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Taliban offensive exposes fragile U.S. hopes for Afghan peace

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 13, 2018, 9:48 p.m.

A year after the Trump administration introduced its strategy for Afghanistan, the Taliban are asserting themselves on the battlefield even as U.S. officials talk up hopes for peace. That’s raising questions about the viability of the American game plan for ending a war that began when some of the current U.S. troops were in diapers.

Rival Koreas start talks meant to set up leaders’ summit

UPDATED: Sun., Aug. 12, 2018, 7:56 p.m.

Senior officials from the rival Koreas met Monday to set a date and venue for a third summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, part of an effort to breathe new life into resolving the nuclear standoff between Washington and Pyongyang.

Steve Bannon weighs in on UK burqa debate, Boris Johnson

UPDATED: Sun., Aug. 12, 2018, 7:34 p.m.

Republican strategist Steve Bannon weighed into British politics Sunday in a wide-ranging interview in which he defended former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s comments about Muslim face veils and praised a controversial British far-right leader.

Malians vote in presidential runoff amid attacks, threats

Malians voted Sunday in a runoff presidential election to determine if incumbent Ibrahim Boubacar Keita will remain in office in this sprawling West African nation threatened by rising extremist violence. He faced off against opposition leader Soumaila Cisse.

Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul dies at 85

V.S. Naipaul, the Trinidad-born Nobel laureate whose celebrated writing and brittle, provocative personality drew admiration and revulsion in equal measures, died Saturday at his London home, his family said. He was 85.

Congo’s latest Ebola outbreak taking place in a war zone

In a new reminder of the dangers in containing an Ebola outbreak in a war zone, suspected rebels killed seven people overnight in northeastern Congo and sent residents fleeing, an official said Saturday.

Pope to youth: Dream, don’t let fear make you pessimistic

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 11, 2018, 12:21 p.m.

Tens of thousands of young people filled Rome’s ancient Circus Maximus on Saturday evening to hear Pope Francis advise them to ignore adults who warn against certain professions, saying they are not in demand. Many walked for days to reach the rally.

New U.S. sanctions could pitch Russia relations to new low

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 11, 2018, 9:09 p.m.

The Trump administration announcement of export restrictions in response to accusations Moscow used a nerve agent to poison a former Russian spy in Britain sent the ruble tumbling to a two-year low and drew a stern warning from its prime minister.

Brazen Taliban attack raises pressure on Afghan forces

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 10, 2018, 11:57 a.m.

A brazen and bloody overnight assault Friday by the Taliban on a key provincial capital in central Afghanistan has increased pressure on U.S.-backed Afghan forces that are withering under relentless attacks, prompting President Ashraf Ghani to call an emergency meeting of his security officials.

Violence erupts amid Gaza cease-fire, 2 Palestinians killed

Violence erupted at the Gaza border Friday after the territory’s militant Islamic Hamas rulers and Israel appeared to be honoring a cease-fire that ended two days of intense violence amid efforts by neighboring Egypt to negotiate between the two sides.

Zimbabwe’s opposition challenges election results in court

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party on Friday filed a legal challenge to the results of the country’s first election without Robert Mugabe on the ballot, alleging irregularities and calling for a fresh vote or for their candidate Nelson Chamisa to be declared the winner.

Shooting in Canadian city leaves 4 dead, including 2 police

A shooting in a small Canadian city early Friday left four people dead, including two police officers, under circumstances that were not yet explained but struck a nerve in a country that has been roiled in recent months by several instances of mass violence.