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One of the Vatican's most prominent critics, who pushed for greater protections for children and harsher punishments for pedophile priests, has taken a leave of absence from the pope's advisory commission on clerical sex abuse.

North Korea has announced it will be firing a rocket into orbit next week — moving up a launch originally planned for later this month.

Pyongyang told the U.N. International Maritime organization the launch will be held between Feb. 7 and 14, NPR's Elise Hu reports. It had previously been scheduled for sometime between Feb. 8 and 25.

Israel made a decision last week that supporters are calling game-changing. Men and women will be allowed to worship together at the holiest place where Jews can legally pray. This could lead to other changes in Israel.

Batya Kallus, who helped negotiate the deal that led to the government decision, is jubilant.

"This is groundbreaking," she says. "We've reconceived what the Western Wall includes."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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