MANILA — Elaborately dressed cats and dogs and even a palm-sized sugar glider were among the animals blessed outside a Philippine mall on Sunday in celebration of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and World Animal day.

VATICAN CITY - Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Pope Francis on Thursday, a day before Ukraine's Catholic leaders meet at the Vatican to discuss the crisis in their country, and amid speculation that the visit could be a prelude to the first trip by a pope to Russia.


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