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Ground offensive against Islamic State months away in Iraq: U.S.

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE Florida - Iraqi forces are months away from being able to start waging any kind of sustained ground offensive against the Islamic State and any similar effort in Syria will take longer, officials at the U.S. military's Central Command said on Thursday.

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Protesters in Hong Kong to vote on government proposals

HONG KONG - Hong Kong protesters plan to hold a straw poll on government proposals they rejected earlier in the week as their street campaign pushing for democracy for the Chinese-controlled city entered its fifth week on Friday.

United Nations 7:49am EDT

Canadian couple accused of spying in China held in near isolation, son says

BEIJING - A Canadian couple accused of spying near China's sensitive border with North Korea have been kept separately in near isolation for more than 80 days and denied access to legal counsel, their son said on Friday.

China, North Korea 7:26am EDT

South Africa police fire rubber bullets at Diamondcorp strikers

JOHANNESBURG - South African police used rubber bullets on Friday to disperse strikers from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) who were blocking the entrance to a mine operated by London-listed Diamondcorp, a police spokesman said.

Africa 8:18am EDT

Masked men burn two Saudi Arabia consulate cars in Egypt: sources

CAIRO/ISMAILIA - Masked men set fire to two cars belonging to the consulate of Saudi Arabia in the Egyptian city of Suez on Friday morning, local security sources and the state news agency reported.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt 8:07am EDT

Uruguay's left in battle to retain presidency, and marijuana law

MONTEVIDEO - Uruguayan voters decide on Sunday whether to give the ruling coalition another term after a decade of strong growth and leftist reforms, or turn to an opposition candidate who says legalizing marijuana production was a step too far.

7:10am EDT

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