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Iraq launches attack to retake Tikrit from Islamic State

BAGHDAD - Iraq's armed forces, backed by Shi'ite militia, attacked Islamic State strongholds north of Baghdad on Monday as they launched an offensive to retake the city of Tikrit and the surrounding Sunni Muslim province of Salahuddin. | Video

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North Korea angered by U.S.-South Korea military drills, fires missiles off coast

SEOUL - North Korea fired two short-range missiles off its eastern coast on Monday, South Korean officials said, a defiant response to annual joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, but one which drew a swift protest from Japan. | Video

5:45pm GMT

Venezuela tells U.S. embassy to downsize amid diplomatic tension

CARACAS - Venezuela on Monday ordered the U.S. embassy in Caracas to reduce its personnel from 100 to 17 amid a new diplomatic flare-up between the socialist government and its ideological foe to the north.

7:49pm GMT

Canadian pastor missing after aid trip to North Korea

TORONTO - A head pastor of large Canadian church has failed to return from a humanitarian mission to North Korea, and the Canadian government has reached out to try to locate him, his Toronto-based church said on Monday.

7:55pm GMT

Kerry cautions Israel not to undercut Iran diplomacy as talks resume

MONTREUX, Switzerland - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry quietly cautioned Israel not to undercut Iran nuclear negotiations that resumed on Monday as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to make the case against his diplomacy before the U.S. Congress.

Israel, Middle East 6:20pm GMT

Libya's Haftar appointed army chief for recognised government

BENGHAZI, Libya - Khalifa Haftar, one of the most divisive figures in post-revolutionary Libya, was appointed army commander for the country's internationally recognised government on Monday in a move that could complicate U.N. talks to end the conflict.

Libya, Middle East 7:52pm GMT