CNN news 2015-09-29

First up this Wednesday, Russian drones over Syria. We've told you before how Russia has been building up military equipment and troops in Syria. It seems to be supporting the Syrian government in the Middle Eastern country's civil war. That concerns the U.S. because it opposes Syria's government and wants its president removed.

Russia has started to fly drones, unnamed aircraft there. U.S. officials say it looks like they're doing surveillance. They haven't said whether the drones are armed.

Here's where this gets more complicated, though, the U.S. is leading airstrikes against the ISIS terrorist group in Syria. American officials are now concerned about possible run-ins between American and Russian aircraft in the skies over Syria.

Next up, Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, arrived on U.S. soil yesterday. It's the pontiff's first trip to America. And when his plan arrived, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and his family were there to greet the pope.

He'll be in the U.S. for six days, travelling to Washington, New York, and Philadelphia, and will give the first ever joint address to Congress by a pope. He's influential and closely watched both inside and outside the Catholic Church.


In just over two years, Pope Francis has shown the world how the leader of the Catholic Church can be compassionate, comedic, controversial and captivating.

Here are some ways the pontiff has surprised us all.

For one he certainly hasn't been shied about getting up close and personal with his fans. From letting someone play with his cap and giving a pair of school boys a lift in the Popemobile, to even posing in a few selfies. And remember that homily when a young boy walked up on stage to get a closer look at the pope, even kissing his cross. But the pontiff didn't seem to mind.

Several cardinals even tried to persuade the child to leave but he refused, instead wrapping his arms around the pope's legs, and was then allowed to sit in his chair while the pope gave a speech. In another endearing moment, Pope Francis clowned around with a newlywed and donned a red nose with the bride and groom.

And then there's the humble side of the pope. At a detention center in Rome, he washed the feet of two women ruffling the feathers of a few traditionalists. It is written in liturgical law that only men can take part in the ceremony, which reenacts Jesus washing the feet of his 12 disciples, all of whom were men.

In another sign of humility, Pope Francis embraced a disfigured man suffering from a genetic skin condition known as neurofibromatosis. The truly powerful image went viral.

Pope Francis has also made news that have disturbed some conservatives who believe he's making too many changes too quickly. He authorized priests to forgive the sin of abortion and make it easier and faster to get an annulment. He issued a papal encyclical about the dangers of climate change, pleading for global action to help stop it.

In the wake of the attack on the "Charlie Hebdo", the pope condemned the violence, but said there are limits to free speech. "If someone says a swear word against my mother," the pope said, "He's going to get a punch in the nose."

And throughout it all, Pope Francis has earned some interesting titles. In 2013, "Esquire" named him their best dressed man, and "TIME" gave him the iconic label of "Person of the Year". "Rolling Stone" also elevated the pope to rock star status by making him the first religious head to grace the cover, paired with the headlines, "The times they are a-changin'".