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Pope Francis Celebrates Ecuador Mass with Huge Crowd

Pope Francis celebrated an open-air mass with hundreds of thousands of faithful under scorching heat in Ecuador on Monday, highlighting the importance of family on his return to his home region.

The first pope from Latin America made an impassioned plea to fulfill the "social debt" toward families as he addressed some 800,000 people in a park in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city, according to official figures.

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Pope Expected to Draw more than a Million at Ecuador Mass

More than a million faithful -- some of whom traveled for hours and spent the night outdoors -- gathered Monday for the first open-air mass of Pope Francis's three-nation trip to South America.

Keeping vigil in tents, sleeping bags and on cardboard, tens of thousands hoping to catch a glimpse of the pontiff spent the night in the rough ahead of the service in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city.

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WikiLeaks: U.S. Spy Agency Targeted Top Brazilian Officials

Aside from listening in on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's phone calls, U.S. spies also targeted top political and financial officials, according to new information released by WikiLeaks on Saturday. 

The whistle-blowing website published a National Security Agency list of 29 Brazilian government phone numbers that the American spy group monitored.

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U.S., Cuba Reach Deal to Reopen Embassies

The United States and Cuba have reached a deal to reopen embassies in Washington and Havana, in a major step toward ending decades of Cold War enmity.

President Barack Obama is expected to issue a statement at 11:00 am (1500 GMT) Wednesday in the White House Rose Garden about the deal, which constitutes one of the major foreign policy achievements of his presidency.

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Brazil's Rousseff Expresses Confidence in Obama in Wake of NSA Scandal

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Tuesday she had confidence in her U.S. counterpart Barack Obama, laying to rest a scandal over U.S. intelligence monitoring of her telephone calls and those of millions of other Brazilians.

"Since then, some things have changed and the change is particularly due to the fact that President Obama and the U.S. government have stated on several occasions that they would no longer engage in intrusive acts of spying on friendly countries," Rousseff told a joint press conference. 

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Obama, Rousseff Visit Martin Luther King Memorial

President Barack Obama and Brazil's Dilma Rousseff paid a surprise joint visit Monday to Washington's Martin Luther King Memorial, part of efforts to mend fences after a spying row.

Obama hosted the Brazilian president at the memorial to the civil rights icon -- one of his personal heroes --  after a "turbulent patch" between the two countries caused by revelations that U.S. spies had listened in on Rousseff's phone calls.

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Brazil's Rousseff Begins U.S. Visit

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff was to meet Sunday with investors in New York on the first day of a long-delayed U.S. visit aimed at overcoming strains caused by the NSA spying scandal.

Revelations two years ago that the US National Security Agency electronically eavesdropped on Rousseff's email and other communications prompted her to angrily call off an official visit to Washington that had been set for October 2013.

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Support for Brazil's Rousseff Slips to New Low

Public support for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has slipped to a record low, with her disapproval ratings rising to 65 percent, according to pollsters Datafolha on Saturday.

Support for Rousseff, embattled by a tanking economy and embroiled in a major graft scandal involving state-owned oil firm Petrobras, slumped to 10 percent, according to the polling firm.

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Turkey Slams Belgian PM over 'Armenian Genocide' Remarks

Turkey on Saturday lashed out at Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel for recognizing the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces during World War I as genocide.

Michel, the youngest prime minister in Belgium's history, said during a parliamentary session on Wednesday that the 1915 mass killings "must be viewed as a genocide."

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Brazil Ramps Up Punishment for Cop Killers

The Brazilian parliament on Thursday passed a law toughening penalties for murderers of policemen, a measure widely demanded by the security forces of a country where hundreds of officers are killed every year.

The new law stipulates that killers of police officers, prison officers or members of the armed forces will be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison, against a maximum 20 before.

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