Iraqi forces evacuate 1,000 civilians from Mosul front lines KHAZER, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi special forces have moved more than 1,000 people from villages near the front lines of the battle to retake the Islamic State-held city of Mosul and surrounding areas, where the U.N. says militants have committed a number of atrocities in recent days, officials said Wednesday. Special forces Maj. Gen. Haider Fadhil said residents of Tob Zawa and other villages were taken to a camp in the nearby Khazer region for their safety. The International Organization for Migration says at least 8,940 people have been displaced since the operation to retake Mosul began on Oct. 17.
Trump touts hotel as Pence heads to Utah in waning days ASHLAND, Ohio (AP) - Donald Trump is taking a break from campaigning Wednesday to formally open his new hotel in Washington, while dispatching his running mate to play political defense in Utah - which hasn't backed a Democrat for president in 52 years. The odd travel schedule a dozen days before the Nov. 8 election illustrates a Republican ticket pulled in two directions while Democrat Hillary Clinton surges. Trump's priority Wednesday is clear: His personal brand and business, while Indiana Gov. Mike Pence tries to boost the ticket where no Republican should have to. "I don't really believe the polls, but this looks like a tight race," said Trump supporter Susan Donaldson, 55, who worried at a Tuesday afternoon rally in Sanford, Florida, that the GOP nominee may be spreading himself too thin.
The Trump-Clinton Twitter war: Bludgeon vs. stiletto NEW YORK (AP) - Back in June, when Donald Trump slammed President Barack Obama's endorsement of Hillary Clinton on Twitter, the Democrat's campaign was quick to tweet back a chilly three-word response: "Delete your account ." It was a telling exchange, and not just because it set the stage for what has become the country's first nationwide Twitter election. It also highlighted the striking, and very different, ways both presidential hopefuls have used the service to hone their messages, hurl accusations at one another and speak directly to voters - in effect, bypassing traditional media while also relying on it to amplify their retorts.
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Pakistan city shuts down, mourns 61 killed at police academy QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan's city of Quetta was completely shut down Wednesday following a militant rampage at a police academy the day before while families buried 60 police cadets and an army officer killed in the attack - one of the deadliest targeting Pakistani security forces in recent years. The brazen assault in which unarmed cadets and police trainees - many of whom were asleep in their dorms when the attack started - jumped from windows and rooftops, fleeing for their lives, saw troops battle the attackers for four hours before the siege was over. The academy houses about 700 cadets, nearly all in their early 20s.
Venezuela braces for anti-government protests amid crisis CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's standoff deepened after congress voted to open a political trial against President Nicolas Maduro for breaking the constitutional order and opposition leaders called for mass protests on Wednesday to drive the unpopular socialist leader from office. Tuesday's vote by the opposition-led legislature is unlikely to have any legal effect as Maduro still controls other branches of government, including the military and Supreme Court, which has already declared the National Assembly illegitimate. But it raised tensions even further following last week's suspension of an opposition push to hold a referendum to try to recall Maduro. Opposition legislators argued that Venezuela's leader has effectively abandoned the presidency by neglecting his job and several lawmakers questioned whether he was a dual Colombian national and therefore ineligible to hold Venezuela's highest office.
Lawsuit challenges Denver's sweeps of the homeless DENVER (AP) - When Jerry Burton's sleeping bag and tent were removed by city workers from his campsite near a rapidly developing area close to downtown Denver, he was able to start over again with backup gear he keeps hidden for emergencies - whether his or someone else's. Now he's one of nine homeless people suing in federal court to try to stop the city's sweeps of homeless encampments and, as he sees it, restore the dignity and respect of people who can't find a home of their own in a growing city. Burton, a former Marine who has had trouble finding housing despite veterans' rental assistance, compared the city's seizures of the homeless' property with someone walking into a home and taking a television.
Hobbit-fueled tourism New Zealand's top foreign-cash source WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - In New Zealand there are twice as many cows as people, but it's the hobbits that are really making hay. According to figures released Wednesday, tourism has overtaken dairy as the nation's top earner of overseas dollars. And tourism officials say the success of the fantasy movie trilogy "The Hobbit" has helped. The dairy industry is struggling to recover from a slump in prices, while a record 3.4 million visitors arrived in New Zealand in the year ending September. The Pacific nation is particularly popular among tourists from Australia, China and the U.S. Spending by international tourists was up by 20 percent in the year ending March when compared with the previous year, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Justin Timberlake's ballot selfie highlights mixed laws Now even Justin Timberlake has been forced to deal with the question of whether a ballot selfie is legal. Timberlake flew from California to Tennessee to vote early this week, but his posting of an image of himself at the voting booth on Instagram on Monday drew questions about whether he was breaking the law. A Tennessee law that took effect earlier this year bars voters from taking photographs or video while they're inside a polling location. While secrecy in the voting booth has become a thing of the past for those ready to share their views and daily lives on social media, laws nationwide are mixed on whether voters are allowed to take pictures of themselves voting and their ballots.
Oregon weighs whether all kids should get outdoor education MOUNT HOOD NATIONAL FOREST, Ore. (AP) - Each year, thousands of Oregon parents hug their kids goodbye and send them tramping into the wilderness for up to a week to learn about their state's natural wonders. The Outdoor School program was groundbreaking when it started more than a half-century ago. Since then, more than 1 million children have enjoyed - or endured - this rite of passage at campsites scattered from Oregon's stormy coast to its towering evergreen forests to its rugged high desert. At the program's heyday, 90 percent of sixth-graders spent the week testing water samples, studying fungi and digging through topsoil.
Kluber, Perez, Indians beat Cubs 6-0 in World Series opener CLEVELAND (AP) - Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians are off to a pitch-perfect start in the World Series. The Chicago Cubs, meanwhile, fell completely flat in their first appearance since 1945. Kluber dominated into the seventh inning, Roberto Perez had four RBIs with a pair of home runs and the Indians beat the Cubs 6-0 in Tuesday night's opener of a highly anticipated matchup between the teams with baseball's longest championship droughts. "It's almost like you have that extra level of intensity," said Kluber, who became the first Series pitcher to strike out eight batters in the first three innings.