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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.

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.

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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.

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 and sent shoppers scattering inside surrounding buildings during a standoff with police. 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 his long wait to take action at the police department has stirred deep skepticism among those protesting the teen's death. Many activists are especially incensed by the fact that the video 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.

Bush spends millions on TV but has yet to rise in GOP race
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Jeb Bush and his allies are spending circles around his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. Yet for all the money they've invested - $26 million on television ads alone - they've yet to see a substantial return. Having fallen from summer front-runner to autumn afterthought, the former Florida governor made deep spending cuts to his campaign operation in October. But he and his backers plowed ahead with a television blitz three times the size of anyone else's, while putting a new strategic focus on New Hampshire. Some Bush allies suggested those efforts had to pay off with improved numbers in preference polls in November.

Voters wonder if Cruz can heal Washington's bitter divisions
CLINTON, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Republican Sharon Gilbert thinks her party veered off course in the past two presidential elections by nominating candidates who were too moderate. This time around, the 73-year-old Gilbert wants to send a staunch conservative into the general election, and she thinks Texas Sen. Ted Cruz might be that candidate. But she also has a nagging feeling that Cruz's hard-line views and combative style might keep him from getting anything done in Washington, a city where he's frustrated his own party's congressional leaders as much as - if not more than - the Democrats. "I know he's very far to the right, but I hope that he could work with both sides," says Gilbert, who attended a town hall event with Cruz in her hometown of Clinton.

Facebook CEO, now a father, will give away most of his money
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Talk about birth announcements: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife say they'll devote nearly all their wealth - roughly $45 billion - to solving the world's problems in celebration of their new baby daughter, Max. Zuckerberg's wife, Priscilla Chan, gave birth to a 7-pound, 8-ounce daughter last week. But the couple didn't put out the news until Tuesday, when Zuckerberg posted it on Facebook, of course. In the same post, Zuckerberg said he and Chan will, over time, commit 99 percent of their Facebook stockholdings to such causes as fighting disease, improving education and "building strong communities." The couple had previously pledged to give away at least half their assets during their lifetime, but hadn't provided specifics.