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How Iran closed the Mosul 'horseshoe' and changed Iraq war

BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq In the early days of the assault on Islamic State in Mosul, Iran successfully pressed Iraq to change its battle plan and seal off the city, an intervention which has since shaped the tortuous course of the conflict, sources briefed on the plan say.

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Cuban entrepreneurs urge Trump to keep U.S.-Cuba detente going

WASHINGTON More than 100 Cuban small business owners sent a letter to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday urging him to continue President Barack Obama’s engagement with Havana, despite Trump’s threat to end detente with the communist-ruled island.

Cuba 10:05am EST

Pope warns media over 'sin' of spreading fake news, smearing politicians

VATICAN CITY Media that focus on scandals and spread fake news to smear politicians risk becoming like people who have a morbid fascination with excrement, Pope Francis said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Pope 9:18am EST

Italy passes 2017 budget, paving way for PM Renzi's resignation

ROME The Italian parliament on Wednesday gave its final approval to the government's 2017 budget, which has irked the European Union, paving the way for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to hand in his resignation.

Italy 9:40am EST

Macedonian nationalist ex-PM set to win election in test for EU

SKOPJE/BELGRADE Macedonia's veteran nationalist leader Nikola Gruevski looks set for a comeback in Sunday's parliamentary election, posing a challenge to the European Union and its strategy of coaxing Balkan nations to make painful reforms in exchange for aid.

10:18am EST

Turkey's Erdogan says battle to shore up lira same as fight against Islamic State

ANKARA Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan drew parallels on Wednesday between Turkey's battle against Islamic State militants in Syria and efforts to shore up the lira, urging citizens to continue selling dollars and blaming speculators for the lira's decline.

Turkey, Syria 10:42am EST

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