Pope Francis Announces First Trip to Holy Land

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_324bc9e9bc.jpgFranco Origlia/Getty Images (ROME) -- The Pope has formally announced his first trip to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. From May 24 to May 26, Pope Francis will visit Amman, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem, where he'll celebrate mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The last visit by a Pope to the holy land was Pope Benedict in 2009.

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U.S. Coast Guard to Send Ship to Help Vessels Stuck in Antarctic Ice

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_5edf672e76.jpgAndrew Peacock/AFP/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Coast Guard is sending a ship to assist with the extraction of a pair of ships that have been stuck in the Antarctic ice. The Akademik Shokalskiy, a Russian research vessel, got stuck in the ice on Christmas Eve. The ship was carrying 74 scientists, tourists and crew.


State Dept. 'Concerned' Amid Reports Al-Qaeda Gaining Control in Iraq

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_f59f8afce5.jpgiStockphoto/Thinkstock (FALLUJAH, Iraq) -- Following reports on Thursday that groups linked to al-Qaeda had been gaining control of cities in western Iraq, the U.S. State Department issued a statement expressing their concern. The State Department says it is "concerned" by the efforts of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant -- a group tied to al-Qaeda -- to gain power in Iraq as well as Syria.


Italian Navy Rescues over 1,000 Migrants at Sea

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_f69b43778a.jpgiStock/Thinkstock (ROME) -- Navy ships and helicopters rescued more than 1,000 migrants from boats off the coast of Italy after asylum seekers attempted to cross from North Africa to Europe. The migrants, from areas including Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia, were packed in overcrowded vessels passing across the Mediterranean. Hundreds attempt to make the dangerous trip across rough waters to flee ongoing violence in their home countries.


Chinese Icebreaker Trapped After Helping in Antarctic Rescue

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_062f6a8bcb.jpgaxily/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- The 52 passengers rescued from an icebound ship in Antarctica might now become the rescuers. The Chinese ship that sent a helicopter to rescue the passengers on board the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy is now stuck in Antarctic ice and might need a rescue of its own, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. An Australian icebreaker carrying the 52 passengers is waiting in open water to see if it has to go back to help the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon.