A mysterious explosion at or near an important military complex rocked the Iranian capital on Sunday, lighting up the skies over the city. Iranian official sources denied the explosion had taken place at the complex, the expansive Parchin military site in the east of Tehran, where international monitors suspect Iran once tested triggers for potential nuclear weapons. But the enormous orange flash that illuminated Tehran around 11:15 p.m. local time clearly came from that direction, several witnesses said. Officials at Iran's Defense Industries Organization, though also denying that the explosion took place at Parchin, confirmed that two people were missing after "an ordinary fire" caused by "chemical reactions of flammable material" at an unspecified production unit, according to the semiofficial Iranian Student News Agency. There was no word on the location of the fire.
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Bishops debating family issues
Setting the tone for a two-week meeting of Roman Catholic bishops, Pope Francis on Monday urged participants to speak openly and clearly, without fear of censure. He also called on the participants to listen to each other with humility and to respect differing opinions. "Do not say: I cannot say this, if I do they will think badly of me. Speak freely of everything you believe," Francis instructed the nearly 200 prelates assembled for the synod, which will chart the church's course regarding family life in contemporary society. But Vatican experts cautioned against expecting big changes.
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Child mistakes heroin for candy
A 4-year-old girl in Delaware passed out packets of heroin she found in her mother's backpack to her day care mates, thinking they contained candy, authorities said Monday. The Delaware State Police said in a news release that the girl found the bags in a backpack her mom gave her to use after hers was ruined by a family pet. The pack contained 249 bags of heroin weighing 3.7 grams. Day care providers at the Hickory Tree Child Care Center in Selbyville called police after noticing children with the bags. The girl's mother, Ashley Tull, 30, faces several charges.
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Indigenous people replace Columbus
The Seattle City Council is replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day in the city. The resolution that passed unanimously Monday celebrates the contributions and culture of American Indians and the indigenous community in Seattle on the second Monday in October, the same day as the federally recognized Columbus Day. Tribal members and other supporters say the move recognizes the rich history of people who have inhabited the area for centuries. Several Italian-Americans and others objected to the change, saying it honors one group and disregards the Italian heritage of others.
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Swastikas found at Jewish frat house
Swastikas were found painted on the exterior of a historically Jewish fraternity house at Emory University in metro Atlanta over the weekend, according to police and university reports. Officials said the vandalism would not be tolerated. The Alpha Epsilon Pi house was targeted early Sunday morning, shortly after the end of the observance of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, officials said.