• Ransomed: The race to free 226 Christian hostages in Syria

    Zammo Marza, Sherineh Marza, Charli Kanoun and Abdo Marza, from right, stand at the grave of Marza Marza in Saarlouis, Germany in this Monday, Nov. 7, 2016 photo. The Marza family were among 226 Assyrian Christians taken captive by the Islamic State group in a February 2015 attack on their villages in northern Syria. Members of the Assyrian diaspora, including Kanoun, led a year-long campaign to raise ransom money that in the end succeeded in winning the captives’ freedom but put millions of dollars in IS pockets. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

    SAARLOUIS, Germany (AP) — Deep inside Syria, a bishop worked secretly to save the lives of 226 members of his flock from the Islamic State group — by amassing millions of dollars from his community around the world to buy their freedom.

  • Rhode Island School of Design works with NASA on Mars suit

    In this Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 photo, Andrzej Stewart, the chief engineering officer on a year-long Mars simulation mission that ended in August, puts on a new space suit at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, R.I. RISD created the new space suit for scientists to wear on the next Mars simulation mission in 2017 in Hawaii. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — When scientists are trying to figure out how to live in near-isolation in a dome to simulate a Mars mission, the last thing they’ll need is an ill-fitting space suit. So one of the nation’s top design schools has come to the rescue.

  • Volleyballers vs. bulldozers: A Chinatown’s history at stake

    In this Aug. 14, 2016 photo provided by Virginia Tow, players of the Boston Knight A volleyball team, front, go up for a spike against the Boston Hurricanes Black team during the August Moon Festival at Reggie Wong Park in the Chinatown neighborhood in Boston. The fate of a modest asphalt court where Chinese immigrants developed a unique style of volleyball is uncertain. The state of Massachusetts is seeking proposals to develop a prime slice of real estate near Boston's Chinatown that was a nursery for nine-man volleyball. (Virginia Tow via AP)

    BOSTON (AP) — On the streets, alleyways and parking lots of Boston’s Chinatown, immigrants developed a unique style of volleyball now played in Chinatowns across the country. Now, an asphalt court where the game still thrives stands in the way of development.

  • Rohingya who fled Myanmar recount killings, rapes, burnings

    In this Dec. 2, 2016 photo, Mohsena Begum, a Rohingya who escaped to Bangladesh from Myanmar, holds her child and sits at the entrance of a room of an unregistered refugee camp in Teknaf, near Cox's Bazar, a southern coastal district about, 296 kilometers (183 miles) south of Dhaka, Bangladesh. “They drove us out of our houses, men and women in separate lines, ordering us to keep our hands folded on the back of our heads,” says 20-year-old Mohsena Begum, her voice choking as she described what happened to the little village of Caira Fara, which had long been home to hundreds of members of Myanmar’s minority Rohingya community. In refugee camps in Bangladesh, survivors of a wave of violence that has swept Myanmar in recent weeks say government forces have targeted minority Rohingya villages, burning many to the ground, killing the innocent and raping women. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

    COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AP) — The Myanmar soldiers came in the morning, the young mother says. They set fire to the concrete-and-thatch homes, forcing the villagers to cluster together. When some of her neighbors tried to escape into the fields, they were shot. After that, she says, most people stopped running away.

  • German chancellor denounces rape-killing of student

    In this Oct. 21, 2016 file photo flowers and candles sit in front of a tree close to the Dreisam river in Freiburg, Germany, where the body of a student was found.  A 17-year-old Afghan migrant, who entered Germany last year as an unaccompanied minor, was arrested Friday in connection with the killing. The 19-year-old medicine student vanished on her way home from a party in mid-October.  (Patrick Seeger/dpa via AP)

    BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday denounced the rape and killing of a university student as a “tragic event,” responding for the first time to a case that has inflamed passions since police arrested a 17-year-old Afghan migrant last week.

  • The Latest: Prosecutors plan to retry police officer

    Rob Dewey, left, with the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy and pastor Thomas Dixon, second from left, participate in a prayer vigil in front of the Charleston County Courthouse as the jury deliberates in the Michael Slager trial Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. Slager, the former North Charleston police officer is charged with murder in the shooting death last year of Walter Scott. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

    CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a fired South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the shooting of an unarmed black motorist (all times local):

  • Mel Harris: ‘thirtysomething’ stars remain ‘close’ friends

    In this frame grab from video shot on Nov. 28, 2016, actress Mel Harris is interviewed in New York. Harris says she and her “thirtysomething” co-stars remain close friends. (AP Photo/Lauri Neff)

    NEW YORK (AP) — Almost 30 years since “thirtysomething” went off the air, the now 50-something cast of the drama about a group of American baby boomers remain friends.

  • Phillies food vendor who supports white nationalism is fired

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A popular food vendor at the Philadelphia Phillies’ ballpark who supports the white nationalist movement has been fired.

  • Graduation disparity between black, white players continues

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A study of this season’s bowl-bound teams shows while there continues to be high academic success for the student-athletes overall, the disparity in graduation rates between black and white students remains a problem at the highest level of college football.

  • French presidential race heats up: A look at the candidates

    In this Wednesday Feb. 18, 2015 file photo, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, center, waves to reporters as he walks in the lobby of the Elysee Palace with French President Francois Hollande, left, and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, right, at the end of the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris. Valls is expected to announce Monday Dec. 5, 2016 a presidential bid, in hopes of rallying the divided French left amid growing populist pressure ahead of France's April-May presidential election. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere, File)

    PARIS (AP) — France’s presidential campaign is heating up, as candidates from the anti-immigrant far right to the Trotskyist far left join the race for election five months away.