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AP Top News at 12:04 a.m. EST

Obama says parts of climate deal must be legally binding
LE BOURGET, France (AP) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that parts of the global warming deal being negotiated in Paris should be legally binding on the countries that sign on, setting up a potential fight with Republicans at home. Obama's stand won praise at the U.N. climate conference from those who want a strong agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas. But it could rile conservatives in Washington, especially if he tries to put the deal into effect without seeking congressional approval. The Obama administration has pledged during the international talks to reduce U.S.

US sending new special ops force to fight Islamic State
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. military will deploy a new special operations force to Iraq to step up the fight against Islamic State militants who are unleashing violence and are determined to hold territory they have seized in Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress on Tuesday. The introduction of the assault force puts U.S. combat troops on the ground in a more permanent role in Iraq and Syria for the first time in the year-plus fight against IS. It comes as Republicans have called for more U.S. boots on the ground, while war-weary Americans stand divided about the prospect of greater military involvement.

10 Things to Know for Wednesday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday: 1. MAYOR DISMISSES CHICAGO'S POLICE CHIEF He says the public's trust in the department has eroded since the release of a video showing a white officer shooting a black teenager 16 times. 2. WHO'S TAKING SLAP AT OBAMA As the president pushes a climate deal in Paris, the GOP-led House tries to stop carbon limits the administration wants to impose on power plants in the U.S. 3. US MILITARY DEPLOYING NEW SPECIAL OPS FORCE TO IRAQ The move puts American combat troops on the ground in a more permanent role in Iraq and Syria for the first time in the fight against the IS militants.

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For gays under IS rule, isolation and fear of a cruel death
REYHANLI, Turkey (AP) - Before a crowd of men on a street in the Syrian city of Palmyra, the masked Islamic State group judge read out the sentence against the two men convicted of homosexuality: They would be thrown to their deaths from the roof of the nearby Wael Hotel. He asked one of the men if he was satisfied with the sentence. Death, the judge told him, would help cleanse him of his sin. "I'd prefer it if you shoot me in the head," 32-year-old Hawas Mallah replied helplessly. The second man, 21-year-old Mohammed Salameh, pleaded for a chance to repent, promising never to have sex with a man again, according to a witness among the onlookers that sunny July morning who gave The Associated Press a rare first-hand account.

Iraqi forces surround Ramadi, but it could be a long siege
BAGHDAD (AP) - After months of sluggish progress, stalled advances and outright failures, Iraqi troops and militias backed by U.S.-led airstrikes have surrounded the key city of Ramadi and appear poised to launch a new attempt to wrest it from the Islamic State group. The battle that is shaping up threatens to turn into a drawn-out siege, with thousands of residents caught in the middle as the forces try to wear down the militants since they took over the capital of western Anbar province in May. Western officials and analysts warned that the strategy of a methodical, slow siege could make the fight even more difficult.

Planned Parenthood shooting: Domestic terrorism? It's knotty
WASHINGTON (AP) - The man accused of killing three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic brought several guns, ammunition and propane tanks that officials say he assembled around a car. For hours, he holed up inside the clinic, unleashing a fusillade that wounded nine others, scattering post-Thanksgiving shoppers who scrambled to hide inside surrounding buildings until the standoff ended. To some in the community, the attack resembled an act of domestic terrorism, sparking a debate over what to call Robert Lewis Dear's rampage even before he was taken into custody. But the legal system may not resolve that question. Dear faces state charges of first-degree murder, and the federal criminal code has no specific, catchall charge for acts of domestic terrorism.

Chicago mayor fires police chief in wake of video release
CHICAGO (AP) - Rahm Emanuel sought for months to keep the public from seeing a video that shows a white police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times. Now, a week after the video's release, the Chicago mayor has fired the police superintendent, created a task force for police accountability and expanded the use of body cameras. But Emanuel's effort to keep the video secret and long wait to take action at the police department have stirred deep skepticism among those protesting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald's death. Many activists are especially incensed by the fact that the video of the October 2014 shooting first surfaced during a re-election campaign, when the mayor was seeking African-American votes.

Appalachia grasps for hope as coal jobs fade
WELCH, W.Va. (AP) - The seams of coal in some of Eddie Asbury's mines in McDowell County are so thin workers can barely squeeze down them. They enter on carts nearly flat on their backs, the roof of the mine coursing by just a few inches in front of their faces. They don't stand up all day. To keep his business operating with such a paltry amount of coal, Asbury has to do everything himself. He has no use for the shiny, multimillion-dollar mining machines on display this fall at the biannual coal show nearby. His equipment is secondhand stuff that he repairs and refurbishes. The coal he and his workers scrape out of the mountain is washed and prepared for sale in a plant Asbury and a colleague built themselves.

AP test: Rio Olympic water badly polluted, even far offshore
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Olympic sailor Erik Heil floated a novel idea to protect himself from the sewage-infested waters he and other athletes will compete in during next year's games: He'd wear plastic overalls and peel them off when he was safely past the contaminated waters nearest shore. Heil, 26, was treated at a Berlin hospital for MRSA, a flesh-eating bacteria, shortly after sailing in an Olympic test event in Rio in August. But his strategy to avoid a repeat infection won't limit his risk. A new round of testing by The Associated Press shows the city's Olympic waterways are as rife with pathogens far offshore as they are nearer land, where raw sewage flows into them from fetid rivers and storm drains.

Timeline of Rio Olympic water testing broken promises
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - A timeline of key moments since The Associated Press first reported on contamination of Rio de Janeiro's Olympic waterways: --- July 30 - The Associated Press publishes its first story based on data from five months of viral and bacterial testing of Rio's venues for Olympic water sports. The levels of disease-causing viruses were similar to those found in raw sewage. The medical director of the International Olympic Committee says in response that there are no plans to change venues and that the World Health Organization, which acts in an advisory role for the IOC, has reassured Olympic officials there is "no significant risk of athlete health." --- July 31 - The Rio de Janeiro state government and the state environmental agency blast the AP report as alarmist and say it is unfair to judge Rio's waters based on viral counts, limits of which are not designated in Brazilian legislation - or most nations.