• Christian group says China charges pastor with embezzling

    BEIJING (AP) — A Christian rights group says a pastor in a Chinese province where authorities have been cracking down on churches has been charged with embezzling funds.

  • Pope Francis attends his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope, Russian Orthodox patriarch to meet in historic step

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba next week in a historic step to heal the 1,000-year-old schism that divided Christianity between East and West, both churches announced Friday.

  • A sign is seen on the front window of Watt's Blooming, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Indianapolis. The florist does not discriminate and will serve all. Some worry that decades of work to reverse the city's sleepy image by luring conventions, businesses and even a Super Bowl to Indianapolis could be turned back by an ongoing culture war over civil rights protections for LGBT people that has divided urban areas from rural. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

    Indiana culture war over gay rights worries business leaders

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Downtown Indianapolis was once so desolate that men armed with shotguns hunted pigeons on Sundays among empty buildings and a trash-strewn river canal.

  • President Barack Obama speaks to members of the Muslim-American community at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Baltimore, Md. Obama is making his first visit to a U.S. mosque at a time Muslim-Americans say they're confronting increasing levels of bias in speech and deeds.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Obama makes first visit of his presidency to a US mosque

    CATONSVILLE, Md. (AP) — President Barack Obama sought Wednesday to correct what he called a “hugely distorted impression” of Muslim-Americans as he made his first visit to a U.S. mosque. He said those who demonize all Muslims for the acts of a few are playing into extremists’ hands.

  • Mukhriz Mahathir, center, the son of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, speaks during a press conference in Kedah, Malaysia, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Mukhriz Mahathir has resigned as a state chief minister, saying he was ousted because of his criticism of Prime Minister Najib Razak over a $700 million financial scandal. (AP Photo) MALAYSIA OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVES

    Malaysian politician ousted over criticism of prime minister

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The son of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned as the top leader of a federal state Wednesday, saying he was ousted because he had criticized Prime Minister Najib Razak over a $700 million financial scandal.

  • Precinct captain for Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, John Grouse explains the caucus process before caucusing begins in Nevada, Iowa, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    AP PHOTOS: Iowans gather to caucus, make pick for president

    NEVADA, Iowa (AP) — At hundreds of fire stations, high school gyms, church basements, American Legion halls and even a few private homes, Iowans gathered Monday night for the state’s famed caucuses — the first step toward picking a new U.S. president.

  • In this Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, file photo, a Jewish woman wears a prayer shawl as she prays at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem's Old City. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is advancing a plan to allow non-Orthodox Jewish prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a move advocates say would mark unprecedented government support for liberal streams of Judaism. According to the government proposal Israel would build a new plaza for mixed gender prayer at the Western Wall, adjacent to the Orthodox prayer plaza. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)

    New prayer site highlights divide between Israel, US Jews

    JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli government’s decision to allow non-Orthodox Jewish prayer at Jerusalem’s Western Wall is a major breakthrough for the country’s long-marginalized liberal streams and their powerful supporters in the United States.

  • Spain offers citizenship to relatives of persecuted families

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico residents descended from Jewish families who fled Spain during the religion-driven Inquisition can claim Spanish citizenship thanks to a new law.