Thursday: A circus comes full circle, the Kosciuszko Bridge says goodbye, and the Met sees an anniversary.
Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
The 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference kicks off in Maryland this week, with a slate of leaders from the movement scheduled to speak starting Thursday.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, will be interviewed by Mercedes Schlapp of The Washington Times on Thursday morning. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will also be interviewed on Thursday, by Kayleigh McEnany.
Following the interview, the conference will present a conversation between White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, moderated by American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp.
Other speakers include Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Ted Cruze and Gov. Scott Walker.
Watch live above.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A Cambodian court has sentenced a prominent land rights activist to 2 1/2 years in prison on charges of committing violence at a protest she helped lead outside of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence three years ago. Judge Long Kes Pirum of Phnom Penh Municipal Court found Tep Vanny guilty […]
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Outside an old house in a battered Johannesburg neighborhood, a hatch door slams shut and an alarm signals the arrival of an abandoned baby. A new infant is joining the ranks of toddlers being raised in the center. In this periodic ritual, Francinah Phago, manager of the Door of Hope sanctuary in […]
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (AP) — Penn State graduate student assistants are seeking union representation. A group called the Coalition of Graduate Employees at PSU filed a petition for a union election with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board on Wednesday. CGEPSU represents over 3,700 graduate assistants. The group says its members want more say in determining […]
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi federal police pushed their way into the perimeter of Mosul International Airport on Thursday, taking control of the runway amid fierce exchanges of fire with Islamic State militants hunkered down in several airport buildings, police officials said.
The advance came as part of a major assault that started five days earlier to drive the Islamic State group from the western half of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.
Two police official told The Associated Press that after police forces pushed onto the airport grounds and seized the runway, they came under heavy fire from inside the buildings at the site, including the main airport building.
The officials would not provide more details but said heavy exchanges were underway. They said troops from the U.S.-led coalition were with the advancing forces, though they didn’t specify the nationalities of the foreign forces. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
Private broadcaster Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen aired live footage from the Mosul airport perimeter, showing a military helicopter buzzing overheard and firing at IS positions as gunfire rattled.
Earlier on Thursday, Iraqi special forces joined the government offensive for the western half of Mosul, pushing up to a sprawling, IS-held military base on the city’s southern edge that’s adjacent to the airport, officials said.
The elite counterterrorism forces moved toward the Ghazlani military base where fierce clashes erupted at the edge of the base, two special forces officers said.
On Sunday, after weeks of preparations, Iraqi forces officially launched the operation to take Mosul’s western half, with the Iraqi regular army and federal police forces taking part in the initial push. Since then, the military says they have retaken some 120 square kilometers — nearly 50 square miles — south of the city.
“The counterterrorism forces will be an additional force, which will expedite the liberation of Mosul’s western side,” Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, an Iraqi military spokesman, told the AP.
The battle for western Mosul, the extremist group’s last major urban bastion in Iraq, is expected to be most daunting yet.
In January, Iraqi authorities declared the eastern half of Mosul “fully liberated” from IS.
However, the streets are older and narrower in the western section of the city, stretching west from the Tigris River that divides Mosul into the eastern and western half. The dense urban environment will likely force Iraqi soldiers to leave the relative safety of their armored vehicles. The presence of up to 750,000 civilians will also pose a challenge.
Mosul fell to IS in the summer of 2014, along with large swaths of northern and western Iraq.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine court has issued an arrest warrant on drug charges for a senator and former top human rights official who is one of the most vocal critics of President Rodrigo Duterte and his deadly crackdown on illegal drugs. The Regional Trial Court issued the warrant Thursday for the arrest of […]
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines’ top diplomat says any move by China to transform a Manila-claimed shoal into an island would be a “game-changer” in blossoming relations although he says Beijing has pledged not to undertake any construction in the strategically located area of the South China Sea. Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said […]
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — After more than a week of silence in its state-controlled media, North Korea on Thursday slammed the investigation into the death of one of its citizens in Kuala Lumpur, saying Malaysia’s probe is full of “holes and contradictions.” The report from the highly-selective official outlet KCNA did not acknowledge the […]