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Tuesday, Jan 17th

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Deaths reported in blasts in Turkey's Istanbul

Istanbul blastsTwo explosions have hit the Turkish city of Istanbul, killing at least 13 people and wounding 20 others, according to news reports.

Police have evacuated the area around the Besiktas football arena following Saturday's explosions, which the interior ministry called a "terrorist" car bomb attack.

Reuters news agency cited security sources as saying 13 people were killed.
The arena is located across the historic Dolmabahce Palace overlooking the Bosphorus Strait.

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Magnitude-6.5 earthquake reported off Northern California

Earthquake off No. CaliforniaA 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Thursday morning off the Northern California Coast that was felt in the Bay Area, officials said.

The quake hit on the San Andreas fault about 7 a.m. in the Pacific Ocean, about 100 miles off coast of Ferndale in Humboldt County, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was initially reported as a 6.8 magnitude quake, and later downgraded to a 6.5 rattler.

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Trump picks retired General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis for secretary of defense

Trump picks Mad Dog Mattis for Sec. of DefenseDonald Trump intends to nominate Gen. James Mattis, one of the most respected military men of his generation, to run the sprawling Department of Defense, it was reported Thursday.

Citing people familiar with the decision, the Washington Post said the announcement from the president-elect is expected next week.

But since a law prevents those on active duty within the last seven years from serving in a civilian post, Congress will not only have to confirm Mattis but also pass a law making an exception.

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Hillary’s Popular Vote Lead Passes 2.5 Million

Hillary popular voteHillary Clinton’s lead in total votes over President-elect Donald Trump has reached 2,526,184 as ballots continue to be tallied.

As Clinton’s popular lead surpasses 2.5 million votes, it grows larger than the lead with which 10 presidents have won the general election, the New York Times reports. That means Clinton is up by 1.9 percentage points overall in the popular vote — approaching the lead that polls predicted in the final days before the election, the Times notes.

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Winter closes in on refugees fleeing Iraq's Mosul

Winter closes in on Mosul refugeesPushing his way through dozens of people, Iraqi teacher Umar Salah carries four bags containing 15 blankets and pots full of food through the gate of a camp overcrowded with civilians who fled Islamic State in Mosul.

Soldiers only occasionally open the gate to allow civilians to bring supplies to relatives inside, as authorities struggle to accommodate some 1,000 people fleeing the fighting every day since Iraqi forces launched a campaign to expel the militants.

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France arrests 5 in foiled Islamic State attack planned for next week

France attack plab foiledFive suspects were arrested in a foiled terror attack in France directed by the Islamic State and planned for next week, a prosecutor said Friday.

Francois Molins said the men detained last weekend were directed remotely by a militant commander in the Iraq-Syria region.

Molins revealed screengrabs found on the suspects' computers showed a list of potential targets planned for the Dec. 1 attacks.

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Magnitude 7 quake hits Central America

La PazA strong earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Central America shook the region on Thursday just as a hurricane barreled into the Caribbean coasts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, but there were no immediate reports of any quake damage.

Emergency services in El Salvador said on Twitter it had received no reports of damage at a national level, but urged those living along the country's Pacific coast to withdraw up to 1 kilometer (0.62 mile) away from the shore.

The 7.0 magnitude quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.2, was very shallow at 10.3 kilometers (6.4 miles) below the seabed, which would have amplified its effect.

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