A little boy  poses for photos with a Christmas tree in the Taipei.

RIGHT: Men wearing  costumes of Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), the Santa Claus in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, and women wearing costumes of Snegurochka 
(Snow Maiden), the traditional companion of Ded Moroz, smile during their parade in Minsk.
A little boy poses for photos with a Christmas tree in the Taipei. RIGHT: Men wearing costumes of Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), the Santa Claus in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, and women wearing costumes of Snegurochka (Snow Maiden), the traditional companion of Ded Moroz, smile during their parade in Minsk.
A little boy poses for photos with a Christmas tree in the Taipei.<br />RIGHT: Men wearing costumes of Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), the Santa Claus in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, and women wearing costumes of Snegurochka<br />(Snow Maiden), the traditional companion of Ded Moroz, smile during their parade in Minsk.
A little boy poses for photos with a Christmas tree in the Taipei.
RIGHT: Men wearing costumes of Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), the Santa Claus in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, and women wearing costumes of Snegurochka
(Snow Maiden), the traditional companion of Ded Moroz, smile during their parade in Minsk.

Vatican City : Pope Francis has ushered in his first Christmas as pontiff, likening Jesus’ birth to a burst of light on the sometimes dark moments of human history, marked by pride and ambition. 

The 77-year-old Francis celebrated Christmas Eve Mass late on Tuesday in St. Peter’s Basilica, returning to rest in his Vatican lodgings barely 12 hours before he was due to return to the basilica.
At noon (1100 GMT) on Wednesday, Francis was scheduled to deliver a traditional Christmas day message meant for a worldwide audience. Tens of thousands of tourists and Romans are expected to gather in St. Peter’s Square for his speech and blessing delivered from the central balcony of the basilica. At the Tuesday night Christmas service, Francis drew on the humility theme of his nine-month-old papacy as he cited Jesus’ humble beginning as a poor and vulnerable baby.

Urges aid for Syria

The Pope asked people to pray for a peaceful end to violence in Syria and other conflict zones, BBC reported on Wednesday. The Argentine pontiff also spoke about violence in the
Central African Republic.
The Pope called it an “often forgotten and overlooked” conflict in a country “torn apart by a spiral of violence and poverty”.

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