Egypt: No deal yet
on Gaza cease-fire, talks to continue
for 24 hours
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt late Monday announced a 24-hour extension in talks between Israel and the Hamas militant group aimed at salvaging a long-term arrangement that would allow reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following a monthlong war that killed more than 2,000 people.
The announcement came just minutes before a temporary truce was set to expire at midnight, averting a resumption of the fighting that has caused devastating damage across Gaza and disrupted life throughout southern Israel.
"Palestinians and Israelis agreed on extending the cease-fire by 24 hours to continue current negotiations," the Egyptian government said in a statement. Palestinian and Israeli officials confirmed they had accepted Egypt’s request for an extension.
A Palestinian negotiator said the sides had exchanged draft proposals for a long-term truce that were to be addressed during the 24-hour extension in talks. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
Since last week, Egypt has been hosting indirect talks between Israel and Hamas aimed at ending the war.
Hillary Clinton attending steak fry
in Iowa next month; Bill going, too
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton will headline a high-profile fundraiser next month in the nation’s first presidential caucus state of Iowa, creating a big campaign splash as Democrats scramble to hold a key Senate seat in November and the former secretary of state considers a campaign of her own in 2016.
Former President Bill Clinton and Mrs. Clinton will attend retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry in Indianola on Sept. 14, Iowa Democrats said Monday. It will be the former first lady’s first appearance in Iowa since 2008 when she finished a disappointing third in the state’s presidential caucuses.
Clinton has urged Democrats to mobilize for November’s midterm elections and party officials said she would likely appear at other events around the country to help the party’s major fundraising committees.
And Harkin’s steak fry, an event that draws thousands of grassroots activists each year, and future presidential campaign staff and volunteers, could be among the biggest, potentially serving as the unofficial start of Clinton’s second presidential bid. Early polls show her as the leading candidate to succeed President Barack Obama, her onetime rival.
Clinton is "looking forward to campaigning for her Democratic friends and colleagues and to helping the effort to move America forward," her spokesman Nick Merrill said, adding that she’d "help raise money for important races in Iowa."
Ukraine: Dozens killed when convoy shelled; Rebels claim no attack took place
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine accused pro-Russia separatists of killing dozens of civilians in an attack early Monday on a convoy fleeing a besieged rebel-held city. The rebels denied any attack took place, while the U.S. confirmed the shelling of the convoy but said it did not know who was responsible.
The refugees were attacked with Grad rockets and other weapons imported from Russia as their convoy traveled on the main road leading from Russia to the rebel-held city of Luhansk, Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security Council, told reporters.
"Many people were killed, among them women and children," Lysenko said of the attack, which occurred between the towns of Khryashchuvate and Novosvitlivka. "We are not able to count the death toll at this point."
When asked about a rough estimate of deaths, he said "dozens."
Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky, a spokesman for the Ukrainian government’s military operation in the east, later told The Associated Press that 15 bodies had been recovered from the smoldering vehicles and servicemen were collecting the body parts of at least 10 more people.
Obama: Iraqi forces retake dam, seized by Islamic militants earlier this month
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi and Kurdish forces recaptured Iraq’s largest dam from Islamic militants Monday following dozens of U.S. airstrikes, President Barack Obama said, in the first major defeat for the extremists since they swept across the country this summer.
Militants from the Islamic State group had seized the Mosul Dam on Aug. 7, giving them access and control of enormous power and water reserves and threatening to deny those resources to much of Iraq.
Iraqi forces suffered a string of humiliating defeats at the hands of the Islamic State as the extremists took over large parts of northern and western Iraq and sent religious minorities fleeing.
The militants’ battlefield victories brought U.S. forces back into the conflict for the first time since it withdrew its troops in 2011 and reflected the growing international concern about the Sunni extremist group. Washington launched attacks from its warplanes and drones on Aug. 8.
Pope Francis endorsed the use of force to stop the Islamic militants from attacking religious minorities in Iraq, although he said the international community -- not just one country -- should decide how to intervene.
Pope endorses efforts to protect Iraq minorities, says UN should approve intervention
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) -- Pope Francis on Monday said efforts to stop Islamic militants from attacking religious minorities in Iraq are legitimate but said the international community -- and not just one country -- should decide how to intervene.
Francis was asked if he approved of the unilateral U.S. airstrikes on militants of the Islamic State group, who have captured swaths of northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria and have forced minority Christians and others to either convert to Islam or flee their homes.
"In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor," Francis said. "I underscore the verb ‘stop.’ I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.’ And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated."
Francis also said he and his advisers were considering whether he might go to northern Iraq himself to show solidarity with persecuted Christians. But he said he was holding off for now on a decision.
The pope’s comments were significant because the Vatican has vehemently opposed any military intervention in recent years. Pope Paul VI famously uttered the words "War never again, never again war" at the United Nations in 1965 as the Vietnam War raged, a refrain that has been repeated by every pope since. St. John Paul II actively tried to head off the Iraq war on the grounds that a "preventive" war couldn’t be justified. He repeatedly called for negotiations to resolve the crisis over Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait a decade prior.
No arrest warrant coming after Perry indictment; continues 2016 voter courtship
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A judge isn’t issuing an arrest warrant for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a court official said Monday, and the Republican is planning to continue galloping around the country gearing up for a possible 2016 presidential run -- despite being indicted on two felony counts of abuse of power back home.
Perry on Friday became the first Texas governor since 1917 to be indicted, and is facing charges that carry a maximum sentence of 109 years in prison for carrying out a threat to veto funding for the state’s public integrity unit last summer.
Perry has emphatically denied all wrongdoing. His attorneys scheduled a Monday afternoon news conference in Austin to discuss their next moves.
Linda Estrada, a Travis County grand jury clerk, said that the judge overseeing the case, Bert Richardson, decided against issuing an arrest warrant.
Instead, Perry will receive a summons which has not been issued yet. He eventually will have to be booked and fingerprinted.
Private militias complicate law-enforcement situation on Texas border
MISSION, Texas (AP) -- On a recent moonlit night, Border Patrol agents began rounding up eight immigrants hiding in and around a canal near the Rio Grande. A state trooper soon arrived to help. Then out of the darkness emerged seven more armed men in fatigues.
Agents assumed the camouflaged crew that joined in pulling the immigrants from the canal’s milky green waters was a tactical unit from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Only later did they learn that the men belonged to the Texas Militia, a group that dresses like a SWAT team and carries weapons but has no law-enforcement training or authority of any kind.
The situation ended peacefully with the immigrants getting arrested and the Border Patrol advising the militia members "to properly and promptly" identify themselves anytime they encounter law-enforcement officers. But the episode was unsettling enough for the Border Patrol to circulate an "issue paper" warning other agents.
The presence of armed militia members working on their own in a region known for human smuggling, drug smuggling and illegal immigration has added one more variable to an already complex and tense situation.
Although the Aug. 6 incident in Mission resulted in no harm, it’s not hard to imagine deadlier outcomes throughout the Rio Grande Valley, a wide area patrolled by more than 3,000 border agents, as well as hundreds of state troopers, game wardens, deputies and local police officers. Gov. Rick Perry is also sending as many as 1,000 National Guard troops.