First diplomat for LGBT rights speaks out

Becoming a father was a prime motivator for Randy Berry to accept what's sure to be a controversial new role at the State Department.

Berry, 50, is the U.S. special envoy for the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, the first such post created by a nation, according to the State Department.

In that trailblazing role, he said, he has an opportunity to help his two children grow up in a world more accepting than the one he was born into.

Boko Haram emerges as Africa's version of the brutal Islamic State

Boko Haram, with its chilling brutality, radical Islamic ideology and unstoppable seizure of Nigerian territory is quickly emerging as the Islamic State of Africa.

While much of the world has focused on the terror attacks in Paris and the Islamic militants' capture of swaths of Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram has gone on a bloody rampage through northeastern Nigeria.

Political Islam on the defensive across the Middle East

The backlash against Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt comes as forces across the Middle East are rising up in opposition to political Islam.

Middle East Christians keep wary eye on Arab Spring

CAIRO -- From her home, Samia Ramsis holds a key chain bearing the face of the Virgin Mary as visitors outside come to look upon the spot where Egypt's Coptic Christians believe Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus found refuge after fleeing Bethlehem.

Once crowded with Christians, Cairo's Coptic quarter where she lives with her husband, Mounir, and two children is now home to fewer than 50 Christian families.

"We know many Christians have left," said Mounir Ramsis, speaking not only about this quarter but about all of Egypt. "But we love this country and will stay until death."

The Arab Spring uprisings that toppled secular dictatorships have unleashed long-suppressed freedoms that have allowed Islamic parties to gain a share of political power they have been denied for decades. Their rise is creating near-panic among ancient Christian communities that dot the Muslim world and predate Islam by centuries.