief.

Image via RNS/Screenshot from Vimeo

For Russell Moore, whose sharp criticisms of Donald Trump voters nearly cost him his job as the public voice for America’s largest Protestant denomination, the path to regaining a prophetic platform is just beginning.

Moore started down that trail this week. After apologizing for being “unnecessarily harsh” during the campaign, he received a vote of confidence from the executive committee of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Smoke rises from the old city during a battle against Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

The military statement differed from reports by witnesses and local officials that said many more bodies were pulled from the building after a coalition strike targeted IS militants and equipment in the Jadida district.

Pope Francis embraces a girl while meeting families outside the 'White Houses' in the Forlanini district of Milan, Italy, March 25, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

He stopped at three small apartments, one of them home to Mihoual Abdel Karim, a Muslim immigrant from Morocco who lives there with his wife and three children. "It was very emotional. It was like having a friend in the house," said Karim, who works at a pharmaceutical factory and whose wife wears the veil.

the Web Editors 3-24-2017

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) waves to tourists after the House voted on a procedural measure to move ahead with health care legislation to repeal Obamacare at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 24. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

After a week of scrambling, House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump reportedly failed to secure enough votes to pass their long-promised repeal and replacement of the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act. Friday afternoon, the House pulled the bill, reports Politico.

Image via Reuters

A U.S. federal judge in Virginia ruled on March 24 that President Donald Trump's travel ban was justified, increasing the likelihood the measure will go before the Supreme Court, as the decision took an opposing view to courts in Maryland and Hawaii that have halted the order.

U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga rejected arguments by Muslim plaintiffs, who claimed Trump's March 6 executive order temporarily banning the entry of all refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries was discriminatory.

the Web Editors 3-24-2017

Image via niXerKG/Flickr

The 16 counts represent the 16 times Van Dyke shot McDonald in the fatal encounter. The new indictment adds to Van Dyke's existing charges of six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct.

Displaced Iraqi people react at Hammam al-Alil camp, as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

The battle for Mosul, Islamic State's last major stronghold in Iraq, is now in its sixth month with Iraq forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition, air strikes and advisers now controlling the east side and more than half of the west.

A Rohingya refugee girl carries a baby inside a refugee camp in Sitwe, in the state of Rakhine, Myanmar March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun.

A U.N. report issued last month, based on interviews with 220 Rohingya among 75,000 who have fled to Bangladesh since October, said that Myanmar's security forces have committed mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya in a campaign that "very likely" amounts to crimes against humanity and possibly ethnic cleansing. 

A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

U.S. President Donald Trump will announce the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline at the White House on Friday, alongside the chief executive officer of builder TransCanada Corp, according to a senior administration official.


Image via RNS/Josephine McKenna

“There is simply no justification in our day for failures to enact concrete safeguarding standards for our children, young men and women, and vulnerable adults,” O’Malley said.

“We are called to reform and renew all the institutions of our church. … And we certainly must address the evil of sexual abuse by priests.”

Members of the House Freedom Caucus arrive for a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday failed to close the deal with Republican lawmakers on how to dismantle Obamacare, forcing the House of Representatives to delay a vote on a healthcare bill that was supposed to be his first legislative win.

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer interviews people entering the United States from Mexico at the border crossing in San Ysidro, California, U.S. on October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has directed U.S. diplomatic missions to identify "populations warranting increased scrutiny" and toughen screening for visa applicants in those groups, according to diplomatic cables seen by Reuters.


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