Hamas, Israel carry out first swap of hostages, prisoners

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Hamas on Friday released 24 hostages it held captive in Gaza for weeks, and Israel freed 39 Palestinians from prison in the first stage of a swap under a four-day cease-fire that offered a small glimmer of relief to both sides.

Russian disputes that he adopted a Ukrainian child

LONDON — A Russian lawmaker and staunch supporter of President Vladimir Putin has denied media allegations that he adopted a missing 2-year-old girl who was removed from a Ukrainian children’s home and changed her name in Russia.

UN chief visits Antarctica ahead of COP28

KING GEORGE ISLAND, Antarctica — Ahead of international climate talks, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited globally-important Antarctica, where ice that’s been frozen for millions of years is melting due to human-caused global warming, to send the message that “we absolutely need to act immediately.”

Ireland’s PM condemns anti-immigrant protesters

LONDON — Ireland’s prime minister on Friday condemned anti-immigrant protesters who rampaged through central Dublin after three young children were stabbed, saying the rioters simply wanted to cause chaos, not protect the country’s way of life.

Canada, EU agree to new partnerships

ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland — Canada and the European Union said Friday they are making strides toward new partnerships on green energy, digital transformation and research funding, as a Canada-EU Summit got underway in the Atlantic coast province of Newfoundland.

Israeli military forces have entered Gaza hospital

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — The Israeli military entered Gaza’s largest hospital early Wednesday, conducting what it called a “precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area” of the facility, which has been the site of a standoff with the militant group.

EU struggling to produce ammunition for Ukraine

BRUSSELS — European Union nations acknowledged Tuesday that they may be on the way to failing Ukraine on their promise of providing the ammunition the country dearly needs to stave off Russia’s invasion and to win back occupied territory.

Iceland evacuates town, volcano may erupt

LONDON — Residents of a fishing town in southwestern Iceland left their homes Saturday after increasing concern about a potential volcanic eruption caused civil defense authorities to declare a state of emergency in the region.

Civilians flee north Gaza as Israel, Hamas battle

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — Crowds of Palestinian families stretching as far as the eye could see walked out of Gaza City and surrounding areas toward the south Thursday to escape Israeli airstrikes and ground troops battling Hamas militants in dense urban neighborhoods. Others joined tens of thousands taking shelter at the city’s biggest hospital, not far from the fighting.

Pressure rises on Israel to pause fighting, ease siege

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — Israeli troops battling Hamas militants encircled Gaza City on Thursday, the military said, as the Palestinian death toll rose above 9,000. U.S. and Arab leaders raised pressure on Israel to ease its siege of Gaza and at least briefly halt its attacks in order to aid civilians.

Russian artillery keeps on battering Kherson region

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian shelling killed an 81-year-old woman in the yard of her home and a 60-year-old man in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region Thursday, local authorities said. The deaths were the latest civilian casualties in Moscow’s recent ramped-up bombardment of the front-line area.

Storm Ciarán’s record wind whips western Europe

PARIS — Record-breaking winds in France and across much of western Europe left at least seven people dead and injured others as Storm Ciarán swept through the continent Thursday. The storm devastated homes, causing travel mayhem and cut power to a vast number of people.

Colombia to control invasive hippo population

BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia will try to control its population of more than 100 hippopotamuses, descendants of animals illegally brought to the country by late drug kingpin Pablo Escobar in the 1980s, through surgical sterilization, the transfer of hippos to other countries and possibly euthanasia, the government said Thursday.