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Loving on a prayer
May 20, 2014
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Pope Francis recently received an unusual letter signed by 26 women, La Stampa's Vatican Insider reports. "Dear Pope Francis," the letter begins, "we are a group of women from all over Italy (and beyond) who are writing you to break the wall of silence and indifference we encounter every day." Why? "Each one of us is living, has lived, or wants to live in a loving relationship with a priest she is in love with."

As Pope Francis noted in a dialogue with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, published in 2010 as the book On Heaven and Earth, priestly celibacy was optional until 1100, and is still optional in the Eastern Orthodox churches. The women, who say they are just "a small sample" of women in love or in relationships with Catholic clerics, are asking for the pope to allow them to openly live with their priest-lovers (or prospective lovers), and even "bless these our loves, giving us the biggest joy that a father could want for his children: to see them happy."

But, perhaps more realistically, they are also trying to put a human face on the priest celibacy debate, expressing the "devastating suffering" of women like themselves who "experience with a priest the powerful experience of falling in love." The signatories put their first name, last initial or town where they live (which could be uncomfortable for that town's priests), and phone numbers. You never know — Pope Francis may call. (The Daily Beast's Barbie Latza Nadeau has a more extensive English-language recap of the letter.) Peter Weber

emojional
1:46 p.m. ET
Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images

Russian Sen. Mikhail Marchenko has had it with emoji depicting same-sex relationships. He alleged the same-sex parenting and kissing emojing violate Russia's 2013 law against gay propaganda, according to translations of a Russian newspaper report from Quartz and BBC News.

Mikhail reportedly said the emoji "promoted non-traditional sexual relationships" and "denied family values." His complaint prompted a state media investigation into the emoji that could lead to them being banned from social media in Russia. Pro-gay emoji have been available on iPhones since 2012.

The Russian law allows for blocking pro-gay websites and fining individuals and businesses that publicly support gay rights. Julie Kliegman

Around the world
12:54 p.m. ET
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Egyptian counterpart Sunday, marking the first time in six years the two nations have held strategic talks, Newsweek reports. Talks were suspended during the Middle East's Arab Spring uprising, where protests in Egypt forced the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

"Egypt remains vital ... to engagement and stability in the region as a whole," Kerry said.

The U.S. has given Egypt eight F-16 fighter jets, and will continue providing more support for the Egyptian military as they fight insurgents in the Sinai Peninsula. Kerry also emphasized the U.S. would continue to press Cairo on human rights issues, like jailing journalists.

Kerry will travel to Qatar next for meetings about fighting ISIS and enforcing the Iran nuclear deal. Julie Kliegman

lions
12:10 p.m. ET
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The head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force apologized Sunday for sharing false news Saturday of another notable lion's death, ABC News reports. The group initially reported that Jericho, a companion of Cecil, the lion who was reportedly shot and killed by an American dentist in early July, had also been killed.

"I have now discovered that he is alive and well," Johnny Rodrigues said. "The cubs are also doing well."

Cecil and Jericho were not brothers, as has been reported, but they did oversee two prides together. Zimbabwe has asked the U.S. to extradite Cecil's alleged hunter. Julie Kliegman

torture
11:29 a.m. ET
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If Donald Trump becomes president, he might bring back waterboarding as an interrogation tactic, he said Sunday on ABC's This Week.

"When you see the other side chopping off heads, waterboarding doesn't sound very severe," he told Jonathan Karl.

Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush have both issued bans on using enhanced interrogation tactics on detainees, most notably at Guantánamo Bay.

In his interview, Trump also criticized Obama for not doing enough for African-Americans during his presidency. And at Thursday's GOP primary debate, he said doesn't plan on attacking his opponents. Place your bets now on how many minutes that promise might last. Julie Kliegman

Climate change
10:19 a.m. ET

The White House released a video Saturday night previewing President Obama's Monday announcement of a proposal to limit carbon pollution released by the nation's power plants.

BREAKING: On Monday, President Obama will release the final version of America's Clean Power Plan—the biggest, most important step we've ever taken to combat climate change. If you agree that we can't condemn our kids and grandkids to a planet that's beyond fixing, share this video with your friends and family. It's time to #ActOnClimate.

Posted by The White House on Saturday, August 1, 2015

The regulations proposed, tougher than those in a previous draft, will require 32 percent decreases from 2005 levels of carbon emissions by 2030. And at least 28 percent of a plant's generating power must come from renewable energy sources, NPR reports.

"Climate change is not a problem for another generation," Obama said. "Not anymore." Julie Kliegman

music to my ears
9:25 a.m. ET
Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images

Dr. Dre announced on his radio show Saturday he will release his first new album in 15 years, Rolling Stone reports. Compton: A Soundtrack, which he's releasing exclusively on iTunes and Apple Music Aug. 7, will feature artists including Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and the Game.

"I kept it under wraps, and now the album is finished," he said. "It's bananas. It's an 'inspired by' album. It's inspired by Straight Outta Compton."

Dre called the album his "grand finale." Julie Kliegman

$$$$$
9:13 a.m. ET
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Puerto Rico defaulted Saturday, missing a $58 million debt payment on Public Finance Corporation bonds. Victor Suarez, the governor's chief of staff, said Friday the island only has enough money to operate until November if nothing is done to increase cash flow, Reuters reports.

Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced in June that Puerto Rico would need restructuring on an unpayable $72 billion in debt. The White House has said the U.S. will not bail out the territory. Julie Kliegman

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