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Iraq special forces chief says mission accomplished in east Mosul

By Isabel Coles BARTELLA, Iraq (Reuters) - Elite Iraqi forces have ousted Islamic State insurgents from all districts of eastern Mosul they were tasked with recapturing, their commanding officer said on Wednesday, bringing almost all of the city's eastern half back under government control. Lieutenant-General Talib Shaghati said the Counter Terrorism Services (CTS), who have spearheaded the three-month-old offensive against Islamic State (IS) in the northern Iraqi city, had taken the eastern bank of the Tigris river. Regular army troops were still fighting the ultra-hardline militants in northeast Mosul, however, according to a military statement.

UK Supreme Court says it will give Brexit trigger case ruling on Tuesday

Britain's Supreme Court will deliver its ruling next Tuesday on whether Prime Minister Theresa May can begin the process of leaving the European Union without parliament's assent. May has said she would trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, the formal means of exiting the bloc, by the end of March and that the government could act without needing lawmakers' approval.

China urges U.S. to bar Taiwan delegation from Trump inauguration

By Ben Blanchard and J.R. Wu BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) - The United States should not allow a delegation from Taiwan to attend U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, China's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, raising a new bone of contention in Beijing's relations with the incoming government. Trump broke with decades of precedent last month by taking a congratulatory telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, and he has also said the "One China" policy was up for negotiation, a position Beijing strongly rejected.

Istanbul nightclub attacker says was directed by Islamic State: report

By Humeyra Pamuk ISTANBUL (Reuters) - An Uzbek gunman who killed 39 people in Istanbul's Reina nightclub on New Year's Day told police he had changed his target at the last minute to avoid heavy security and acted on direct orders from Islamic State in Syria, a newspaper said on Wednesday. The gunman, named on Tuesday as Abdulgadir Masharipov, had initially been told to attack the area around the central Taksim square and said his instructions came from Raqqa, Islamic State's stronghold in Syria, the newspaper Hurriyet cited him as saying in police testimony. Masharipov was caught on Monday in Esenyurt, a suburb of Istanbul, along with an Iraqi man and three women from Africa, one of them from Egypt.

Three badly hurt in shooting at American college in northern Mexico

A student opened fire at an American school in northern Mexico on Wednesday, gravely injuring two students and a teacher, the state's security spokesman said, but there were no confirmed deaths. Aldo Fasci, security spokesman for the northern state of Nuevo Leon, said a student entered the school with a gun and opened fire.

Mali attack toll hits 47, including five suicide bombers

BAMAKO (Reuters) - At least 47 people including five suicide bombers were killed when a vehicle packed with explosives detonated inside a military camp in the northern Mali city of Gao on Wednesday, the government said. Army spokesman Diarran Kone said a further 115 people were wounded in the worst militant attack in years in the Saharan West African nation. (Reporting by Adama Diarra and Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Ed Cropley)

4 quakes shake Italy, isolating towns blanketed under snow

ROME (AP) ? Four strong earthquakes on Wednesday shook the same region of central Italy that suffered deadly temblors last year, sending quake-rattled residents into panic and further isolating towns that have been buried under more than a meter (3 feet) of snow for days.

Senegal asks UN to back ECOWAS action in Gambia

Senegal on Wednesday presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council seeking support for ECOWAS efforts to press Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh to step down, diplomats said. The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) has repeatedly called on Jammeh to respect the result of the December 1 election and step down after 22 years in power.

Israel expands missile defense system with new interceptor

JERUSALEM (AP) ? Israel says it has expanded a missile defense system with the addition of longer range, more precise interception capabilities.

Gunfire erupts at Mexican private school, 3 wounded

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) ? State officials said a student opened fire with a gun at a private school in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey on Wednesday, seriously wounding himself, a teacher and another student.

German AfD rightist triggers fury over Holocaust memorial comments

By Madeline Chambers BERLIN (Reuters) - A senior member of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) said on Wednesday that media had misrepresented comments he made about Berlin's Holocaust memorial and the need to rewrite history books to focus more on German victims. A speech by Bjoern Hoecke, the AfD's leader in the eastern state of Thuringia on Tuesday triggered anger across Germany and even caused one member of the radical Left party to report Hoecke for incitement. The AfD's anti-immigrant rhetoric has won support among Germans worried about the influx of more than a million migrants in the last two years.

Zimbabwe pastor in court over Mugabe death prophecy

A Zimbabwean activist pastor appeared in court on Wednesday after police arrested him for predicting that President Robert Mugabe would die in October this year. Patrick Mugadza, a preacher in the tourist resort town of Victoria Falls, told journalists last week that he had received a prophecy from God that Mugabe would die on Oct. 17. Mugadza was arrested on Monday after appearing at the magistrate court on a separate charge of abusing the national flag.

Israel army gets new ballistic missile interceptors

The Israeli army on Wednesday received new ballistic missile interceptors that significantly upgrade the Jewish state's aerial defence systems in the face of "emerging threats", the defence ministry said. The Arrow 3 interceptor, designed to shoot down missiles above the atmosphere, was handed to air force bases in Israel after successful testing by Israel and the United States at the end of 2015. A defence ministry statement said Israel and the US were dedicated to the continued development and enhancement of ballistic missile defence systems as "threats continue to grow and new emerging threats surface".

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