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Islamic State fighters attack police compound, power plant in northern Iraq's Kirkuk

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IRBUL, Iraq -- With an offensive underway to oust Islamic State from the northern city of Mosul, militants staged a surprise attack early Friday about 95 miles south in Kirkuk.

"It was expected that (Islamic State) sleeper cells would make a move in Kirkuk one day," Kirkuk Gov. Najmaldin Karim told the Kurdish news agency Rudaw, emphasizing ...Read more

Beware election-themed email attacks, says hacking specialist

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WASHINGTON -- Heading toward Election Day in the U.S., hackers may target your inbox instead of the ballot box.

It's difficult to alter overall ballot counts in the U.S., which doesn't have a centralized voting system, but hackers could take advantage of the Nov. 8 election to dupe people and gain access to their personal information, according...Read more

Little-known force on the left tiptoes into 2016 races

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NEW YORK -- There's a new, deep-pocketed liberal donor in town.

It's called the Civic Participation Action Fund, and it's run by a man named Stephen McConnell in Washington. Formed last year with $50 million, it has donated to at least three different Democrat-aligned super political action committees this year, including $1.5 million to ...Read more

Trump gets booed by crowd at New York charity dinner

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NEW YORK -- The day after the final presidential debate, where each charged the other with being a crook, a liar and a puppet, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton honored a tradition that had them sitting down to dinner together to exchange jokes.

It was an awkward night.

The customary self-deprecating addresses candidates have been giving at the...Read more

Harry Reid's last Senate stand

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HENDERSON, Nev. -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid isn't on this year's ballot, but he has at least one heavyweight bout left in him.

Since returning to his home state over the weekend, the Senate Democratic leader has been the focus of near-constant attention, doing interviews, holding events and rallying the party faithful for Hillary ...Read more

Many Americans worried about voter fraud, but experts says it's rare

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ST. LOUIS -- On Twitter, Donald Trump said: "Of course there is large-scale voter fraud happening on and before Election Day."

In the third presidential debate this week he said that he would "keep you in suspense" about whether he would accept results of the Nov. 8 election.

Experts say there has never been evidence of the type of election ...Read more

Nuclear industry seeking new tax credits

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WASHINGTON -- Beset by low natural gas prices and tax advantages for its competitors, the nuclear power industry is seeking new tax credits to help it find its footing in an increasingly challenging marketplace.

The Nuclear Energy Institute's newly tapped president and CEO Maria Korsnick said last week that the trade association is exploring a ...Read more

Trump 'not afraid to take on the hard fights,' daughter says at campaign stop

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WAUWATOSA, Wis. -- Donald Trump is not beholden to anyone other than the American people, his daughter Ivanka Trump said during a town hall meeting here Thursday.

"He's not afraid to take on the hard fights, he's not afraid to solve the complicated problems and start with addressing them," Trump said. "And that is so, so rare."

A day after the...Read more

Wisconsin man pleads guilty to trying to join Islamic State

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MILWAUKEE -- A 34-year-old Madison, Wis., man has been convicted of trying to offer his services to the Islamic State in 2014.

Joshua Van Haften pleaded guilty in federal court in Madison on Thursday to attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, U.S. Attorney John W. Vaudreuil announced.

Van Haften had been ...Read more

Trump jokes strike sour tone at Al Smith Memorial Dinner

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NEW YORK -- Donald Trump said he was in a room full of wonderful people at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York.

"Or as Hillary calls it, her largest crowd of her season," he said with a chuckle, as Democratic rival Hillary Clinton laughed, too. "This is corny stuff."

But as it progressed, Trump's speech turned more ...Read more

Tunnel found between Tijuana and San Diego

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SAN DIEGO -- U.S. and Mexican authorities on Thursday confirmed the existence of a clandestine cross-border tunnel between Tijuana and San Diego.

The tunnel's entrance was found near Tijuana's A.L. Rodriguez International Airport, said a source with Baja California's Public Safety Secretariat.

The source said that the tunnel had been in ...Read more

Analysis: Election lays bare the split between old, new America

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DELAWARE, Ohio -- The contrast in the 2016 presidential election was as evident Thursday as it has ever been: Donald Trump spoke to a largely white audience in Ohio, a state that has traditionally picked presidents but finds itself somewhat marginalized this year.

Soon after, Michelle Obama, the nation's first African-American first lady, ...Read more

Judge preserves Fattah corruption conviction, overturns other parts of June verdict

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PHILADELPHIA -- A federal judge on Thursday overturned a jury's guilty verdicts on some charges against former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah but preserved the conviction on the most serious count the former congressman faced in his corruption trial.

U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle said the government had presented insufficient evidence in court to ...Read more

Mosul offensive finds Islamic State tunnel network in villages

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SHAKOLI, Iraq -- A tunnel leading to the underground hide-out of an Islamic State leader killed in the Iraqi forces-led Mosul offensive was outfitted with extremist graffiti, electricity, appliances, stockpiles of food and, potentially, booby traps.

"We found some of their mortar shells over there under the tunnels," Kurdish Brig. Gen. Fayak ...Read more

Pediatricians group issues new recommendations on children's media use

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Before she had her son, Sara Yeasted did not imagine that "Finding Nemo" and "Toy Story" would be regular features in their evenings.

"When I was pregnant I was totally against television -- I thought I was always going to be doing puzzles or something," said Yeasted, of West Deer, Pa., as her 2-year-old son dived under a bridge at the Ross ...Read more

Merrick Garland trudges on, awaiting Supreme Court action

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WASHINGTON -- For now, Judge Merrick Garland is in limbo. That is, if heaven is serving on the Supreme Court and waiting in limbo involves a bunch of paperwork.

Each morning, Garland does what he's always done: He goes to work. That's not so unusual. But these days, when he leaves his quiet Bethesda, Md., neighborhood, he's riding in an SUV ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Wisconsin man pleads guilty to trying to join Islamic State

MILWAUKEE -- A 34-year-old Madison, Wis., man has been convicted of trying to offer his services to the Islamic State in 2014.

Joshua Van Haften pleaded guilty in federal court in Madison on Thursday to attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, U.S. ...Read more

Philippine President Duterte: 'I announce my separation from the United States'

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced Thursday that he was "separating" from the United States and embracing China as the new best friend of the Philippines.

The 71-year-old president, famous for blunt, often profane rhetoric, announced his country's realignment in a state visit to Beijing, where he was hailed as China's new "brother."...Read more

WikiLeaks emails part curtain on a nearly elected Obama considering White House staff

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WASHINGTON -- The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks on Thursday released a handful of Barack Obama's emails from a period immediately before he was elected in 2008, including several that revealed names of people Obama was considering for senior roles and one that reflected care in avoiding a transition conflict with President George W. Bush.

The ...Read more

VA in Atlanta retaliated against whistleblower, investigation finds

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ATLANTA -- Amid scandal brought by a rash of veteran suicides in Atlanta, the local VA leadership in 2013 became fixated on stemming bad press coverage and set their sights on an employee whose job was to keep the public informed, a new federal investigation found.

A federal Office of Special Counsel (OSC) report out Wednesday said the Atlanta ...Read more