CHICAGO — Chicago saw one of its least violent Christmas holidays in recent years, with far fewer people shot over the long weekend than in 2016, according to authorities.


A total of 25 people were shot, five fatally, from Friday afternoon to Tuesday morning, according to data kept by the Chicago Tribune.


That’s a stark drop from last year, when 61 people were shot, 11 fatally, in one of the city’s bloodiest Christmas holidays in decades. Seven people were killed on Christmas Day alone in 2016, more than on the holiday the previous three years combined.


This year, Albert Abu was killed in Chatham on the South Side just after midnight on Christmas Day. He was on the sidewalk when two people came up and fired shots, killing him on the block where he lived. He was the sole fatal shooting victim in Chicago on Monday.


On Christmas Days in previous years, three people were killed in 2015, one in 2014 and two in 2013, according to Tribune data.


On Christmas Eve this year, a 37-year-old man was fatally shot while trying to rob a shopper in the South Loop neighborhood, police said. The shopper, 31, held a concealed carry license from Indiana and shot the robber, police said.


Corey Haggard was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead Monday. He lived in the Lawndale neighborhood.


In 2014, when Christmas fell on a Thursday, the four-day weekend included 35 people wounded and seven people killed, according to Tribune data. In 2015, 29 people were shot and seven of them died, according to Tribune data.


—Chicago Tribune


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Topless ‘sexstremist’ tries to steal baby Jesus from Vatican nativity


Police in Rome on Christmas day detained a topless protester after she tried to remove the baby Jesus from the Vatican’s nativity scene.


The woman was wearing only pants and shoes.


A photographer from Reuters news agency said the woman jumped over guard rails and rushed onto the nativity scene shouting, “God is woman!” She had the same message written on her back.


Video of the moment posted to Twitter shows the topless woman being tackled to the ground by a police officer in a black cape, right in the middle of the nativity scene with a statue of the mother of Jesus looking on.


The protester managed to get her hands on the naked baby Jesus, but it was left dangling from the manger as the cop, quickly joined by several others, wrestled with her.


The Ukrainian “sextremist” Alisa Vinogradova was identified by her fellow members of the international feminist activist organization, Femen, on group’s the website.


The group is known for its topless activists who challenge patriarchies around the world.


The Femen website said the act protested the “Vatican’s infringement of the rights of women to their own bodies,” in particular the Holy See’s “promotion of the ban on abortion” and “sacred condemnation” of contraception.


“A child is not from a god, but from a woman! For a woman is God!” the website states.


—The Kansas City Star


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China holds meeting to broker peace in Afghan-Pakistan conflict


SINGAPORE — China hosted top diplomats from Afghanistan and Pakistan on Tuesday in a bid to mediate a long-simmering conflict between the neighboring countries.


Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif joined their Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Tuesday to discuss possible economic and security cooperation. The first trilateral minister-level dialogue in Beijing comes as China expands its economic interests in Pakistan.


“China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as three neighbors, will naturally try to strengthen cooperation amongst each other,” Wang was quoted as saying by state broadcaster CCTV. “This is fully in accordance with our common interests, and is a good thing for us.”


The meeting highlighted China’s growing role in global hot spots as U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration embraces a more inward-looking foreign policy. President Xi Jinping has sought to present China as a responsible alternative to the U.S., shifting from a longstanding policy of keeping a low profile in international affairs.


China hoped the meeting could set up a communication platform for Afghanistan and Pakistan that would allow the two countries to build trust, enhance understanding and improve ties, Wang said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.


The three countries agreed to establish the mechanism during Wang’s visits to Kabul and Islamabad in June.


—Bloomberg News


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