Raised as Christians, they say their ancestors were Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain more than 500 years ago; they now practice Orthodox Judaism. Similar cases have turned up in other countries in recent years.
Starting in January, the French government will provide contraceptives for girls ages 15 to 18 — without charge and without parental notification. The measure, which passed parliament without debate, aims to reduce teen pregnancies by increasing access to birth control and education.
The Liberal Democratic Party won resoundingly Sunday in parliamentary elections that both Washington and Beijing were watching carefully. The conservative LDP's hawkish leader, Shinzo Abe, will become Japan's prime minister for the second time and has pledged to take a harder line on China.
Sunday's parliamentary election is taking place against a backdrop of increasing nationalist feeling in Japan. Right-wing sentiment has been growing in the face of an ongoing conflict with China over a group of disputed islands and continued economic and political instability inside Japan.
Despite more than a decade of international efforts to support women in Afghanistan, female entrepreneurs remain relatively rare. But one Afghan woman is trying to show the men a thing or two about making high-quality furniture in Afghanistan.
High-level diplomacy helped avert a disaster last month, in a dispute over the unpaid water bill of one of Christendom's holiest sites. The water company that supplies the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem said it owed $2.3 million. Eventually, the bill was waived — but the church now promises to pay going forward.
Westvleteren 12, a Belgian beer often called the best in the world, officially hits U.S. store shelves for the first time Wednesday. But fans of the beer may want to act quickly: The Trappist monks who brew it are only selling enough overseas to raise money to pay for a new roof and other renovations.
After months of revolt, Syria's health care system is collapsing, with half of the country's public hospitals destroyed. Yet Syrian doctors continue to treat patients. Now, a group of Syrian-American doctors is stepping in to help bring crucial supplies and training.
As its economy prospers, the country has gained an enviable reputation in its often-turbulent West African neighborhood. It's admired for being a relative oasis of stability and peace in the region — despite tensions in the build-up to the vote.
At one camp near the town of Atma, near the border with Turkey, some private aid is getting through, but it's not nearly enough. There's a shortage of tents, water and food — all amid falling temperatures.