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Millions Face Power Outages in Northern, Central California

Bottled water and batteries were flying off the shelves at California stores as millions of customers prepared to live without electricity for days in the face of what Pacific Gas & Electric called an unprecedented wildfire danger.

The utility announced that it was shutting off power to 800,000 customers in 34 northern, central and coastal California counties beginning as early as midnight Wednesday to reduce the chance of fierce winds knocking down or toppling trees into power lines during a siege of hot, dry, gusty weather.

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Invasion of Northeast Syria Carries Gain and Risk for Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long threatened to send troops into northeastern Syria to clear the border region of Syrian Kurdish fighters whom Turkey considers a serious security threat.

A Turkish invasion looks more likely after President Donald Trump's sudden announcement that U.S. troops, who had fought alongside the Kurds against Islamic State group, would withdraw from the area.

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Calm in Iraqi Capital after Bloody Night of Protests

Calm has prevailed in the Iraqi capital following a bloody night when at least 19 people were killed as security forces opened fire to break up anti-government protests.

Students made it to schools at the start of the working week early Sunday and government employees returned to work. But the capital's streets were mostly quiet and traffic thin. Burnt tires and debris littered thoroughfares while security remained heavily deployed in many neighborhoods.

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Taliban Meet US Peace Envoy for First Time since 'Dead' Deal

The Taliban met U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in the Pakistan capital for the first time since President Donald Trump declared a seemingly imminent peace deal to end Afghanistan's 18-year war 'dead' a month ago, a Taliban official said early Saturday.

He offered few details of Friday's meeting between Khalilzad and the Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the movement that was ousted in 2001 by the U.S.-led coalition. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

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U.S. Sanctions 'Squeezing' Hizbullah in Lebanon

The conflict between Iran and the U.S. that has created tensions throughout much of the Middle East is now also being felt in Lebanon, where Washington has slapped sanctions on the Iran-backed Hizbullah and warned they could soon expand to its allies, further deepening the tiny Arab country’s economic crisis.

The Trump administration has intensified sanctions on the Lebanese group and institutions linked to it to unprecedented levels, targeting lawmakers for the first time as well as a local bank that Washington claims has ties to the group.

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4 Dead in Knife Attack at Paris Police HQ

Four police officers were killed Thursday in a knife attack carried out by an administrator at the Paris police headquarters, a police union official said.

The attacker was shot dead.

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U.N. Envoy Says Syria Charter-Drafting Panel a 'Sign of Hope'

The U.N. special envoy for Syria said Monday that the convening of a committee to draft a new constitution for Syria on Oct. 30 "should be a sign of hope for the long-suffering Syrian people" — but it will matter only if it becomes a step out of the more than eight-year conflict.

Geir Pedersen told a U.N. Security Council meeting on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the General Assembly that the committee alone cannot resolve the conflict, saying that actions to de-escalate violence and move toward a nationwide cease-fire "are absolutely essential."

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Israel Quietly Lets in Gaza Workers in Bid to Ease Tensions

Israel is quietly allowing thousands of Palestinians to enter from the Gaza Strip to conduct business and work menial jobs, apparently as part of understandings with the ruling Hamas militant group aimed at preventing a fourth war in the blockaded territory.

Israel effectively revoked thousands of work permits when it joined Egypt in imposing a crippling blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. The blockade, along with three wars between Hamas and Israel, has devastated the economy in Gaza, where unemployment is over 50%.

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Report: Economists Fear Consequences of ‘Shifting’ Govt. Responsibilities to BDL

As Lebanon grapples with a worsening economic crisis, economists fear the consequences of pushing the central bank to assume a role that is supposed to be the responsibility of the government, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Tuesday.

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Towering Arch Bridge Falls in Taiwan Bay, 5 Feared Missing

A towering arch bridge over a bay in eastern Taiwan collapsed Tuesday, sending an oil tanker truck falling onto boats in the water below. The search for potential victims involved an air force helicopter and more than 60 army and naval personnel, including divers.

Six people are believed trapped on one of the boats, the National Fire Agency said in a statement. Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung told reporters about five people were feared to have been on the bridge when it collapsed. Ten people were sent to hospitals, six of them with serious injuries.

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