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Iraqi officials say militants seize city of Tikrit

BAGHDAD (AP) — Al-Qaida-inspired militants seized effective control Wednesday of Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, expanding their offensive closer to the Iraqi capital as soldiers and security forces abandoned their posts following clashes with the insurgents.

FBI opens criminal probe into VA after scathing report

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI has opened a criminal investigation into the Department of Veterans Affairs after a scathing watchdog report that found systemic problems in the medical system for military veterans, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday.

Feds: NYC strippers drugged, stole from rich men

NEW YORK (AP) — A crew of New York City strippers scammed wealthy men by spiking their drinks with illegal synthetic drugs, then driving them to strip clubs that ran up tens of thousands of dollars on their credit cards while they were too wasted to stop it, authorities said Wednesday.

In Somalia, a wives' tale delays measles treatment

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Hawa Nor carried her visibly weakened son into the hospital's isolation ward. Like many sick children here, the 7-year-old boy is likely a victim of an old Somali wives' tale: A child with measles should be kept inside, and away from the doctor, for a week.

Militants take city of Tikrit, seize 48 Turks at Iraqi consulate

Rebels seized 48 Turks from the Turkish consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, including the consul-general, three children and several members of Turkey's special forces, a source in the Turkish prime minister's office said.

Tea party rejoicing at Cantor's defeat

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican tea party forces are rejoicing and the party establishment is somber or altogether silent in the wake of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary defeat at the hands of political neophyte David Brat, an unflinching foe of loosening immigration laws.

Governor says Iraq is determined to retake Mosul

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi authorities are determined to recapture the northern city of Mosul after most of it was overrun by al-Qaida-inspired militants, the provincial governor said Wednesday after he fled the city along with half a million other residents.

Hagel testifies Wednesday on Taliban prisoner swap

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will face angry lawmakers as he becomes the first Obama administration official to testify publicly about the controversial prisoner swap with the Taliban.

Driver charged in Tracy Morgan crash due in court

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — The truck driver charged in the fatal crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that also injured comedian Tracy Morgan and several other people was scheduled to make an initial court appearance Wednesday.

Risk of friendly fire long an element of war

WASHINGTON (AP) — The deaths of five Americans killed in a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan stand as a fresh reminder of the dangers of friendly fire, an element of war that is older than the nation.

Murray, Mikulski blazing trail for future female leaders

From their perches as chairs of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees, Patty Murray and Barbara Mikulski have effectively — but quietly — put a moratorium on the successive fiscal crises that dominated Washington between 2011 and 2013. That makes Murray and Mikulski not just powerful women senators. That makes them powerful U.S. senators, period.