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Iraqi army's elite force pauses advance near Mosul

By Stephen Kalin and Maher Chmaytelli EAST OF MOSUL/BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - An elite unit of the Iraqi army paused its week-long advance on Mosul as it approached the city's eastern edge on Tuesday, waiting for other U.S.-backed forces to close in on Islamic State's last major urban stronghold in Iraq. On the ninth day of the offensive on Mosul, government forces and allied Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are still fighting their way towards the outer limits of the northern city, in the early stages of an assault which could become the biggest military operation in Iraq in over a decade. The first force to get near to Mosul, advancing to within two kilometers (just over a mile) of Iraq's second largest city, was the elite U.S.-trained Counter Terrorism Service (CTS).

Philippines Duterte tells U.S. to forget about defense deal 'if I stay longer'

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte hit out at the United States on Tuesday, saying he did not start a fight with Washington and it could forget about a military agreement between both countries if he were to be in power longer. Duterte said he was against the presence of any foreign troops in his country and the United States could "forget" an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the Philippines, if he stayed longer, without elaborating. The United States, he said, should not treat the Philippines "like a dog with a leash", adding to confusion about the future the longtime allies' ties.

Workers wield sledgehammers to tear down Calais "Jungle"

By Matthias Blamont CALAIS, France (Reuters) - French workers began demolishing the "Jungle" shanty town in Calais on Tuesday, wielding sledgehammers to tear down makeshift dwellings as their former residents - migrants seeking entry to Britain - were moved out. Police equipped with water cannon stood guard over the demolition, while hundreds of migrants - some of whom have lived in the scrubland on the northern French coast for months or years - waited for buses to take them for resettlement across France. "The migrants have known for a long time this was going to happen," the Calais region's prefect, Fabienne Buccio, told Reuters after arriving at the camp escorted by between 150 and 200 riot police.

Russia says it extends moratorium on Aleppo air strikes

By Andrew Osborn and Lisa Barrington MOSCOW/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Russia said on Tuesday it would extend a moratorium on air strikes on Syria's Aleppo into a ninth day, but a monitor and a civil defense official said that rebel-held parts of the divided city had been struck in recent days. Defence ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said Russian and Syrian planes had not even approached, let alone bombed, the devastated city since last Tuesday when Russia suspended air strikes ahead of a pause in hostilities. Rudskoi said that meant planes from Syria and Russia, which has been Damascus's most powerful ally in its six-year-old civil war, would continue to stay out of a 10-km (six-mile) zone around Aleppo.

Islamic State claims attack on Pakistan police academy, 59 dead

By Gul Yusufzai QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - Militant group Islamic State said on Tuesday that fighters loyal to its movement attacked a police training college in Quetta in southwest Pakistan in a raid that officials said killed 59 people and wounded more than 100. Pakistani authorities have blamed another militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), for the late-Monday siege, though the Islamic State claim included photographs of three alleged attackers.

Venezuelan legislature launches trial against Maduro

By Andrew Cawthorne and Eyanir Chinea CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly voted on Tuesday to open a political trial against President Nicolas Maduro for violating democracy, but the socialist government dismissed the move as meaningless. The OPEC member nation's political standoff has worsened since last week's suspension of an opposition push to hold a referendum to try to recall Maduro, 53. With that avenue closed, the opposition coalition has raised the stakes, using its power base in congress to begin legal action against Hugo Chavez's unpopular successor.

Forensic police examine Australian theme park ride that killed four

By Tom Westbrook and Jane Wardell SYDNEY (Reuters) - Forensic police were examining a river rapids ride at Australia's biggest theme park on Wednesday after four people were killed when it apparently malfunctioned, throwing two people off and trapping the other two inside. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those whose lives were lost in this terrible accident," Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio on Wednesday.

White House weighing whether greenhouse gas deal needs Senate approval

By Roberta Rampton LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Obama administration is evaluating whether an international agreement reached earlier this month to cut back on greenhouse gases used in refrigerators and air conditioners will need approval by the U.S. Senate, the White House said on Tuesday. Nearly 200 countries, including the United States and China, signed on to a deal in Kigali, Rwanda that would reduce the use of factory-made hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gases. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it is unclear whether the accord, which is an amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, would need to be ratified by the U.S. Senate.

Guilty verdict in 2011 Elko County murder; nabbed in Mexico

ELKO, Nev. (AP) ? A 34-year-old man accused of killing his estranged wife in Nevada and fleeing to Mexico more than five years ago has been convicted of murder in Elko County.

Economic gender parity nearly two centuries off, WEF finds

By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi ZURICH (Reuters) - Progress in closing the global workplace gender gap is slowing dramatically, according to a World Economic Forum study, with a notable exception in Rwanda, a country still emerging from the aftermath of genocide that has become the world's leader on equal pay. "Progress towards parity in the key economic pillar has slowed dramatically with the gap now larger than at any point since 2008," WEF said when releasing its 2016 Global Gender Report on Wednesday. While high-income countries showed the narrowest gender gaps, low-income countries on average performed just as well as their upper-middle-income peers.

Maduro, opponents trade 'coup' charges in Venezuela crisis

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused the opposition-majority legislature Tuesday of staging a "parliamentary coup" after lawmakers voted to put him on trial amid a tense political and economic crisis. Accused by the legislature of "abandoning his post" and "criminal and political responsibility" for Venezuela's descent into crisis, Maduro fired back by calling a meeting of his National Defense Council on Wednesday -- the same day the opposition plans massive anti-government protests. Lawmakers earlier voted to open a "political and criminal trial" against Maduro over what they themselves have declared a coup: authorities' decision last week to halt their efforts to call a referendum on removing the leftist leader from power.

Sturridge, Oxlade-Chamberlain seize League Cup opportunities

LONDON (AP) ? While the English League Cup lacks prestige, it still provides a platform in the early rounds for out-of-favor players or those lacking in confidence to make an impact. Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge and Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did just that on Tuesday.

Mexico's president: he doesn't think "how to screw Mexico"

MEXICO CITY (AP) ? Mexico's increasingly frank, embattled president launched a campaign to get people to talk positively about Mexico.

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