Aided by Russia, Syrian forces
consolidate military gains
OKEIRBAT, Syria (AP) — Government troops and their allies intensified an offensive Friday against Islamic State militants in central Syria, trying to consolidate their control on the area.
The Syrian troops and Russian military police patrolled the dusty and desolate streets of Okeirbat, which was recaptured from the extremists on Sept. 2.
A militant counteroffensive was crushed Thursday amid intense Russian airstrikes. Distant thuds of artillery were heard in Friday afternoon and evening, indicating the persistence of the fighting.
The militants had controlled Okeirbat since 2014, and Russian military officials showed visiting journalists a bombed-out warehouse that was used by the extremists to repair and fortify tanks in the once-thriving town of 10,000 people.
No-confidence vote in Peru forces Cabinet resignations
LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s entire Cabinet was forced to resign following a no-confidence vote Friday by the opposition-led congress, throwing the country into political turmoil and forcing him to cancel a trip to the United Nations’ General Assembly.
Kuczynski was to have met with U.S. President Donald Trump, along with the presidents of Brazil and Colombia, during the trip to New York next week but must now stay in Peru to form a new Cabinet.
Vatican diplomat recalled amid child porn investigation
VATICAN CITY (AP) — A high-ranking priest working in the Vatican’s embassy in Washington has been recalled after U.S. prosecutors asked for him to be charged there and face trial in a child pornography investigation, Vatican and U.S. officials said Friday.
The diplomat was suspected of possessing, but not producing or disseminating, child pornography including images of pre-pubescent children, a U.S. source familiar with the case said. The source was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Vatican declined to identify the priest, but said he was currently in Vatican City and that Vatican prosecutors had launched their own probe and sought evidence from the U.S.