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Be ready for 'prolonged' Gaza war, Netanyahu says
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Signaling an escalation of Israel's Gaza operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday to be ready for a "prolonged" war, and the military warned Palestinians in three large neighborhoods to leave their homes and head immediately for Gaza City. The warnings came on a day of heavy Hamas-Israeli fighting in which nine young children were killed by a strike on a Gaza park where they were playing, according to Palestinian health officials - a tragedy that each side blamed on the other.


Hamas, Israel trade blame for deaths of 9 children
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas and Israel blamed each other for an explosion at a Gaza park Monday that killed at least 10 Palestinians - including nine children playing on a swing - in a horrific scene that underscored the heavy price civilians are paying in the conflict. Israel's military said a rocket misfired by Gaza militants was responsible, and it later released aerial photos that it said showed the weapon's path. Gaza officials blamed Israeli airstrikes.


Fighting in Ukraine prompts residents to flee
SHAKHTARSK, Ukraine (AP) - Panicky residents in an eastern Ukrainian town fled their homes Monday carrying a few possessions in plastic bags and small suitcases as shells exploded in the distance, fighting that also prevented an international police team from reaching the area where the Malaysia Airlines plane was downed. "Mom, hang in there," exclaimed a weeping woman who was fleeing Shakhtarsk with her mother. Associated Press reporters saw a high-rise apartment block in the town being hit by at least two rounds of artillery.


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In Iraq's Mosul, radicals unleash their vision
BAGHDAD (AP) - Residents of Mosul have watched helplessly as extremists ruling the northern Iraqi city blew up some of their most beloved landmarks and shrines to impose a stark vision of Islam. Next up for destruction, they feared: the Crooked Minaret, a more than 840-year-old tower that leans like Italy's Tower of Pisa. But over the weekend, residents pushed back. When fighters from the Islamic State group loaded with heavy explosives converged on the site, Mosulis living nearby rushed to the courtyard below the minaret, sat on the ground and linked arms to form a human chain to protect it, two residents who witnessed the event told The Associated Press on Monday.


Judge OKs record-setting $2B sale of Clippers
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A judge ruled against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Monday in his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas sided with Sterling's estranged wife Shelly Sterling, who burst into tears when the ruling was announced.


New fears about Ebola spread after plane scare
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) - No one knows for sure just how many people Patrick Sawyer came into contact with the day he boarded a flight in Liberia, had a stopover in Ghana, changed planes in Togo, and then arrived in Nigeria, where authorities say he died days later from Ebola, one of the deadliest diseases known to man. Now health workers are scrambling to trace those who may have been exposed to Sawyer across West Africa, including flight attendants and fellow passengers.


Suspect dead, 2 marshals and cop wounded in NYC
NEW YORK (AP) - A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a child was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a New York City smoke shop, officials said Monday. The suspect, wedding photographer Charles Richard Mozdir, was recently featured on a CNN show about fugitives. He was wanted in a San Diego case and charged with five counts of lewd acts upon a child younger than 14, according to a criminal complaint.


Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B
WASHINGTON (AP) - A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs. An agreement announced by the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees is intended to fix a veterans' health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.


Russia ordered to pay $50 billion over Yukos
LONDON (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin's government must pay $50 billion for using tax claims to destroy Yukos, once the country's largest oil producer, and its Kremlin-critical CEO, an international court has ruled. Monday's verdict by the Permanent Court for Arbitration increases the economic and diplomatic isolation of Russia at a time when it faces new, potentially painful sanctions from Western powers.


A double-header of biopics for Chadwick Boseman
NEW YORK (AP) - A year after playing Jackie Robinson in "42," Chadwick Boseman was back in biopic spring training. To become James Brown for the film "Get on Up," Boseman needed to rely on an entirely different skill set. But the preparation necessary to transform into a tireless performer like Brown - "the hardest working man in show business," after all - was oddly reminiscent of working out on the baseball diamond.