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A deadly car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group hit US-backed forces in eastern Syria on Thursday as they tried to negotiate the release of civilians trapped in the jihadists' last sliver of territory. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are working towards evacuating civilians remaining in the holdout, so they can finish off the dying IS "caliphate" either through an assault or a surrender deal. The jihadists overran large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, but several offensives have retaken all but half a square kilometre (a fifth of a square mile) of their territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz.


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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):


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"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett appeared in court Thursday after he surrendered to authorities Thursday morning on one felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.


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Japan wants Britain to have frictionless trade with the European Union after Brexit, its ambassador said Thursday, insisting a damaging no-deal scenario should be avoided. Japanese companies are looking to expand their investment in Britain but are holding back due to uncertainty over Brexit, Koji Tsuruoka said during a talk in London.


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A foundation supporting victims of paedophile priests in Poland on Thursday released a report documenting nearly 400 cases of sex abuse by clergymen in the staunchly Catholic country. Images broadcast on Polish television showed Pope Francis kissing the hand of Marek Lisinski, head of the "Be Not Afraid" foundation, as he handed over the report to the pontiff. The document details the cases of 85 priests convicted of paedophilia, another 88 whose alleged abuse has been exposed by the media and 95 others accused by alleged victims.


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The nine justices ruled unanimously in favor of an Indiana man named Tyson Timbs who argued that police violated his rights by seizing his $42,000 Land Rover vehicle after he was convicted as a heroin dealer. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, back on the bench for a second straight day after undergoing lung cancer surgery in December, wrote the court's opinion, which clarified the applicability of the "excessive fines" prohibition contained in the Constitution's Eighth Amendment. "For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history.


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DENVER (AP) — After months of mostly silence from authorities investigating the disappearance of a Colorado mother on Thanksgiving Day, grim details about her suspected demise emerged this week, including accusations that the woman's fiance beat her to death with a baseball bat while their baby was in the next room.


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The publisher of the paper admonished the president over his use of a familiar phrase.


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The lawmakers, who support a second EU referendum and have long said May's Brexit strategy is being led by Conservative eurosceptics, said they would join a new independent group in parliament set up by seven former opposition Labour politicians. The resignations put May in an even weaker position in parliament, where her Brexit deal was crushed by lawmakers last month when both eurosceptics and EU supporters voted against an agreement they say offers the worst of all worlds. While the three were almost certain to vote against any deal, the hardening of their positions undermines May's negotiating position in Brussels, where she heads later to try to secure an opening for further work on revising the agreement.


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