World News Briefs — March 20, 2017 (Evening Edition)

A federal policeman carries his weapon as he stands near buildings destroyed in clashes during a battle against Islamic State militants, in Mosul. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Reuters: As Iraqi forces fight to take Mosul, car bomb in Baghdad kills 23 people

Islamic State militants captured an Iraqi police colonel and eight other officers on Monday after they ran out of ammunition during a skirmish in the battle for western Mosul, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the incident took place as government forces closed in on Islamic State fighters in the Old City and other districts, in an offensive intended to crush the hardline group in what was once the de facto capital of their self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate.

A media officer for the Interior Ministry’s Rapid Response units, Lieutenant Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammedawi, denied that any police officers had been captured when asked for comment.

But the Interior Ministry official told Reuters the nine men were seized in the early hours of Monday in the Bab Jadid district.

Read more ….

MIDDLE EAST
Trump hosts Iraqi leader, says Mosul mission ‘moving along’.

Pentagon launches probe after strike near Syria mosque.

Assad sees key Russia role after Syria-Israel strikes.

Syrian government forces beat back surprise rebel assault in Damascus. Clashes in Damascus after rebels tunnel into government-held areas.

Syria: Air raids on east Damascus after rebel assault.

Russia strikes deal with Syrian Kurds to set up base. Syrian Kurdish militia says it’s getting Russian training.

Iraq pushes into Mosul’s Old City in effort to capture iconic mosque.

Russia summons Israeli ambassador to explain air raids in Syria. Moscow summons Israeli diplomat over airstrike in Syria.

UN wants probe into refugee boat attack off Yemen.

Turkey’s Erdogan decries Merkel over ‘Nazi measures’ as row thunders on.

Israeli nuclear whistleblower says state hounding him.

Iran’s supreme leader calls for ‘resistance economy’.

ASIA
Sri Lanka ex-leader’s brother ‘led death squad’: court.

Climate change ‘makes deadly China pollution worse’.

More than 100 Chinese cities now above 1 million people.

Philippine president swears at European MPs over death penalty criticism.

Beijing: U.S., China six-party talks envoys discussed North Korea.

Donald Trump says North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un acting ‘very badly’.

Tillerson’s North Korea comments cause unease in East Asia.

North Korea denies cyberattacks, calls U.S. ‘hacking empire’.

Myanmar hardliners protest against citizenship for Rohingya.

Pakistan PM orders reopening of Afghanistan border.

Three US troops wounded after Afghan soldier opens fire.

Duterte: Philippines can’t stop China moves in disputed sea.

Kim Jong-nam: Malaysia expecting more arrests in murder investigation.

AFRICA
Libya rescues 420 migrants off its coast: navy.

UN: South Sudan is world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.

Plane crash-lands at South Sudan airport, several injured: witnesses.

10 killed in latest Kenya drought clas.

Malaysia sending troops to Somalia on aid mission.

In Rome, EU and North African ministers hold ‘migration summit’. Italy, EU prep aid for Libya’s fight against people smuggling.

Falling tree kills at least 18 at Ghana waterfall.

Trump invites Egypt’s Sisi to White House.

EUROPE
Greek police intercept eight suspect packages following parcel bombs to IMF, Germany.

NATO chief to visit US for first time since Trump elected.

Britain’s May to launch EU divorce proceedings on March 29. Britain sets date for Brexit to begin, with UK heading toward EU divorce.

EU lawmakers visiting Crimea not intimidated by Kiev’s sanctions.

Tokyo, Moscow to continue close work on peace treaty.

Russian parliament backs investigation into U.S. media.

Hungary opens base for army border patrols to stop migrants.

Russian space official found dead with stab wounds while awaiting embezzlement trial.

Norway named the world’s happiest country in 2017.

AMERICAS
FBI chief confirms probe of possible Russia links to Trump team. Comey: FBI probing Trump-Russia links, wiretap claims bogus.

Trump to meet Iraqi premier as anti-IS policy takes shape.

Mexico drug war investigators unearth 47 more skulls in mass graves.

Peru faces more rain as floods and landslides make thousands homeless.

Almost half of Canadians want illegal border crossers deported – Reuters poll. Asylum seekers make perilous crossing into Canada from US seeking ‘safety, protection and home’.

Scandal roils Brazil meat sector; China, South Korea suspend imports. Brazil meat scandal deepens as China, EU, Chile bar imports.

Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jersey has been located.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR
Al-Qaida steps up violence against Syrian government.

Orly video shows attacker rushing soldier.

Cocaine, alcohol, marijuana found in Paris shooting suspect’s blood.

Pentagon receives more freedom to carry out counterterror raids.

No desire in US to declare Pakistan terror sponsor: envoy.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS
Hacked websites on the rise: Google.

David Rockefeller, billionaire philanthropist, dies aged 101.

Bill Gates again world’s richest man; Trump slips.

Germany, Japan push trade pact in Merkel bid to stymie Trump. Merkel hopes to address trade issues with Trump at G7 in May.

More people flying than ever before; 90,000 more a day than 2016.
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