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neneos/iStock Editorial/ThinkStock(HAVANA) -- Pope Francis met Friday with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Havana, bringing the heads of the Russian and Catholic churches together for the first time since Christianity split.

Patriarch Kirill was the first of the two leaders to arrive in Cuba.

Lengthy Lead Up to the Meeting

The meeting is about 1,000 years in the making, as the two faiths split in the 11th century.

Popular convention dates the split of the Catholic and Orthodox churches to the so-called Great Schism in 1054, when the western pope excommunicated the head of the eastern church in Constantinople -- now Istanbul -- over differences in worship practices. The split solidified into centuries of deep hostility, with the two sides differing over a number of doctrinal issues, most importantly the pope’s status as Christianity's supreme authority on earth.

Hatreds have cooled in the past century, and both sides now tend to avoid publicly calling each other heretics.

"There were both surface issues and deeper issues," Monsignor Paul McPartlan, a theology professor at Washington, D.C.'s Catholic University, told ABC News. He noted that the types of bread used for the Eucharist and the question of celibacy for priests were among the surface issues while the deeper issues related to the power structure and geographical spread of the church.

Friday's meeting will not actually be the first between an Orthodox Church leader and a pope: In 1964, Pope Paul VI met with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, formally recognized as Orthodoxy’s spiritual leader, but whose authority is contested by the Russian church.

"That really was the breakthrough for Catholic-Orthodox relations," McPartlan said.

On board the plane from the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke briefly to the group of reporters traveling with him and said this trip is one that he and his "brother" Kirill are eagerly anticipating.

Location, Location, Location

The choice of Cuba as the meeting spot also falls under the question of territory, as it is seen as somewhat neutral land because Cuba has long had ties to the Russians but it also has a large Catholic population and it hosted Pope Francis in September.

Pope Francis will be in Cuba for only about three hours before heading to Mexico.

"The meeting has a political, a humanitarian significance," said Yevgeny Nikiforov, a prominent Russian historian of the Church who helps run an Orthodox radio station. "But it has no divine significance."

Different Approaches to Religious Leadership

They are two very different figures: Pope Francis is known for being humble and regularly is driven in a Fiat, while Patriarch Kirill was once spotted wearing a $30,000 watch and is driven by chauffeur in a black Mercedes.

Under Kirill, the Russian Orthodox Church has grown close to the Kremlin, to the point where it often acts like a branch of the government. He is extremely close to Putin and often blesses or paves the way for some of Putin's most controversial moves like the anti-gay law and clandestine military action in Crimea.

How Will This Change Relations?

John Julius Norwich, a best-selling historian of the Byzantine Empire, as well as of the papacy, said he believed the meeting was likely part of a broader effort by Francis to try and strengthen a Catholic church under assault by changing lifestyles in South America and mass violence in the Middle East.

"It is a step towards reconciliation, there is no question about it,” Norwich said. "But I think it's going to be very much on the surface."

"It's angels dancing on the head of a pin," he added. "But they've been involved in it for 1,700 years. It's going to take an awful long time to get over that. I can see it maybe getting to where they are much, much nicer to each other than they have ever been, but deep, deep down still hating each other's guts."

Monsignor McPartlan was slightly more optimistic.

"I think it's a big step forward in ecumenical relations and it's a sign of hope for the world at large," he told ABC News Friday. "Not all of the issues are yet resolved, however, this meeting shows the firm desire for reconciliation and sends a powerful message to the world at large about the need for peace and reconciliation."

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Courtesy Edward St. George/Reunite Dias(LESVOS, Greece) -- He may be named for the Greek god Zeus, but Dias the cat and his team of volunteers are faced with a Herculean task: trying to reunite him with his family.

Dias arrived by boat on the shores of Lesvos, Greece, in November 2015 with his owners, who were fleeing ISIS-controlled Mosul, Iraq. When they landed, Dias broke free and ran off.

“The family told the volunteers at the time what had happened and many helped the family search for a fluffy white cat with yellow eyes for hours,” Michelle Nhin, a volunteer with the “Reunite Dias” group, told ABC News.

