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Rebels lower demands in peace talks

MOSCOW — Pro-Russian rebels softened their demand for full independence Monday, saying they would respect Ukraine’s sovereignty in exchange for autonomy — a shift that reflects Moscow’s desire to strike a deal at a new round of peace talks.

‘Guardians’ wins weekend box office again, becomes No. 1 movie of year

LOS ANGELES — Perhaps as a sign this summer couldn’t be over soon enough for Hollywood, the top three positions at the box office for the weekend were exactly the same as last week: “Guardians of the Galaxy” continued its surprising run with an estimated three-day draw of $16.3 million, and with a cumulative total of $274.6 million in the U.S. and Canada through Sunday, the film became the top box-office draw not only of the summer but of the year so far, passing “Captain America: The Winter Solider.”

Iraqi forces break militant siege of Shiite town

BAGHDAD — Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen on Sunday broke a six-week siege imposed by the Islamic State extremist group on the northern Shiite Turkmen town of Amirli, as a suicide bombing killed 14 people in Anbar western province, officials said.

Ferguson’s flashpoint sparks national outrage

LOS ANGELES — They were killed in Wisconsin, New York and California. Some were shot on the street. One was killed in a Wal-Mart. Another died after being placed in a chokehold. All died at the hands of police and all have been united by one thing: the killing of Michael Brown.

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Gaza truce open-ended, but puts off tough issues

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas agreed Tuesday to an open-ended cease-fire after seven weeks of fighting — an uneasy deal that halts the deadliest war the sides have fought in years, with more than 2,200 killed, but puts off the most difficult issues.

Possible airstrikes in Syria raise more questions

WASHINGTON — The intelligence gathered by U.S. military surveillance flights over Syria could support a broad bombing campaign against the Islamic State militant group, but current and former U.S. officials differ on whether air power would significantly degrade what some have called a “terrorist army.”