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AP Top International News at 2:02 p.m. EDT

Russia downplays conflict with US over Syria weapons report
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Russia's U.N. ambassador said Thursday there doesn't have to be a confrontation with the United States over a report that blames the Syrian government and Islamic State militants for carrying out chemical attacks in the conflict-torn country....

Aftershocks rattle Italian quake zone; toll rises to 250
PESCARA DEL TRONO, Italy (AP) -- Aftershocks in central Italy rattled residents and rescue workers alike Thursday, as crews worked to find more earthquake survivors and the country anguished over its repeated failure to protect ancient towns and modern cities from seismic catastrophes....

AP EXPLAINS: Why burkini swimsuits are causing controversy
PARIS (AP) -- French mayors are drawing international anger for banning the burkini, an all-encompassing swimsuit worn by a small minority of Muslim women. The Associated Press explains the core of the controversy....

Apple boosts iPhone security after Mideast spyware discovery
PARIS (AP) -- A botched attempt to break into the iPhone of an Arab activist using hitherto unknown espionage software has trigged a global upgrade of Apple's mobile operating system, researchers said Thursday....

Rebels, residents to evacuate long-besieged Damascus suburb
BEIRUT (AP) -- After four years of grueling bombardment and crippling siege, the remaining residents and rebels of a Damascus suburb agreed to surrender and evacuate under the terms of an agreement reached Thursday, Syrian government and opposition activists said....

Turkey: US says Syria Kurds are pulling back in north Syria
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Syrian Kurdish forces have started withdrawing east of the Euphrates River, Turkish officials said Thursday, a move that could fulfill a major demand by Ankara and the United States a day after Turkey sent in tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels take a key Islamic State stronghold....

Nuns, priest and past quake survivor escape death in Italy
AMATRICE, Italy (AP) -- Among the survivors of Wednesday's devastating earthquake in central Italy were nuns, a priest and survivors of previous quakes. Some saw their houses collapse into debris and dust, while the homes of others are still standing but deemed unsafe....

Iraqi defense minister gets no-confidence vote
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's minister of defense received a no-confidence vote from parliament Thursday just as Iraqi forces retook a key northern town near the Islamic State-held city of Mosul....

Car bomb explodes near Turkish embassy in Somalia's capital
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- A Somali police officer says a car bomber has prematurely detonated an explosives-laden vehicle near the new Turkish embassy compound in the capital, Mogadishu....

AP Photo
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
World Video
Up to the Minute
Africa
50,000 flee South Sudan's instability for Darfur, UN says

Asia
India: French submarine data leak no security threat

Europe
AP EXPLAINS: Why burkini swimsuits are causing controversy

Latin America/Caribbean
The Latest: Colombian president declares cease-fire

Middle East
Kidnapped Egyptian policeman shot dead in Sinai