Christmas Messages From Around The World

Leaders and notable figures across the world offered up Christmas messages Wednesday. We hear holiday greetings from Pope Francis, President Obama and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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Christmas brings a host of seasonal greetings from world leaders.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello everybody, and Happy Holidays.

SIEGEL: And along with the greetings comes guidance. President Obama and the first lady encouraged family time, volunteer work, and support of the troops who serve overseas.

Pope Francis, in his first Christmas message, reflected on suffering in war in Nigeria, South Sudan and in Syria.

FRANCIS I: (Foreign language spoken)

SIEGEL: Francis told the crowd at Saint Peter's Basilica: Too many lives have been shattered in recent times by the conflict in Syria, fueling hatred and vengeance. And he asked God to spare further suffering and to speed an end to the violence.

And - while not a world leader - Edward Snowden accepted a invitation from the BBC to give a holiday address.

EDWARD SNOWDEN: Hi and Merry Christmas.

SIEGEL: The former NSA analyst cited the novel 1984, saying government spying is now more powerful than anything George Orwell envisioned.

SNOWDEN: A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves - an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought.

SIEGEL: Snowden urged people to find a better balance between technology and privacy, and to end mass surveillance.


SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.


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