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The wife of a top North Korean official who was executed last week appears to have survived the latest political purge in Pyongyang.

Kim Kyong Hui, who is also the aunt of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was named to an official funeral committee on Saturday. Analysts took it as a sign that she still retains power in the inner circle of North Korean leadership.

Anti-government protesters in Kiev, Ukraine, got a boost from Sen. John McCain today.

The Arizona Republican, who was accompanied by Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, of Connecticut, said he was at Independence Square to speak on behalf of the American people.

"To all Ukrainians, America stands with you," McCain said, as the crowd roared.

Iran says it will continue to negotiate over its nuclear program, despite a U.S. decision to expand its blacklist to include more than a dozen firms doing business with Iran's national tanker company.

Iran, if you remember, struck a temporary six-month deal with world powers that paused some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Iran had said that any new sanctions would kill the prospects for a long-term deal.

George Rodrigue, the artist who transformed the image of Louisiana's loup-garou into a pop art icon, died on Saturday after a battle with cancer.

Rodrigue took the legend of the Cajun werewolf and transformed it into instantly recognizable portraits of a quizzical blue dog framed by different landscapes.

Each year, millions of people from different faiths make religious journeys. They travel far, to Mecca, Jerusalem, the Ganges River or Lourdes, France, to walk the paths of prophets, saints and martyrs.

"Pilgrimage is something built into the human condition," says George Weigel, author of Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches. "There seems to be something hardwired into us, spiritually, that the idea of a journey from A to B becomes part of the rhythm of the spiritual life."

Once again, French television screens are full of images of joyous Africans welcoming French troops.

In January, the French military intervened in Mali to help liberate large swaths of the country from radical jihadists. Now, for the second time this year, France has sent troops into an African country to quell violence.

Last week, French soldiers went into the Central African Republic to stop sectarian killings. In news reports from the Central African Republic, crowds yell, "Vive la France!" as they run out to greet convoys of French soldiers.

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year. Numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we're living in, right now. Over the next two weeks, you'll hear the stories behind numbers, ranging from zero to 1 trillion.

The lowest number of polio cases ever recorded in the world during one year was 223. And 2013 was on track for an even lower number.

China's Moon Rover Separates From Lander

Dec 15, 2013

Very early Sunday morning, China's moon rover, "Yutu" or Jade Rabbit, separated from its lander and began its exploration.

This means that China has officially joined the United States and the former Soviet Union as as the only countries to make a soft landing and drop an exploratory vehicle on the moon safely.

The state news agency Xinhua reports:

Another Partisan Divide: Mitt Romney's Looks

Dec 15, 2013

It's clear that Republicans and Democrats had different political opinions about Mitt Romney. But did Romney literally look different to the two sides? A forthcoming study suggests that might be the case.

According to new research from Ohio State University psychologists, individual political biases might have caused 2012 GOP presidential nominee's physical appearance to appear different to Republicans and Democrats.

Updated at 6:22 a.m. ET

Under a sunny African sky, Nelson Mandela was buried Sunday on a hill overlooking his beloved boyhood village. Members of his clan, national leaders and a global audience bid farewell to the man who transformed his country and became one of the world's most revered figures.

The burial marked the culmination of 10 days of mourning and tributes to Mandela's remarkable journey, which began and ended in Qunu. Home to a few hundred farmers, the village is little-changed since Mandela's childhood.