Stories by Michael Sykes

Anti-gun violence statues debut across U.S. this weekend

A series of anti-gun violence statues featuring a child hiding underneath a school desk and holding onto it with fear are debuting across the country this weekend, as student activists campaign to push voters to elect leaders against gun violence, gun control group Giffords announced.

China and Vatican strike controversial deal over bishops

Pope Francis
Pope Francis. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

In a controversial move, China and the Vatican are preparing to sign a landmark deal this month allowing each side a voice in choosing the church's bishops in China, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The details: Pope Francis will recognize excommunicated Chinese bishops that were approved without the Vatican's green light, and China will acknowledge the Pope as leader of the nation's Catholics and allow the Vatican a voice in bishop selection moving forward. The deal comes with controversy as China's current regime is largely atheist and authoritarian. The agreement is also seen as China recognizing religious autonomy — something the government has notably refused to do in the past. However, WSJ notes the deal "could still fall through or be delayed due to unforeseen events."

John Kerry fires back at Trump, Pompeo over Iran meetings

John Kerry
John Kerry. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State John Kerry fired back at President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over their criticism of his meetings with Iran's Prime Minister, saying the administration should be more "worried about Paul Manafort" than his meetings, ABC News reports.

The big picture: Trump and Pompeo both criticized Kerry for meeting with Iranian officials on Friday. Pompeo said Kerry is directly undermining the current administration with his meetings and Trump called them "illegal." Kerry defended himself saying he only tried to figure out what Iran may be willing to do in order to "change the dynamic of the Middle East for the better."