After Obama's green light, Afghan forces on the offensive KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - After two years of heavy casualties, the Afghan military is trying to retake the initiative in the war against militants with a new offensive against Islamic State group loyalists, an assault that will see American troops back on the battlefield working more closely with Afghan soldiers. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently announced a major assault against fighters loyal to the Islamic State group, who over the past year captured positions along Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan, mainly in Nangarhar province. That goal to uproot IS from Afghanistan has taken on new urgency in the wake of a deadly suicide bombing of a protest march Saturday in Kabul that killed at least 80 people.
Afghanistan marks day of national mourning after huge attack KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan marked a national day of mourning on Sunday, a day after at least 80 people were killed by a suicide bomber attack on a peaceful demonstration. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group. Funerals were due to begin quietly in western Kabul as families collected their dead from hospitals and morgues across the capital, and graves were dug in preparation. Authorities say another 231 people were wounded, some seriously, in the attack Saturday afternoon on a march by members of the ethnic Hazara community, who are predominantly Shiite Muslim. Most Afghans are Sunni, and the IS group regards Shiites as apostates.
Trump: France, others hit by terror may face more screening WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is asserting that countries like France that he says are compromised by terrorism may be subjected to the "extreme vetting" he proposes as a deterrent to attacks in the U.S. When asked if his proposal might lead to a point when not a lot of people from overseas are allowed into the U.S., Trump said, "Maybe we get to that point" and added: "We have to be smart and we have to be vigilant and we have to be strong." In an interview to air Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Trump also rejected suggestions that his stance on requiring NATO members to pay their share was a mistake; defended Fox News founder Roger Ailes, who left the network amid accusations of sexual harassment; criticized rival Hillary Clinton's newly named running mate, Sen.
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Clinton says veep pick Kaine is everything GOP ticket isn't MIAMI (AP) - Hillary Clinton debuted running mate Sen. Tim Kaine on Saturday as a can-do progressive committed to social justice and equality - "everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not" - at a boisterous rally ahead of next week's Democratic National Convention. "He is qualified to step into this job and lead from Day One. And he is a progressive who likes to get things done," Clinton declared at Florida International University. Kaine, a bilingual former Virginia governor, detailed his life in public service. "I like to fight for right," he said. And, as Clinton smiled broadly at her choice for vice president, Kaine greeted the largely Hispanic audience in Spanish.
DNC rules meeting agrees to a compromise on superdelegates PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The role of superdelegates could be significantly reduced in future Democratic presidential primaries under a compromise deal struck at the Democratic National Convention rules committee Saturday. Efforts by Bernie Sanders supporters to pass amendments eliminating or limiting the power of superdelegates failed to win approval at the committee meeting in Philadelphia. But campaigns for Sanders and Hillary Clinton worked out an agreement to create a "unity commission" to revise the nominating process, including changing superdelegate rules, which won near-unanimous support. The 21-member commission will study a number of issues, including how to improve access to caucuses and how to broaden the party's appeal.
Decision time: IOC poised to rule on Russia's status for Rio LONDON (AP) - As the clock ticks down to the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, international Olympic leaders are facing a seminal moment. With the credibility of the fight against doping on the line and the image of the Olympic movement at stake, the IOC will hold a crucial meeting Sunday to consider whether to ban Russia entirely from the Rio Games because of systematic, state-sponsored cheating. Short of a blanket ban, the International Olympic Committee could leave it to individual sports federations to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to allow Russian athletes in their events. The doping crisis represents one of the Olympic movement's biggest challenges since the boycott era of the 1980s, and how it plays out may well define Thomas Bach's IOC presidency.
Burned body found as wildfire burns near Los Angeles LOS ANGELES (AP) - A burned body was found Saturday at the scene of a brushfire north of Los Angeles that has scorched 31 square miles and prompted the evacuation of 1,500 homes, authorities said. The body was discovered outside a home on Iron Canyon Road in Santa Clarita, and detectives are trying to determine whether the person was killed by the blaze or another cause, Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Rob Hahnlein said. The home also may have burned, he said. The area was one of several neighborhoods ordered evacuated as the fire raged through bone-dry canyons and ranchlands. The fire burned through the area Saturday evening.
Francis and Poland differ on migrants ahead of pope's visit VATICAN CITY (AP) - Support for migrants is so central to Pope Francis' vision for the church that he has made welcoming them a potential test for those seeking entry to Heaven on Judgment Day. The pontiff's advocacy for refugee rights faces a diplomatic test Wednesday when he begins a five-day visit to Poland, where a populist government has slammed the door on most asylum-seekers. Francis is scheduled to meet Polish President Andrzej Duda in Krakow's millennium-old castle atop Wawel Hill where, in the neighboring cathedral, Polish national heroes for centuries have been laid to rest. He then will hold a question-and-answer session with Poland's bishops behind closed doors.
AP EXPLAINS: For 69 years, Kashmir is torn by deadly strife SRINAGAR, India (AP) - When news spread that Indian troops had killed 22-year-old Burhan Wani, a charismatic commander of Indian-controlled Kashmir's biggest rebel group on July 8, the public response was spontaneous and massive. Tens of thousands of angry youths poured out of their homes in towns and villages across the Himalayan region, hurling rocks and bricks and clashing with Indian troops. A curfew and a communications blackout has failed to stop the protests. The violence has left 48 civilians dead as government forces fired live ammunition and pellets to try to quell the unrest. About 2,000 civilians and 1,500 police and soldiers have been injured in the clashes.
Energized white supremacists cheer Trump convention message CLEVELAND (AP) - They don't like to be called white supremacists. The well-dressed men who gathered in Cleveland's Ritz-Carlton bar after Donald Trump's speech accepting the Republican nomination for president prefer the term "Europeanists," ''alt-right," or even "white nationalists." They are also die-hard Trump supporters. And far from hiding in chat rooms or under white sheets, they cheered the GOP presidential nominee from inside the Republican National Convention over the last week. While not official delegates, they nevertheless obtained credentials to attend the party's highest-profile quadrennial gathering. Several gathered in the luxury hotel well after midnight following Trump's Thursday address, a fiery appeal they said helped push the Republican Party closer to their principles.