World News

Iceland is lowering the threat level on its Bardarbunga volcano. As we reported on Saturday, the warning had been raised to its highest level — red. Now, scientists in the island nation have ratcheted it down to orange.

Reuters reports:

Citing health concerns, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he'll leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has lived in diplomatic asylum for more than two years. Assange didn't name a date for his exit, which will seemingly come without a deal over potential criminal charges against him.

Itay Maoz climbs into his dusty SUV and presses a series of buttons on his cellphone, which opens an electronic gate surrounding the Nahal Oz Kibbutz. From here, in the far south of Israel, you can see across the border into Gaza and the remains of buildings pulverized by Israeli missiles.

This 2,500-acre collective farm was on the front line during the war between Israel and Hamas, and it sustained millions of dollars worth of damage. Maoz points at a patch of hard earth, gouged with deep tracks, leading toward Gaza.

Emily Veltus, a health educator working in Sierra Leone, says her organization, Doctors Without Borders, is "maxed out" in dealing with Ebola and that more help is needed to control an outbreak that is still raging.

When you sign up for a reporting fellowship to learn about the health of newborns in Ethiopia, you expect things to be a little different from what you're used to in the U.S. To be perfectly honest, a little worse. But Ethiopia actually surprised me, even before I took off.

I did my research, and it turns out that Ethiopia's health care system is getting better — significantly better. It's meeting international goals, winning awards from the United States and, more important, babies are living longer and fewer mothers are dying in childbirth.

Special operations forces sent to Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq have concluded there are far fewer refugees stranded there, making a rescue mission to help them off the mountain less likely, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.

Hagel made the announcement at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland Wednesday night. NPR's David Welna, who was traveling with Hagel, reports:

New York's governor is visiting Israel, where he is expressing "total solidarity" with the country in the monthlong Gaza war.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, as Israeli and Palestinian delegations were engaged in talks in Egypt over a long-term cease-fire and new arrangements for Gaza.

Citing the persecution of religious minorities in Iraq, France says it will deliver weapons to Kurds fighting the extremists of the Islamic State. The news comes as thousands of Yazidi refugees have escaped their plight on Mount Sinjar, crossing into a Kurdish-controlled portion of Syria.

Here are the developments we're seeing today out of Iraq:

A convoy of 280 white-painted trucks headed from Russia toward Ukraine is being met with suspicion. Russia says the trucks are bringing 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid to an area that's been torn by fighting. But Ukrainian leaders worry that the convoy might conceal a military operation.

For more than three decades, communist Cuba was officially an atheist state. Many priests fled the country after the 1959 revolution, and those Catholics who continued practicing were viewed with deep suspicion.

But in the latest sign of warming relations between church and state on the island, the government has given the green light to plans for the first new Catholic place of worship since the 1959 revolution. And as the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford reports from Santiago, it won’t be just any church.

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