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News In Focus: A Look at the World’s Most Interesting Stories

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Religion: From visiting Mexico to taking on a U.S. presidential hopeful, Pope Francis made headlines this week.

On Sunday, the Pontiff presided at a Mass in Ecatepec, one of Mexico’s poorest cities.

During the Mass, Pope Francis told his congregation to turn their nation into “a land of opportunities, where there will be no need to emigrate in order to dream, no need to be exploited in order to work, no need to make the despair and poverty of many the opportunism of a few.”

The pope left Mexico on Wednesday from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where he prayed for migrants and victims of violence at a Mass a few hundred feet from the border, and the service was beamed live into the Sun Bowl stadium in El Paso, Texas.

On Thursday, Pope Francis called out American businessman Donald Trump, saying the Republican presidential hopeful was “not Christian” if he believes in building a wall to halt the flow of undocumented Mexican immigrants, according to CNN.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel,” the pope said.

Firing back, Trump said: “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”

Here’s American TV personality Stephen Colbert offering his thoughts on this week’s biggest feud:

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America: U.S. Supreme Court judge Antonin Scalia, the court’s longest-serving and most conservative, died last Saturday.

Justice Scalia’s death opens up a vacancy in the nine-person membership of the Supreme Court, to be filled by nomination of the U.S. President and his appointment after confirmation by the Senate.

Now the eight remaining members are split with half being conservative-leaning and half liberal. President Barack Obama is expected to nominate a liberal candidate, which would tip the balance. The Republican-majority Senate would likely block such an attempt.

Meanwhile, some Republicans, including Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, have called for deferring the appointment after the presidential election.

But the President rejected the idea and pledged to submit a name soon for the Senate’s consideration.

“I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time,” he said.

For those unfamiliar with Scalia, here’s an intriguing interview with the late Supreme Court Justice:

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Asia: China placed surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island that is part of an archipelago claimed by Vietnam, Taiwan, and China.

According to the New York Times, two HQ-9 missile batteries were deployed to Woody Island in the Paracel chain. The missiles can reach anywhere within 125 miles and are capable of destroying jets, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.

The move, which is seen as China’s effort to bolster its claims of sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, worries the country’s Asian neighbors, as well as the U.S.

At a summit hosted in California, President Barack Obama responded with a mild and diplomatic statement, calling for “freedom of navigation” and for amicable resolution of disputes.

But the Chinese Navy and Air Force have maintained that the Paracel Islands are part of China’s territory and that they have “the legitimate and legal rights to deploy defense facilities within its territory.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry countered that the Chinese missile deployments were contrary to the pledge made by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who in September said his country would not militarize the South China Sea.

For a look at HQ-9 missiles, we bring you this footage, courtesy of Defence Videos 2:

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Technology: Apple this week defied a federal court order to unlock an iPhone for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The iPhone in question belongs to one of the shooters in last December’s San Bernardino attack, where 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured.

The FBI is trying to investigate the shooters’ connection with the Islamic State (ISIS) by gathering possible evidence from the iPhone.

But the FBI does not have the four-digit password to access the iPhone contents, and the iPhone’s security feature only allows a certain number of trials, after which it will shut down any further erroneous attempts to unlock the phone.

The U.S. government tried to seek a court order to require Apple to provide a backdoor to make it easier for FBI to access the device.

But Apple’s chief, Timothy Cook, has refused and said he will appeal the court’s order.

In an open letter, Cook said: “The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals.”

For more, we go this Associated Press report:

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Pope Francis Image Courtesy of Greta Gabaglio / Shutterstock.com

Donald Trump Image Courtesy of Borbala Zrinyi / Shutterstock.com