The head of the World Health Organization lamented the U.S. decision to halt funding for the U.N. agency, promising a review of its decisions while sidestepping President Donald Trump's complaints about its alleged mismanagement, cover-up and missteps. Countries and health experts around the world expressed alarm at Trump's move and warned it could jeopardize efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was on the defensive after Trump announced a halt to U.S. funding that has totaled nearly a half-billion dollars annually in recent years. Trump claimed the WHO had parroted Chinese assurances about how the virus is spread, failed to obtain virus samples from China, and made a "disastrous decision" to oppose travel restrictions as the outbreak spread.

The death toll in Iran from the coronavirus pandemic is likely nearly double the officially reported figures, due to undercounting and because not everyone with breathing problems has been tested for the virus, a parliament report said. The report comes as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani continues to push for a slow reopening of the country's economy, which remains targeted by crushing U.S. sanctions.

Iranian health officials offered no comment on the report, which represents the highest-level charge yet from within the Islamic Republic's government of its figures being questionable, something long suspected by international experts. Iran put the death toll at 4,777, out of 76,389 confirmed cases of the virus - still making it the Mideast's worst outbreak by far.

There was a dramatic melting of Greenland's ice sheet in the summer of 2019, researchers have confirmed, in a study that reveals the loss was largely down to a persistent zone of high pressure over the region. The ice sheet melted at a near record rate in 2019, and much faster than the average of previous decades. Figures have suggested that in July alone surface ice declined by 197 gigatonnes - equivalent to about 80 million Olympic swimming pools.

Now experts have examined the level of melting in more detail, revealing what drove it. Crucially, the team note, the high pressure conditions lasted for 63 of the 92 summer days in 2019, compared with an average of just 28 days between 1981 and 2010. A similar situation was seen in 2012, a record bad year for melting of the ice sheet.

Israel's opposition leader, Benny Gantz, has failed to form a coalition government after talks with Benjamin Netanyahu stalled, pushing the country further towards an unprecedented fourth round of elections. Gantz had until midnight on April 15 to build a majority government and now loses the mandate given to him by the president, Reuven Rivlin. His failure does not automatically trigger fresh elections. Before that occurs, there will be a 21-day period in which the Knesset, Israel's parliament, can vote to nominate any candidate to be prime minister.

Netanyahu and Gantz may continue negotiations to join forces during that time, as together they could probably muster enough votes for a coalition. The pair have been discussing power-sharing options in which they would take it in turns to be prime minister over a four-year term.

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