However, the family was soon forced to move on without their cat. Two of the volunteers, Ashley Anderson and Amy Shrodes, knew the family felt “horrible” that they had to leave.

“It's not cheap for a spot on the dinghy so the family must have loved Dias very much to take him with them," Nhin said.

When Dias showed up in a nearby village three days later, the volunteers decided to do something to help. They launched a social media campaign to share Dias’ story, put out Arabic-translated flyers and created a GoFundMe page to help with veterinary costs.

“Amid all the chaos, suffering and sadness,” the group is “hopeful in reuniting [Dias] with his family," Nhin said.

Although they have not yet located his family, they have found Dias a foster home in Berlin. The group believes they have the best chance of reuniting Dias with his owners in Germany due to the large number of refugees settling there. They plan to continue their search until January 2017, at which point Dias’ foster family will adopt him.

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Courtesy Elizabeth Hunt Burrett(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- An Australian mother had an unlikely audience while breastfeeding her infant son at the Melbourne Zoo.

An orangutan closely watched from inside one of the zoo’s exhibits as Elizabeth Hunt Burrett breastfed her now-14-week-old son, Eli.

"I was there for about 20 minutes and the orangutan watched the whole feed," Burrett told ABC News in an email.

Burrett, of Melbourne, was visiting the zoo to celebrate her older daughter's third birthday on Feb. 7, when she went off to the side to nurse Eli.

Soon enough, Burrett had garnered the orangutan’s attention, as well as other zoo-goers, who noticed how closely the orangutan was watching.

Burrett posted a photo of the moment on Facebook.

"Now everyone in Melbourne (well not everyone) has a picture of me feeding, as once one person saw what was going on, the word spread fast and they flocked to see what was happening," Burrett wrote alongside the caption. "I felt like I was on exhibit lol."

"It was the most beautiful thing," she wrote of her unlikely orangutan encounter.

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NASA(NEW YORK) -- A cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station has been pushed back after mold was discovered in some of the bags used for packing supplies, NASA said.

The initial launch of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft was scheduled for Thursday, March 10, but now has been pushed back to "no earlier than March 20," according to a NASA launch schedule. Officials are investigating the cause of the mold.

NASA spokesman Dan Huot told ABC News in an email there is "no suspected source at this time" for what caused the traces of mold in the fabric bags, which are used to pack clothes, food and other supplies for astronauts living at the International Space Station (ISS). The traces of mold were found during routine inspections and tests as officials packed the spacecraft.

Had the bags reached the International Space Station, they likely wouldn't have had an impact on astronauts.

"On board ISS, the environment is relatively dry and not easily hospitable to microbial growth," Huot said. "If necessary, the crew could also use disinfectant wipes to wipe affected surfaces."
 
Huot added NASA is now reviewing its launch schedule to determine if the Orbital ATK delay would push back the next resupply mission.

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iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made an announcement bashing all hopes for a lasting cease-fire.

In an interview with AFP news agency—his first in two months—Assad vowed to retake “the whole country” from rebel forces even if it takes a long time.

According to the BBC, Assad expressed his support of peace talks and negotiations, but that will not stop his fight against terrorism.

“We have fully believed in negotiations in political action since the beginning of the crisis,” Assad told AFP Thursday in Damascus. “However, if we negotiate, it does not mean that we stop fighting terrorism. The two tracks are inevitable in Syria: first through negotiations, and second, through fighting terrorism. And the two tracks are separate from each other.”

Tentative peace talks began to occur in Geneva in January, but they were “paused” until the end of February.

World powers have agreed to push for an end to hostilities in about a week, and the United Nations says it hopes to bring aid to poor areas in Syria within the next few days.

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NASA(NEW YORK) -- NASA released a series of whimsical posters for destinations in our solar system, giving a glimpse of what space exploration could look like sometime in the distant future.

The series of posters were released by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and provide a dreamy perspective of what our solar system has to offer.

One of the posters shows a luxurious looking Venus: "See you at the Cloud 9 Observatory" the poster says. Another shows hot air balloons and advertises "the might auroras" of Jupiter. A trip to the exoplanet Kepler 16-B, which orbits two suns, is advertised as the place "where your shadow always has company."

