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AP Top International News at 8:26 a.m. EDT

Iraq pushes into town near Mosul after IS assault on Kirkuk
BARTELLA, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi forces pushed into a town near the Islamic State-held city of Mosul on Saturday after a wave of militant attacks in and around the northern city of Kirkuk set off more than 24 hours of heavy clashes, with ongoing skirmishes in some areas....

Pentagon chief in Iraq to see commanders, assess Mosul fight
BAGHDAD (AP) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Iraq on Saturday to meet with his commanders and assess the progress in the opening days of the operation to retake the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants....

In Aleppo, jewel of Syrian rebellion faces possible collapse
BEIRUT (AP) -- The Aleppo that Ibrahim al-Haj's son Laith was born into 10 months ago is now being destroyed....

Iraqi advances give hope to displaced Christians
IRBIL, Iraq (AP) -- Raeda Paulos could hardly conceal her joy when the television inside her cramped trailer showed Iraqi forces raising the national flag over a church in her hometown, a day after it was freed from Islamic State rule....

Report: Syrian government blamed for 3rd chemical attack
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- An international team has determined that the Syrian government carried out a third chemical attack in the conflict-wracked nation, according to a report released late Friday....

Nobel academy member calls Bob Dylan's silence 'arrogant'
STOCKHOLM (AP) -- A member of the Swedish Academy that awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature to Bob Dylan says the U.S. singer-songwriter's silence since receiving the honor is "impolite and arrogant."...

The Latest: Snipers kill 2nd journalist in Iraq in 2 days
BAGHDAD (AP) -- The Latest on developments in Iraq where Iraqi forces and their allies launched a major offensive this week to retake Mosul, the country's second-largest city from the Islamic State group (all times local):...

Kremlin: demands for Assad's departure "thoughtless"
MOSCOW (AP) -- The entire territory of Syria must be "liberated," Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said in remarks televised Saturday, dismissing demands for Syrian President Bashar Assad's departure as "thoughtless."...

Venezuela braces for turbulence after recall is stalled
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuela is bracing for turbulence after the socialist government blocked a presidential recall referendum in a move opposition leaders are calling a coup....

Officials: Taliban brief Pakistan about talks with Kabul
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Three senior Taliban members traveled to Pakistan this week and held a series of meetings with Pakistani officials in Islamabad, mainly to brief them about the recent talks held in Qatar between the Taliban and Kabul, a senior Taliban official, an Afghan diplomat and a Pakistani official said Saturday....

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Up to the Minute
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The Latest: UN concerned by return of Syrians to Turkey

Latin America/Caribbean
Venezuela braces for turbulence after recall is stalled

Middle East
The Latest: Snipers kill 2nd journalist in Iraq in 2 days

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