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Ski resorts in France reopen. Vaccine passes and masks are required

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President Biden is scheduled to speak again with Russian President Putin

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News brief: Record COVID cases, Ghislaine Maxwell verdict, Biden-Putin call

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A Ukrainian soldier walks in a trench on the front line in Zolote, Ukraine, earlier this month. A buildup of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine has heightened worries that Russia intends to invade. Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images hide caption

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Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Russia shut down its oldest human rights group, accusing it of foreign ties

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It's unclear if Boris Johnson can bounce back from low approval ratings and scandals

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Iraq's average annual temperatures are increasing at nearly double the rate of Earth's temperature rise. This photograph accompanies Ruth Sherlock's story about how climate change is affecting marshlands and the way of life in Iraq. Mootaz Sami for NPR hide caption

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Mootaz Sami for NPR

Pope Francis gives an early Christmas Eve homily with a pointed message on humility

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US and Russian officials have agreed to discuss Ukraine tensions and role of NATO

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Holiday show celebrating Cole Porter is playing to packed (masked) houses in Paris

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Encore: A toy monkey that escaped Nazi Germany and reunited a family

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Migrants aiming to cross into Poland camp near the Bruzgi-Kuznica border crossing on the Belarusian-Polish border on Nov. 17. Maxim Guchek/BelTA/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Maxim Guchek/BelTA/AFP via Getty Images

Syrians say Belarus deported them even though they're wanted by Assad's regime

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Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev closes his resignation speech after delivering it at the Kremlin in Moscow on Dec. 25, 1991. After 74 years, the Soviet Union was dissolved, breaking into 15 countries. But there's often been friction among the former Soviet republics, including the current confrontation between Russia and Ukraine. Liu Heung Shing/AP hide caption

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Liu Heung Shing/AP

How the Soviet Union's collapse explains the current Russia-Ukraine tension

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