IRAQ
Troops in Mosul meet strong ISIS resistance

Iraqi troops faced stiff resistance Saturday from Islamic State militants as they pushed deeper into eastern Mosul, backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led international coalition, a senior military commander said.

Troops moved into the Muharabeen and Ulama neighborhoods after gaining control of the adjacent Tahrir neighborhood on Friday, said Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi of the Iraqi special forces. Aridi said Islamic State fighters were using snipers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds.

Late Friday, a group of Islamic State militants attacked the village of Imam Gharbi south of Mosul, controlling most of it for hours before airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition were called in, an officer said. The officer spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

— Associated Press

AFGHANISTAN
ISIS commander dies in alleged drone attack

A top Islamic State commander was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangahar province, Afghan officials said Saturday.

Mullah Bozorg died with seven fighters in the attack late Friday, said Attaullah Khugyani, the spokesman for the Nangahar provincial governor.

Bozorg’s death was confirmed by the Afghan Defense Ministry. The United States has not said that it launched a drone attack or confirmed Bozorg’s death.

— Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Morocco
Pledge to fight climate change without U.S.

Negotiators from nearly 200 countries ended two weeks of talks Saturday pledging to press on with the fight against climate change — with or without the help of the next U.S. president.

The election of Donald Trump, who has called global warming a “hoax” and has threatened to cancel U.S. participation in an international climate deal, cast a pall over the conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Few at the meeting wanted to consider what the agreement might look like without U.S. involvement. But Thursday, participants issued a call to action, saying, “Our climate is warming at an alarming and unprecedented rate and we have an urgent duty to respond.”

Without mentioning Trump by name, the declaration reaffirmed the need to reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases and called for “the highest political commitment to combat climate change.”

— Los Angeles Times

Thousands march in Malaysia against prime minister: Thousands of pro-democracy supporters marched in a rally in the Malaysian capital, calling for fair elections and the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak. Najib has been at the center of a corruption scandal since July 2015, when a Wall Street Journal report suggested that $673 million in his personal bank accounts had been siphoned from a state fund.

Turkish officials defend underage-marriage proposal: Government officials in Turkey stepped up their defense of legislation that would allow men to evade punishment for sexual assault by marrying underage girls they abuse. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag insisted that the bill was aimed at regulating the problem of child marriage and that it is not intended to grant amnesty to rapists. The proposed law would not apply to cases in which force is used.

Pope warns against growing polarization: Pope Francis warned against what he called a “virus of polarization” and hostility in the world targeting people of different nationalities, races or beliefs, as he led a ceremony giving the Roman Catholic Church 17 new cardinals from six continents. Francis used his homily to also caution the new “princes of the church,” as cardinals are sometimes called, to guard against animosity creeping into the church as well, saying “We are not immune from this.” The pope spoke of “our pitiful hearts that tend to judge, divide, oppose and condemn” and cautioned against those who “raise walls, build barriers and label people.”

— From news services