Iraqi forces advance on Islamic State-held western Mosul HAMAM AL-ALIL, Iraq (AP) - U.S.-backed Iraqi forces launched a large-scale military operation on Sunday to dislodge Islamic State militants from the western half of Mosul, the latest phase in a four-month-old offensive to retake Iraq's second largest city. The battle for western Mosul promises to be the most daunting yet, as the half of the city west of the Tigris River has older, narrower streets and is still home to hundreds of thousands of civilians, who have been told to shelter in place. Iraq declared eastern Mosul "fully liberated" last month, but IS has continued to launch attacks there. Hours after the latest operation was announced, suicide bombers struck troops and pro-government Sunni militiamen in eastern Mosul.
Revived by rally, Trump turns back to governing WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - One day after delighting in a massive campaign-style rally, President Donald Trump is turning back to the business of governing. Trump, who is spending the weekend at his private club in Florida, plans to spend Sunday interviewing at least four candidates to be his new national security adviser. The meetings come as he seeks to refocus his struggling administration after weeks of tumult. Speaking to reporters on Air Force One Saturday, Trump said he had "many, many that want the job." He also hinted he had a favorite. "I've been thinking about someone for the last three or four days, we'll see what happens," Trump said.
Pence says US to hold Russia accountable, stand with NATO MUNICH (AP) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday conveyed a message to jittery partners that the Trump administration will "hold Russia accountable" and maintain steadfast support for NATO, a military alliance the American commander in chief once dismissed as "obsolete." In his overseas debut as vice president, Pence told the audience at the Munich Security Conference that the U.S. would be "unwavering" in its commitment to NATO and that President Donald Trump would "stand with Europe." Pence pointed to their shared "noble ideals - freedom, democracy, justice and the rule of law." Addressing the violence in Ukraine, Pence said the U.S.
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As Trump makes foreign moves, Tillerson avoids the spotlight WASHINGTON (AP) - When North Korea fired a ballistic missile into waters between South Korea and Japan, President Donald Trump moved quickly to show U.S. resolve. He appeared within hours alongside visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and said the U.S. "stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent." Trump happened to be hosting Abe that day in Florida. Yet his lack of any mention of U.S. treaty ally South Korea didn't go unnoticed by new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. So, while on his first official trip, Tillerson arranged a three-way meeting in Germany with the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers to show the U.S.
Europeans wonder if Trump will act on Pence's reassurances MUNICH (AP) - Vice President Mike Pence was the latest in a trio of high-ranking Trump emissaries to tell European allies in person that the United States will steadfastly support NATO and demand that Russia honor its commitments to end fighting in Ukraine. Some European leaders, however, remain skeptical of whether Pence and the U.S. secretaries of state and defense actually speak for President Donald Trump. And they worry those declarations might easily be swept away at the whim of the mercurial American president. "We are waiting for actions," said Polish President Andrzej Duda. "We only know what the media has reported and the statements that we've got.
Executive order that incarcerated Japanese Americans is 75 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Satsuki Ina was born behind barbed wire in a prison camp during World War II, the daughter of U.S. citizens forced from their home without due process and locked up for years following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. Roughly 120,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans were sent to desolate camps that dotted the West because the government claimed they might plot against the U.S. Thousands were elderly, disabled, children or infants too young to know the meaning of treason. Two-thirds were citizens. And now, as survivors commemorate the 75th anniversary of the executive order that authorized their incarceration, they're also speaking out to make sure that what happened to them doesn't happen to Muslims, Latinos or other groups.
Swedes scratch heads at Trump's suggestion of major incident HELSINKI (AP) - Swedes have been scratching their heads and ridiculing President Donald Trump's remark that suggested a major incident had happened in Sweden. During a rally in Florida on Saturday, Trump said "look what's happening last night in Sweden" as he alluded to past terror attacks in Europe. The comment has prompted a barrage of social media reaction on Sunday. Former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweeted , "Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound." Aftonbladet newspaper listed in English some events that had happened Friday in Sweden, including a man being treated for severe burns, an avalanche warning and police chasing a drunken driver.
SpaceX trying again to launch rocket from historic moon pad CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - SpaceX is taking another shot at launching a rocket from NASA's historic moon pad. As dawn broke Sunday over Florida's Kennedy Space Center, the unmanned Falcon rocket stood at Launch Complex 39A, poised to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 9:39 a.m. This is the same pad where astronauts flew to the moon nearly a half-century ago, and hasn't been used since the shuttle program ended in 2011. SpaceX is leasing it from NASA and hopes to begin launching astronauts from there next year. Saturday's launch attempt was foiled by last-minute rocket concerns.
Could 'Nexit' follow Brexit after Dutch elections? ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - For a small nation that has grown hugely wealthy thanks to centuries of doing business far and wide, the political mood in the Netherlands has turned surprisingly inward. As a March 15 parliamentary election looms in the Netherlands - one of the founding members of the European Union - popular lawmaker Geert Wilders is dominating polls with an isolationist manifesto that calls for the Netherlands "to be independent again. So out of the EU." After Britons voted last year to divorce from the EU, could a Dutch departure - known here as "Nexit," after "Brexit" - be close behind?
Malaysia looks for 4 North Korean suspects who left country KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Investigators are looking for four North Korean men who flew out of Malaysia the same day Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean ruler's outcast half brother, apparently was poisoned at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian police said Sunday. Since Kim's death last week, authorities have been trying to piece together details of what appeared to be an assassination. Malaysian police have so far arrested four people carrying IDs from North Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Malaysia's deputy national police chief, Noor Rashid Ibrahim, said four other North Korean suspects were on the run. The men arrived in Malaysia on different days beginning Jan.