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Liberian slums barricaded as Ebola threat spreads

MONROVIA, Liberia — Riot police and soldiers acting on their president’s orders used scrap wood and barbed wire to seal off 50,000 people inside their Liberian slum Wednesday, trying to contain the Ebola outbreak that has killed 1,350 people and counting across West Africa.

Holder says he understands mistrust of police

ST. LOUIS — Attorney General Eric Holder sought Wednesday to reassure the people of Ferguson about the investigation into Michael Brown’s death and said he understands why many black Americans do not trust police, recalling how he was repeatedly stopped by officers who seemed to target him because of his race.

Navy kicks out 34 for nuke cheating

WASHINGTON — At least 34 sailors are being kicked out of the Navy for their roles in a cheating ring that operated undetected for at least seven years at a nuclear power training site, and 10 others are under criminal investigation, the admiral in charge of the Navy’s nuclear reactors program told The Associated Press.

Beheading spurs new attacks on Islamic militants

WASHINGTON — The United States launched a new barrage of airstrikes Wednesday against the Islamic State extremist group that beheaded American journalist James Foley and that has seized a swath of territory across Iraq and Syria. President Barack Obama vowed relentless pursuit of the terrorists and the White House revealed that the U.S. had launched a secret rescue mission inside Syria earlier this summer that failed to rescue Foley and other Americans still being held hostage.

Gaza cease-fire efforts collapse

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Egyptian attempts to broker an end to a monthlong war between Israel and Hamas collapsed in heavy fighting Tuesday, with Palestinian militants firing dozens of rockets and Israel responding with airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. At least three Palestinians were killed.

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Palestinian divisions emerge in Gaza truce talks

CAIRO — The Palestinians appeared divided Sunday as the clock was winding down on the latest Gaza cease-fire, with officials saying Hamas was still opposed to a compromise Egyptian proposal that would ease the closure of the territory, while other factions, including delegates representing President Mahmoud Abbas, were inclined to accept.

US bombing boosts Kurds

IRBIL, Iraq — Kurdish Iraqi fighters took back much of a strategic dam in northern Iraq as the United States stepped up its bombardment of Islamic militant positions in the region, Kurdish officials said Sunday.

Massacre in Iraq reported; US hits militants

BAGHDAD — In a significant expansion of the air campaign in Iraq, U.S. warplanes and armed drones launched airstrikes near Mosul Dam on Saturday in the first joint operation with Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces attempting to retake the strategic northern facility from Islamist militants, U.S. officials said.

Parasite could reveal plant communication

A vampire-like parasitic plant could reveal new secrets of plant communication. According to a study published this week in Science, species of the strangleweed plant are able to share genetic information in the form of messenger RNA molecules with the plants they invade. It’s possible that this RNA shuffling is allowing for communication between the parasite and the host, and if we crack their codes we could exploit them to protect crops.

Gov declares emergency, sets Ferguson curfew

FERGUSON, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew Saturday in a St. Louis suburb where police and protesters have clashed in the week since a black teenager was shot to death by a white police officer.