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Islamic State extremists attack 2 Kurdish cities in northern Syria

After weeks of setbacks, militants from the Islamic State group launched swift counteroffensives Thursday on predominantly Kurdish areas of northern Syria, killing and wounding dozens and setting off car bombs, activists and officials said. READ

Canada can pursue trade deal while protecting supply management, says Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will defend its supply management system for dairy and poultry while still pursuing one of the biggest trade deals in history. READ

Wind, rains cool southern Pakistan as death toll from scorching heat wave climbs to 838

A cool wind from the sea and pre-monsoon rains brought the first signs of respite to southern Pakistan on Wednesday as the death toll from a scorching heat wave climbed to 838 — a high figure even for a nation accustomed to sizzling hot summers. READ

As South Carolina grieves, Alabama governor compares Confederate battle flag to swastika

The Confederate flag flew high Wednesday outside the South Carolina Statehouse, but a large drape kept mourners from seeing it as they filed past the open casket of a veteran black lawmaker and pastor. READ

Boston Marathon bomber apologizes for the first time

In a startling turn, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologized for the lethal attack for the first time Wednesday just before a judge formally sentenced him to death. READ

DNA discovery narrows intense manhunt for escaped prisoners

Hundreds of armed searchers combed through heavy woods in far northern New York on Tuesday after new DNA evidence narrowed the hunt for two murderers who escaped from a maximum-security prison more than two weeks ago. READ

Greece’s governing party lawmakers chafe at proposed reforms

Greece’s government on Tuesday defended the billions worth of “harsh” new budget savings it has offered in talks with creditors, as some of the governing party’s own lawmakers spoke out against them. READ

Pressured by church massacre, South Carolina lawmakers to debate removing Confederate flag

South Carolina lawmakers took their first step toward removing the Confederate battle flag from their Statehouse grounds Tuesday as protesters outside demanded the flag come down in response to the hate-crime killings of nine people inside their historic black church. READ

Crumbling Ukraine ceasefire to form backdrop for Canadian military training mission

It will be mid-to-late summer before the Canadian military fields its highly-touted military training mission to Ukraine and the troops are expected to arrive against a backdrop of rising violence in breakaway eastern regions. READ

30 killed at crowded mosque by 2 young female suicide bombers in northeast Nigeria

Two girls blew themselves up on Monday near a crowded mosque in northeast Nigeria’s biggest city, killing about 30 people, witnesses said. READ

Taliban suicide bomber, gunmen attack Afghan parliament

A Taliban suicide bomber struck the entrance to the Afghan parliament on Monday and gunmen tried to storm the heavily guarded compound, setting off a gunbattle with police that left two people dead as lawmakers were meeting inside to vote on the appointment of a new defence minister. READ

Items recovered from remote hunting cabin might be linked to US escaped murderers

Items recovered from a remote hunting cabin might be linked to a pair of convicted killers who escaped from a nearby prison more than two weeks ago, authorities said Monday as searchers swarmed rugged woods in the hamlet in far northern New York. READ

Obama in new presidential podcast interview says US not cured of racism, uses racial epithet

The White House says President Barack Obama doesn’t regret using the N-word to make a point about racial progress in an interview. READ

Theater shooting prosecutors rest after building emotional, detailed case against James Holmes

Prosecutors in the Colorado theatre shooting trial rested Friday, concluding their argument that James Holmes methodically planned and executed the 2012 massacre in a case that relied heavily — over defence objections — on victims’ recollections of the carnage he inflicted inside the darkened cinema. READ

'No room for hate’ as families of Charleston 9 confront shooting suspect at hearing

They forgave him. They advised him to repent for his sins, and asked for God’s mercy on his soul. One even told Dylann Storm Roof to repent and confess, and “you’ll be OK.” READ

Boko Haram crosses into Niger, attacks 2 villages killing 40, local governor says

Militants from the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram crossed the border and attacked two towns in neighbouring Niger, setting homes ablaze and killing at least 40 people, a local government official said Thursday. READ

Pope urges 'bold cultural revolution’ to save planet, fix 'perverse’ economy that harms poor

In a sweeping environmental manifesto aimed at spurring action, Pope Francis called Thursday for a bold cultural revolution to correct what he said was a “structurally perverse” economic system in which the rich exploited the poor, turning Earth into an “immense pile of filth.” READ

Government should step up fight against ISIL terror financing, MPs say

A House of Commons committee says the Harper government should explore new ways to disrupt the flow of money to the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. READ

Suspect in Charleston church shooting had apartheid-era jacket patches and recent drug arrest

Dylann Storm Roof drove around with a Confederate flag on his license plate — representing the pro-slavery South that lost the U.S. civil war. On his Facebook page, he wore a jacket with the flags of the former white-racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia. READ

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