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PM: Iraqi forces begin operation to retake Tal Afar from IS
BAGHDAD (AP) - The operation to retake the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, from the Islamic State group began Sunday morning, Iraq's prime minister said. Tal Afar and the surrounding area is one of the last pockets of IS-held territory in Iraq after victory was declared in July in Mosul, the country's second-largest city. The town, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of the Syrian border, sits along a major road that was once a key IS supply route. "The city of Tal Afar will be liberated and will join all the liberated cities," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in an address to the nation broadcast on state television early Sunday.


Comedian, civil rights activist Dick Gregory dies
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dick Gregory, the comedian and activist and who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health, has died. He was 84. Gregory died late Saturday in Washington, D.C. after being hospitalized for about a week, his son Christian Gregory told The Associated Press. He had suffered a severe bacterial infection. As one of the first black standup comedians to find success with white audiences, in the early 1960s, Gregory rose from an impoverished childhood in St. Louis to win a college track scholarship and become a celebrated satirist who deftly commented upon racial divisions at the dawn of the civil rights movement.


Massive counterprotest upstages Boston "free speech rally"
BOSTON (AP) - Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans in a public rejection of white nationalism upstaged a small group in Boston that planned a "free speech rally" a week after a violent clash rocked Virginia and reverberated across the U.S. Counterprotesters marched through the city on Saturday to historic Boston Common, where conservatives had planned to deliver a series of speeches but soon left. Police vans later escorted the conservatives out of the area, as boisterous counterprotesters scuffled with police. Organizers of the event, the Boston Free Speech Coalition, had publicly distanced themselves from the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and others who fomented violence in Charlottesville on Aug.


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Duke University removes damaged Robert E. Lee statue
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Duke University removed a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee early Saturday after it was vandalized amid a national debate about monuments to the Confederacy. The university said it removed the carved limestone likeness before dawn from the entryway to Duke Chapel, where it stood among 10 historical figures. Officials discovered early Thursday that the statue's face had been gouged and scarred and that part of the nose is missing. Another statue of Lee, the top Confederate general during the Civil War, was the focus of the violent protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned deadly a week ago.


Spanish police hunt for suspected Barcelona van driver
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Spanish police put up scores of roadblocks across the northeast as the manhunt continued Sunday for the suspected driver of the van that plowed into pedestrians in Barcelona. Police in Catalonia are searching for Younes Abouyaaquoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan suspected of carrying out the attack Thursday in Barcelona that left 13 dead and over 120 people wounded. The investigation is also focusing on a missing imam who police think could have died in a massive house explosion Wednesday. Police believe imam Abdelbaki Es Satty radicalized the young men in the extremist cell, which may have accidently blown up a house in the quiet seaside town of Alcanar with the explosive material it was collecting.


From age 3 to 80, Barcelona victims represent a wide world
PARIS (AP) - An Italian father who saved his children's lives but lost his own. An American celebrating his first wedding anniversary. A Portuguese woman celebrating her birthday with her granddaughter. These were some of the 14 people from around the world killed in vehicle attacks in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils on Thursday and early Friday. They spanned generations - from age 3 to age 80 - and leave behind devastated loved ones. The victims - who also include over 120 people wounded in the attacks - come from nearly three dozen countries. Here is a look at some of them: --- Francisco Lopez Rodriguez, 57, and Javier Martinez, 3, Spain Francisco Lopez Rodriguez was killed with his 3-year-old grand-nephew, Javier Martinez, while walking along the Las Ramblas promenade in Barcelona.


Grace Mugabe returns to Zimbabwe despite assault claim
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - The wife of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe returned home from South Africa on Sunday despite calls that she be prosecuted for allegedly assaulting a young model at a luxury hotel in Johannesburg. A report by Zimbabwean state broadcaster ZBC showed Grace Mugabe greeting government and military officials at the Harare airport after returning on an Air Zimbabwe flight with her husband, who had attended a summit of southern African leaders in Pretoria. The South African government said Saturday that it was deciding whether to grant diplomatic immunity to Grace Mugabe at the request of the Zimbabwean government, though there was no immediate comment from South African authorities on Sunday.


Researchers find wreckage of WWII-era USS Indianapolis
WASHINGTON (AP) - Civilian researchers say they have located the wreck of the USS Indianapolis, the World War II heavy cruiser that played a critical role in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima before being struck by Japanese torpedoes. The sinking of the Indianapolis remains the Navy's single worst loss at sea. The fate of its crew - nearly 900 were killed, many by sharks, and just 316 survived - was one of the Pacific war's more horrible and fascinating tales. The expedition crew of Research Vessel Petrel, which is owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, says it located the wreckage of the Indianapolis on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean, more than 18,000 feet (5,500 meters) below the surface, the U.S.


Colleges grappling with balancing free speech, campus safety
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - When Carl Valentine dropped off his daughter at the University of Virginia, he had some important advice for the college freshman: Don't forget that you are a minority. "She has to be vigilant of that and be concerned about that, always know her surroundings, just be cautious, just be extremely cautious," said Valentine, 57, who is African-American. A retired military officer, he now works at the Defense Department. As classes begin at colleges and universities across the country, some parents are questioning if their children will be safe on campus in the wake of last weekend's violent white nationalist protest here.


Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards program
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) - Acknowledging that he has become a "political distraction," President Donald Trump has decided to skip the festivities surrounding the annual Kennedy Center Honors arts awards later this year, the White House announced Saturday amid the continuing fallout over Trump's stance on last weekend's white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Kennedy Center said it respected Trump's decision and the show will go on. Trump and first lady Melania Trump reached their decision Friday, a White House official said, the same day that the entire membership of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned in protest over Trump's remarks about Charlottesville.