"At NASA/JPL we strive to be bold in advancing the edge of possibility so that someday, with the help of new generations of innovators and explorers, these visions of the future can become a reality," the team behind the posters wrote. "As you look through these images of imaginative travel destinations, remember that you can be an architect of the future."

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PaulGrecaud/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- Greece has been given three months by the European Union (EU) to fix its border controls, reports BBC News.

The move aims to allow other Schengen zone states to control internal borders.

Other states in the EU have been critical of Greece's actions in stemming the flow of migrants. In the first two months of 2016 alone, 80,000 migrants have crossed Turkey and in 2015, almost 900,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece, says BBC News.

According to the Schengen Borders Code, countries can initiate temporary border controls for a short period of up to two years.

On Thursday, NATO said that ships would be deployed in the Aegean Sea to catch people-smugglers.

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Treasury announced on Thursday sanctions on three key ISIS leaders.

In a statement, officials said they placed sanctions on senior ISIS oil official Faysal al-Zahrani, foreign fighter facilitator Husayn Juaythini, and senior ISIS official Turki al-Binali.

According to the statement, the Treasury Department made these designations as a part of President Obama’s plan to dismantle ISIS and the department's own effort to attack ISIS’s finances and “disrupt its ability to profit from illicit oil sales within its territory ink Iraq and Syria.”

Thursday’s actions will result in the freezing of any property of the three individuals designated by the Treasury Department within U.S. authority.

“Treasury and our partners worldwide are aggressively targeting ISIL’s ability to earn and make use of its money, and we are making progress on many fronts,” Adam J. Szubin, acting under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in the statement. “Today’s [Friday’s] action targets key ISIL leadership figures responsible for oil and gas production, foreign terrorist recruitment and facilitation, and other financial facilitation.”

The announcement comes before the first-ever joint session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL’s Counter ISIL Finance Group (CIFG). This is set to take place on Feb. 14 in Paris.

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josefkubes/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- At least 49 inmates are dead after a battle between opposing groups at a prison near the Mexican city of Monterrey, reports BBC News.

The riot happened on Thursday at the Topo Chico jail and 12 other people were left injured.

Officials say no inmates escaped and a fire was also started in a storage room, says the BBC.

Relatives of inmates gathered outside the prison.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  Secretary of State John Kerry has announced new steps designed to help eliminate the violence in Syria after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Munich, aiming for a "cessation of hostilities."

One of those steps is to expand humanitarian aid in Syria immediately. A new task force will meet Friday to ensure that progress is made in humanitarian aid and access in Syria.

 Kerry and Lavrov agreed to implement a nationwide cessation of hostilities in one week's time, although he acknowledged that the deadline was ambitious.

Kerry said he could not guarantee the outcome of the plan and that the real test is whether all parties will implement it.

The leaders also agreed that discussions in Geneva on the ending of violence in Syria should resume as soon as possible they were paused last week.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) --  The bystander who helped British police capture a suspect last week has been revealed.

The British Army said Lance Sergeant Matthew Lawson, 37, was out with his wife last Saturday when he saw police officers chasing a young man who was running toward him. The soldier tripped the suspect, enabling officers to catch and detain him.

Kingston police later posted the CCTV footage of the chase online, thanking the good Samaritan and calling him a legend. The British Army revealed his identity on Thursday.

"I'm not a hero," Lawson told ABC News. "I [was] just helping out."

Lawson, who has served in Iraq, Bosnia and Northern Ireland, is based at Wellington Barracks near Buckingham Palace in London.

"I pay tribute to Matthew's actions in helping the police apprehend this suspect, which underlines the standards and values the armed forces work to, as well as their readiness to help keep us safe even when off-duty," said Penny Mordaunt, minister for the armed forces, in a statement.

The 17-year-old suspect was arrested "on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs" and is free on bail. He is scheduled to appear in court in April.

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iStock/Thinkstock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Marking the 37th anniversary of its Islamic revolution, Iran continued to publicly mock the 10 U.S. sailors its military forces detained in Iranian waters last month.

