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Nuns in Spain Red-Faced after Missing Call from Pope

A group of nuns in Spain got a New Year surprise when they checked their answerphone machine to discover they had missed a call from the Pope, who left a message asking why they didn't pick up.

"What can the nuns be doing that stops them answering the phone?" said Pope Francis, chuckling, in the message he left on New Year's Eve for the Barefoot Carmelites of Lucena, aired on Spanish radio on Friday.

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Delivery Man is Missing U.S. Mega Millions Winner

A delivery truck driver has come forward to claim his half of a $648 million jackpot, the second largest in U.S. history, lottery officials said Friday.

Steve Tran bought five tickets in San Jose, California, ahead of the hotly anticipated December 17 Mega Millions sweepstakes -- but then promptly forgot about them.

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Doggy-Do Study Points to Canine 'Inner Compass'

German and Czech researchers studying squatting dogs doing their business have found the pooches have an "inner compass" that may help explain how they find their way home over great distances.

When the four-legged friends stop during a walk to defecate or urinate, they tend to do so along a north-south axis, provided the earth's magnetic field is stable at the time, the scientists said Friday.

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Mummers Strut Stuff at Philly New Year's Parade

Outrageously costumed and painted comic brigades and string bands have marched in Philadelphia in a Mardi Gras-like New Year's Day parade believed to be America's oldest folk festival.

Thousands of people lined the route for the century-old Mummers Parade along Broad Street, the city's main north-south thoroughfare. Colorful participants danced wildly and toted parasols while strutting their stuff.

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Berlin 'Doggy Deli' Sparks Howls of 'Decadence'

Germany's first restaurant for dogs and cats opened in Berlin over the festive holidays, drawing charges the luxury eatery for furry friends is "decadent".

"Does Berlin really need a gourmet restaurant for dogs?" asked the top-selling Bild daily.

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Burst Giant Yellow Duck Back on Show in Taiwan

A giant yellow inflatable duck which exploded on New Year's Eve returned to a Taiwan port on Friday after it was repaired and cleaned, organizers said.

Hundreds turned out in Keelung on the north of the island to welcome back the 18-meter-tall (59-feet) duck following two days of maintenance after it burst and deflated into a floating yellow disc Tuesday.

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Cyprus Probes 'Wrong President' New Year Message

Cyprus's state broadcaster apologized on Thursday for transmitting the wrong presidential New Year message on December 31 and said an investigation had begun into what happened.

Instead of putting out a message from President Nicos Anastasiades to welcome in 2014, it inadvertently transmitted a radio address by the man he replaced.

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'Only' 1,067 Vehicles Torched in France over New Year's Eve

Some 1,067 vehicles were torched in France over New Year's Eve, Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced, a marked drop from last year in what has become a turn-of-the-year tradition in rundown areas.

Every year, the night of December 31 to January 1 sees hundreds of cars set ablaze across the country in an orgy of vandalism -- as much a tradition as champagne and oysters in more affluent parts of France.

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Thief Carries 250-pound Safe Out of Massachusetts Eatery

Police in the U.S. state of Massachusetts are searching for a strong-armed thief who carried a 250-pound safe out of a restaurant.

Kevin Hynes said a man walked out of his Stockholders Restaurant in Weymouth lugging the vault.

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From Feared Myanmar Spymaster to Art Gallery Owner

Former political prisoner Than Htay walked into a small souvenir shop, hoping to catch a glimpse of the owner: a man once known in Myanmar as the Prince of Darkness.

Moments later, he was face to face with the bespectacled 74-year-old, who had long ago traded his military uniform and polished black shoes for a simple button-down shirt and flip-flops.

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