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Airstrikes in Syria and Iraq are just the start
WASHINGTON (AP) - The one-two-three punch of American and Arab airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq was just the beginning, President Barack Obama and other leaders declared Tuesday. They promised a sustained campaign showcasing a rare U.S.-Arab partnership aimed at Muslim extremists. At the same time, in fresh evidence of how the terrorist threat continues to expand and mutate, the U.S. on its own struck a new al-Qaida cell that the Pentagon said was "nearing the execution phase" of a direct attack on the U.S. or Europe.


Airstrikes alone may not defeat Sunni militants
BAGHDAD (AP) - In their Syrian strongholds, extremists from the Islamic State group had been moving into civilian apartment buildings for cover days before the U.S. and its allies began pounding them before dawn Tuesday, activists say. It's just one sign of the difficulties in trying to destroy the group by relying mainly on airstrikes. Breaking the militants' hold over the cities they have captured in both Iraq and Syria will be complicated because the group can easily melt into the population. In the Iraqi city of Mosul, the extremists have enough support among the mainly Sunni Muslim population that they have reduced the presence of their fighters in the streets without apparent worry about their grip on power.


Obama scores coalition victory with Arab strikes
NEW YORK (AP) - For President Barack Obama, the participation of five Arab nations in airstrikes against militants in Syria marked an unexpected foreign policy victory as he plunges the U.S. deeper into a military conflict in the Middle East that he has reluctantly embraced. The U.S. announced the strikes hours before Obama arrived in New York for three days of talks with foreign leaders at the annual United Nations General Assembly. The cooperation by Arab partners provided a significant boost to Obama's efforts to build an international coalition to take on the Islamic State militants who have moved freely across the border between Iraq and Syria.


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Obama urges world to follow US lead on climate
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - In the first international test for his climate-change strategy, President Barack Obama pressed world leaders Tuesday to follow the United States' lead on the issue, even as a one-day United Nations summit revealed the many obstacles that still stand in the way of wider agreements to reduce heat-trapping pollution. "The United States has made ambitious investments in clean energy and ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions," Obama said. "Today I call on all countries to join us, not next year or the year after that, but right now. Because no nation can meet this global threat alone."


US: Ebola cases could hit 1.4 million by mid-Jan.
LONDON (AP) - New estimates by the World Health Organization and the U.S. health agency are warning that the number of Ebola cases could soar dramatically - the U.S. says up to 1.4 million by mid-January in two nations alone - unless efforts to curb the outbreak are significantly ramped up. Since the first cases were reported six months ago, the tally of cases in West Africa has reached an estimated 5,800 illnesses and over 2,800 deaths. But the U.N. health agency has warned that tallies of recorded cases and deaths are likely to be gross underestimates of the toll that the killer virus is wreaking on West Africa.


New jihad appeal makes policing even harder
PARIS (AP) - The Islamic State group's call on Muslims to go after the "filthy French" and other Westerners multiplies already deep security concerns in nations targeting the militant organization. The appeal made public Monday makes intelligence tracking of potential suspects virtually impossible and opens up Muslims in the West to the possibility of being unfairly put under suspicion or stigmatized.


Assad backs all efforts to fight terrorism
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - President Bashar Assad said Tuesday he supports any international effort against terrorism, apparently trying to position his government on the side of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria. Assad's remarks came hours after the opening salvo in what the United States has warned will be a lengthy campaign to defeat the extremists who have seized control of a huge swath of territory spanning the Syria-Iraq border. Damascus said the U.S. informed it beforehand that the strikes were coming.


Florida man admits to killing family in 911 call
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - With an edgy yet calm voice, Donald Spirit told a 911 dispatcher he had just killed his six grandchildren, including a baby, and would wait until authorities arrived before going to his back porch and killing himself. "Yes, ma'am. I just shot my daughter and shot all my grandkids. And I'll be sitting on my steps and when you get here I'm going to shoot myself," Spirit, 51, said in the 911 call released Tuesday.


Police: UPS gunman had been fired before shooting
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A man wearing his work uniform started shooting at his former colleagues inside a UPS sorting facility in Alabama a day after he was fired from the company, killing a supervisor and another employee before committing suicide, police said Tuesday. Neither the gunman nor his two victims have been named, and Lt. Sean Edwards said police were still trying to reach their families.


Rights of same-sex military spouses vary by state
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) - On the wall over her bunk in Kuwait, Marine Cpl. Nivia Huskey proudly displays a collection of sonogram printouts of the baby boy her pregnant spouse is carrying back home in North Carolina. If all goes as planned, the 28-year-old military policewoman will return to Camp Lejeune in time for a January delivery at an on-base hospital. But the space on the baby's birth certificate marked "Father" will be left blank.