Groups of shackled Iranian men and at least one woman (many of them overweight) were paraded thought the streets of downtown Tehran as part of the celebration. Dressed in fatigues meant to depict those of U.S. sailors, the men had guns pointed at them while kneeling on the ground with their hands behind their heads. Others were tied together with bags over their heads.

Crowds gathered to watch the mock reenactment of the heavily propagandized Jan. 12 incident. Ten American sailors were detained for roughly 24 hours after their Riverine command boats strayed into Iranian waters near Farsi Island.

Iranian state media released images Wednesday that it said shows one of the U.S. sailors weeping while in detention. The State Department expressed its “disgust” at Iran’s decision to release that footage in a statement to ABC News.

Last month, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he was “very, very angry” after Iran first released footage of the U.S. sailors and said the U.S would not have done the same to the Iranians, had the roles been reversed.

The Navy’s 5th Fleet released a short description of the incident last month but has yet to produce a larger investigation it said is in the works. None of the U.S. sailors involved have publicly talked about the incident.

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ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Kim Jong Un, the self-proclaimed "Supreme Leader" of North Korea, has released video footage showing the rocket launch he reportedly oversaw on Saturday.

The KCNA, the state-owned news agency in North Korea, reported that the blastoff was a "complete success" and for "peaceful purposes."

This launch comes exactly one month after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea allegedly tested a nuclear bomb.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a South Korean national, called the rocket launch "deeply deplorable."

The UN Security Council hosted an emergency meeting following reports of the launch and subsequently condemned North Korea for breaking international security resolutions in a statement.

World leaders from the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and other nations have also spoken out condemning the launch. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the launch a "major provocation" and a threat "not only the security of the Korean peninsula, but that of the region and the United States as well" in a statement.

The unverified footage of the rocket launch appears very similar to the footage the regime released of a rocket launch in 2012.

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AMER ALMOHIBANY/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The findings of a new report puts the number of casualties from the ongoing fighting in Syria well above most estimates. That’s the word, according to a new report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research.

In its findings, SCPR — an independent think tank — says 470,000 people are dead as a result of the five-year war that’s still raging. Conversely, the United Nations says that some 250,000 people were killed in the fighting.

The report also claims that more than 11 percent of the Syrian population has been killed or injured.

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If Albert Einstein was alive today, he'd be saying: "I told you so."

In one of the most experimental findings in recent years, scientists announced on Thursday they have detected gravitational waves, vibrations of space and time, proving Einstein was right 100 years after he first predicted their existence.

David Reitze, the executive director of LIGO, the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, said the discovery is a "scientific moonshot" that many, even Einstein, believed would be difficult to detect. He said the detection would allow scientists a new window into seeing and hearing cosmic events that otherwise might not be detected.

"Up until now we have been deaf to the universe. Today, we are able to hear gravitational waves for the first time," Reitze said.

Here's a breakdown on why this is such big news for the scientific community:

What Causes Gravitational Waves


Violent events -- such as when two black holes collide -- are believed to create ripples in the fabric of space and time known as gravitational waves. Since gravity is a weak force, Einstein predicted it would be nearly impossible to detect these ripples, even as they passed through people and objects on Earth.

Whenever an object moves in the fabric of the universe, Einstein predicted in his Theory of General Relativity that it would create ripples the same way an object would if thrown into the water. Those ripples are what scientists announced on Thursday they're finally able to detect, giving them a microphone of sorts to now listen to the universe.

What Was Detected

The gravitational waves detected are from the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion years ago. Reitze said the black holes are about 150 km (93 miles) in diameter and have about 30 times the mass of the sun. The black holes then collided at half the speed of light, he said, creating the gravitational waves that were able to be measured from LIGO's two observatories in Washington State and Louisiana.

Even Einstein didn't know if gravitational waves, which he predicted were weak, could ever be measured by people on Earth, making Thursday's announcement huge for the scientific community.

Why This Matters

The discovery of the waves is important for the scientific community because it will open up a new way to see and hear the universe, allowing astronomers to now search and see objects we previously didn't know existed.

Scientists reported in 2014 they had detected gravitational waves using a telescope in Antarctica; however, the discovery turned out to be a false alarm after further research found the data was contaminated by cosmic dust.

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