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Advancing Iraq troops enter strategic town on edge of Tikrit

BAGHDAD - Iraqi government forces and Iran-backed militiamen entered a town on the southern outskirts of Saddam Hussein's home city Tikrit on Friday, pressing on with the biggest offensive yet against Islamic State militants that seized the north last year.

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Russia defends Ukraine pilot's detention; U.N., U.S. demand release

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations, the United States and Britain demanded during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Friday that Russia release Ukrainian military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, but Russia defended her detention as legal.

Russia, United Nations 3:56pm EST

Church says detained pastor has no ties to purged North Korean official

TORONTO - A Canadian pastor detained in North Korea has done only humanitarian work there, his church said on Friday as it denied a media report that he had ties to a purged and executed uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea 4:11pm EST

Iraqi forces clear Islamic State fighters from town near key base

WASHINGTON - Iraqi forces have cleared Islamic State fighters from the town of al-Baghdadi near a key base where U.S. Marines are training Iraqi military troops, recapturing the police station and three bridges over the Euphrates, the U.S. military said on Friday.

Iraq 3:47pm EST

Gunman's video says Parliament attack spurred by Canada military action

OTTAWA - The gunman who shot and killed a soldier in Canada's capital and then stormed Parliament last year said he was retaliating against Canadian military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a video recording released on Friday. | Video

Afghanistan, Iraq 4:34pm EST

Kremlin critic Navalny, out of jail, vows to fight on

MOSCOW - Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny walked out of a Moscow detention center on Friday and said Russia's opposition would continue to challenge President Vladimir Putin, uncowed by last week's killing of prominent opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. | Video

Russia 3:00pm EST

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