US allies accuse Russia of strikes in Syria

By Erin Cunningham and David Filipov | Washington Post ISTANBUL – U.S.-backed forces in Syria have accused Russia of launching airstrikes on their positions in the country’s east, where world powers and their proxies are scrambling for influence amid the collapse of the Islamic State militant group. The Syrian Democratic Forces, supported by the United States, said Monday that Russian warplanes targeted SDF fighters in three locations in Deir al-Zour province, including at a major gas field they had seized Saturday from militants. It was the second time this month that the SDF, a coalition of Arab and ethnic Kurdish fighters, has claimed to have been targeted by Russian strikes.… Read More

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Iraq’s Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears

IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq’s central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response. To Baghdad, the vote threatens a redrawing Iraq’s borders, taking a sizeable part of the country’s oil wealth with it. For Turkey and Iran, leaders feared the move would embolden their own Kurdish populations. The vote — likely to be a resounding “yes” when official results are revealed later this week — is not binding and will not immediately bring independence to the autonomous region. Nevertheless, it… Read More

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Desperation sets in over parts of Puerto Rico

By Samantha Schmidt and Joel Achenbach | Washington Post JUNCOS, PUERTO RICO — In the heat and humidity here in the central mountains, Meryanne Aldea fanned her bedridden mother with a piece of cardboard Sunday as the ailing woman lay on her side, relieving a large ulcer in her back. The 63-year-old mother, Maria Dolores Hernandez, had cotton stuffed in her ears to keep flies out, since her now screenless windows were letting all sorts of bugs in. The gray-haired diabetic woman spoke with her daughter about her worries: that she would run out of prescription drugs, that they were almost out of generator fuel to keep her insulin refrigerated… Read More

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Former Rep. Anthony Weiner sentenced to 21 months in sexting case

NEW YORK — Former Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl in a case that rocked Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the White House in the closing days of the race and may have cost her the presidency. Weiner, 53, dropped his head into his hand and wept as U.S. District Judge Denise Cote handed down her sentence. After the hearing ended and the judge left the bench, Weiner sat in his seat for several minutes, continuing to cry. In pleading with the judge to be spared from prison, the former congressman tearfully said he was “a very sick man for… Read More

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Anthony Weiner sexting case: Will he go to prison for contact with teen?

NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Weiner arrived at a New York courthouse Monday morning to be sentenced in a sexting scandal that some blame for Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss. The former New York congressman faces up to 27 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor. Prosecutors say he broke the law by having illicit contact with a 15-year-old girl, including asking her to “sexually perform” for him in conversations on Skype and Snapchat. The Democrat’s obsessive sexting habit not only destroyed his career in the U.S. House, but it also doomed his campaign for mayor and his marriage to Huma… Read More

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Rangers: Maine Woman armed with frying pan helped stop forest fire

BEDDINGTON, Maine — Maine forest rangers say the quick actions of a woman armed with a frying pan helped stop a forest fire. Rangers say Nancy Weeks used a frying pan to carry water back and forth between the flames and a nearby pond in a wooded area near Beddington. WGME-TV reports Weeks kept the fire under control until crews arrived. Officials say the fire was sparked by an unattended camp fire. Rangers say it’s still fire season in the state, and likely will remain so until the first snowfall. Meet Nancy Weeks. She found this fire in T22 MD, reported it and worked on it until we arrived. Campfire… Read More

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