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UN urges Afghanistan's Taliban to reverse bans on women

The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Thursday calling on Afghanistan's Taliban rulers to swiftly reverse their increasingly harsh restrictions on women and girls, which range from very severely restricting education to banning women from most jobs, public spaces and gyms.

The council condemned the Taliban's ban on women working for the U.N., a decision the resolution calls "unprecedented in the history of the United Nations."

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Stories told in stitchery at Folk Art Museum's quilt exhibit

From simple geometric shapes to the intricately wrought details of daily life, the quilt designs in a show now running at the American Folk Art Museum show how powerfully this art form has told stories for centuries and been a vehicle for creativity.

"What That Quilt Knows About Me" comprises 35 quilts and related works in an intimate gallery space.

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Ukraine ask pope's help in getting children back from Russia

Ukraine's prime minister said he asked Pope Francis during a private Vatican audience Thursday to help facilitate the return of Ukrainian children who were forcibly taken to Russia.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, briefing reporters on his half-hour audience with the pontiff, said he also invited Francis to come to Ukraine.

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Pope Francis hopes to visit native Argentina next year

Pope Francis said he hopes to travel to his native Argentina in 2024, which would mark the first time he would step foot in his homeland since becoming pontiff a decade ago.

"I want to go to the country next year," the pope said in an interview with a columnist for Argentine newspaper La Nación that was published Sunday. The 86-year-old pope did not provide further details about the potential trip, which has been the subject of much speculation in his homeland.

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Amid joy and tragedy, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr holiday

The holiday of Eid al-Fitr ushered in a day of prayers and joy for Muslims around the world on Friday. The celebration was marred by tragedy amid the explosion of conflict in Sudan, while in other countries it came against the backdrop of hopes for a better future.

After the Ramadan month of fasting, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr with feasts and family visits. The start of the holiday is traditionally based on sightings of the new moon, which vary according to geographic location.

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Vatican inaugurates artisan apprentice school for basilica

The Vatican on Wednesday inaugurated a new arts and crafts academy inside St. Peter's Basilica, which revives a centuries-old apprentice system that trained stonemasons, carpenters and artisans to care for the treasures in the world's biggest Catholic church.

The ceremony came as the first 20 students in the academy are half-way through what amounts to a six-month unpaid internship. They attend lectures, participate in hands-on workshops and learn various trades and technical skills under the guidance of the basilica's famed "Sampietrini," the small army of workers who maintain the building.

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1 city, 2 people — and India's widening religious divide

Syed Mohammad Munir Abidi says India is a changed country, one he doesn't recognize anymore.

It's a country, the 68-year-old says, where Muslims are ignored, where rising attacks against them are encouraged, and where an emboldened Hindu majoritarian government is seizing its chance to put the minority community in its place.

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India's population will be world's largest by mid-year

India is on track to become the world's most populous nation as its young population soars, and will surpass China by mid-2023, according to data released by the United Nations on Wednesday.

The hope is that India's 254 million people aged between 15 and 24 — the largest number in the world — can help fuel economic growth for years to come. China, meanwhile, is struggling with an aging population and stagnant population growth, sparking expectations that the demographic changes could pave the way for India to become an economic and global heavyweight.

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Malala Yousafzai working on new book, her 'most personal'

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai is working on a new memoir, the latest book by the young activist from Pakistan known for her advocacy for education for girls and for surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban when she was in her teens.

Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, announced the memoir Monday. It is currently untitled and has no scheduled release date.

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For Palestinians, holiest Ramadan night starts at checkpoint

For many Palestinians, the journey to one of Islam's most sacred sites on the holiest night of Ramadan begins in a dust-choked, garbage-strewn maelstrom.

Tens of thousands of Palestinian worshippers from across the occupied West Bank on Monday crammed through a military checkpoint leading to Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque for Laylat al-Qadr, or the "Night of Destiny," when Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad centuries ago.

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