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. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter meanwhile arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit to meet with Iraqi commanders to discuss the offensive to retake Mosul, which the U.S. is supporting with airstrikes and advisers on the ground. The Iraqi army said the 9th Division has pushed into the town of Hamdaniyah, also known as Qaraqosh and Bakhdida, and raised the flag over its central government compound, but the troops were likely still facing resistance in and around the town.
Iraqi leader resists US push for Turkish role in Mosul fight BAGHDAD (AP) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter's push for Iraq to let Turkey play a role in the battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group encountered stiff resistance Saturday from Iraq's prime's minister, who said his country's forces will oust the militants from the northern city. "I know that the Turks want to participate, we tell them thank you, this is something the Iraqis will handle and the Iraqis will liberate Mosul and the rest of the territories," Haider al-Abadi said through a translator after meeting with the Pentagon chief. Iraqi, Kurdish and other local forces will handle the battle for Mosul, al-Abadi said.
Race in GOP-friendly Missouri could determine Senate control KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The clamor for change fueling Donald Trump's Republican presidential campaign may help a little-known Democrat upset a powerful GOP senator in red-state Missouri on Election Day. And with just a handful of competitive races around the country, the outcome in Missouri could help determine control of the Senate. The contest between Missouri's secretary of state, Democrat Jason Kander, and Sen. Roy Blunt did not start out high on either party's list of competitive Senate races in a state Trump is likely to win. But Kander, a 35-year-old veteran, has proved to be a smart and aggressive campaigner.
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Clinton TV ad hits Trump hard; he promises an all-out effort CLEVELAND (AP) - While Hillary Clinton unveiled an emotional television ad featuring the parents of a slain Muslim American Army captain, Donald Trump assured supporters he would have no regrets if he loses the presidential election because he was going all out in the final weeks of the campaign. "I will be happy with myself," Trump said. Trump planned to lay out his closing arguments for support with a speech Saturday in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, focusing on the priorities for the first 100 days of his presidency. Clinton had two events of her own in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. With early voting underway in several states, data compiled by The Associated Press showed that Clinton appeared to be displaying strength in the crucial battleground states of North Carolina and Florida and may also be building an early vote advantage in Arizona and Colorado.
Clinton campaign ponders 'what if' Trump doesn't concede WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - Hillary Clinton's campaign is increasingly preparing for the possibility that Donald Trump may never concede the presidential election should she win, a development that could enormously complicate the crucial early weeks of her preparations to take office. Aiming to undermine any argument the Republican nominee may make about a "rigged" election, she hopes to roll up a large electoral vote margin in next month's election. That could repudiate the New York billionaire's message and project a governing mandate after the bitter, divisive presidential race. Clinton's team is also keeping a close eye on statements by national Republican leaders, predicting they could play an important role in how Trump's accusations of electoral fraud might be perceived.
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. The opposition-held districts of the Syrian city have been surrounded and under siege for months. Russian and Syrian warplanes are bombing the streets into rubble and government forces are chipping away at the pocket of opposition control. For the 270,000 people holding out there, everything is getting harder to find - food, drinkable water and fuel. Residents are planting vegetables in bomb craters and digging wells. Al-Haj and his wife increasingly argue over what to do for Laith's future. And there's a more immediate issue: What to feed him.
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. In August, the team from the United Nations and the chemical weapons watchdog blamed President Bashar Assad's government for using chlorine gas in two attacks and Islamic State fighters for using mustard gas in one attack. The team said at that time that three other attacks indicated possible government involvement. In a report sent to the U.N. Security Council late Friday and seen by The Associated Press, the team said there was "sufficient evidence" to conclude that Syrian forces were responsible for one of the attacks in Qmenas in Idlib governorate on March 16, 2015.
Clinton campaign: No health issues after mailed powder found NEW YORK (AP) - The Hillary Clinton campaign says four people have been examined by medical personnel after a white powdery substance arrived at a New York campaign office and they have reported no health issues. Campaign spokesman Glen Caplin said federal and local officials determined the substance was non-hazardous; he provided no further details Saturday. Police say preliminary tests showed the substance found Friday in an envelope at Clinton's Manhattan office, where mail is received, was not harmful. A police spokesman declined to identify what the substance was. The envelope arrived around 5:30 p.m. Friday. It was taken to Clinton's Brooklyn headquarters and the 11th floor there was evacuated.
Cyberattacks on key internet firm disrupt internet services Withering cyberattacks on server farms of a key internet firm repeatedly disrupted access to major websites and online services including Twitter, Netflix and PayPal across the United States on Friday. The White House called the disruption malicious and a hacker group claimed responsibility, though its assertion couldn't be verified. Manchester, New Hampshire-based Dyn Inc. said its data centers were hit by three waves of distributed denial-of-service attacks, which overwhelm targeted machines with junk data traffic. The attacks, shifting geographically, had knock-on effects for users trying to access popular websites across the U.S. even in Europe. "The complexity of the attacks is what is making it so difficult for us," said Kyle York, the company's chief strategy officer.
Charles Barkley has something to say about race in America NEW YORK (AP) - Charles Barkley calls it friendly fire. When he talks about racial issues, it isn't only whites he risks angering. Some of the biggest complaints come from fellow blacks, who figure he's too rich, too successful to possibly understand their struggles. "Like, those people say he's not black anymore, he shouldn't speak on black issues," Barkley said. "I'm like, 'Dude, I'm always going to be black,' but that's a double-edged sword I'm willing to deal with." So not only will he keep talking, he wants to lead the conversation. The basketball Hall of Famer and TNT analyst will debut "The Race Card" on the network in 2017, a show that won't just be about black and white, because Barkley believes America's problems are more about rich versus poor.