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When is St. Nicholas Day? And how did he inspire the Santa Claus legend?

The white-bearded Christian saint whose acts of generosity inspired America's secular Santa Claus figure is known worldwide — but Saint Nicholas' origin story is not.

The legends surrounding jolly old St. Nicholas — celebrated annually on Dec. 6 — go way beyond delivering candy and toys to children.

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Lebanon's Christians feel heat of climate change in sacred forest and valley

Majestic cedar trees towered over dozens of Lebanese Christians gathered outside a small mid-19th century chapel hidden in a mountain forest to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration, the miracle where Jesus Christ, on a mountaintop, shined with light before his disciples.

The sunset's yellow light coming through the cedar branches bathed the leader of Lebanon's Maronite Church, Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, as he stood at a wooden podium and delivered a sermon. Then the gathering sang hymns in Arabic and the Aramaic language.

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Pope has acute bronchitis, doctors recommended against travel

Pope Francis said on Thursday that he is suffering from acute, infectious bronchitis and that doctors recommended he cancel his planned visit to Dubai this weekend to avoid the quick changes in temperature that would be involved.

"As you can see, I'm alive," Francis quipped at the start of an audience with participants of a symposium on health care ethics.

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Ailing Pope tells public he's better than a day earlier but has aides read speeches

Pope Francis presided at his weekly audience with the public at the Vatican, but he said that he's still unwell and asked an aide to read his remarks for him on Wednesday, a day after canceling an overseas trip.

Francis, who will turn 87 on Dec. 17 and had part of one lung removed as a young man, coughed near the end of the hourlong audience in a Vatican auditorium as he made some final comments, then stood up from his chair on the stage to give his blessing.

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Pope getting antibiotics for lung problem, limiting appointments

Pope Francis is receiving antibiotics intravenously to treat a lung inflammation and will scale back some appointments, but he doesn't have pneumonia or fever, the Vatican said.

Francis himself on Sunday revealed that he was suffering from the inflammation problem, explaining why he didn't keep his weekly window appointment to greet people in St. Peter's Square. Instead, he gave his blessing from the chapel of the hotel on Vatican grounds where he lives.

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Busan, Riyadh or Rome? 2030 World Expo host to be revealed

In a high-profile showdown, Rome, Busan and Riyadh are the top contenders to become the host city of the 2030 World Expo as the organizing body prepares to hold a vote in the French capital on Tuesday.

With the stakes high, each city has escalated its campaign efforts, showcasing unique visions and ambitious promises to secure the rights to the globally prestigious event.

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Peek into triumphs and struggles of Muslim chaplains in US military

The woman refused to sell Captain Saleha Jabeen a hijab to don with her military uniform. While many civilian Muslims tell Jabeen she makes them proud, others are horrified by her decision to serve. "You're gonna go kill Muslims," the store owner told her that day.

Major Rafael Lantigua Jr. has experienced the flip side of that struggle. Angered by an attack on U.S. troops in Iraq, a fellow service member once barked at Lantigua: "Why can't you call your people and tell them to stop?"

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Irish writer Paul Lynch wins Booker Prize with dystopian novel 'Prophet Song'

Irish writer Paul Lynch won the Booker Prize for fiction on Sunday with what judges called a "soul-shattering" novel about a woman's struggle to protect her family as Ireland collapses into totalitarianism and war.

"Prophet Song," set in a dystopian fictional version of Dublin, was awarded the 50,000-pound ($63,000) literary prize at a ceremony in London. Canadian writer Esi Edugyan, who chaired the judging panel, said the book is "a triumph of emotional storytelling, bracing and brave" in which Lynch "pulls off feats of language that are stunning to witness."

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Court document claims Meta knowingly designed platforms to hook kids

Facebook parent Meta Platforms deliberately engineered its social platforms to hook kids and knew — but never disclosed — it had received millions of complaints about underage users on Instagram but only disabled a fraction of those accounts, according to a newly unsealed legal complaint described in reports from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

The complaint, originally made public in redacted form, was the opening salvo in a lawsuit filed in late October by the attorneys general of 33 states.

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Fighting for Israel, Druze demand end to demolition orders

In black robes, white moustaches and traditional hats, Druze religious elders stood before the coffin of Israeli soldier Adi Malik Harb, killed fighting Hamas militants in Gaza.

But while Israel's Druze minority serve in the military and fight and die for the country, many of them say their communities are marginalized and deprived of public investment while families are fined crippling sums for building homes due to selective enforcement of planning rules.

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