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Iraqi forces have made a crucial step in the bloody quest to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, according to a spokesman for the country's military. Iraqi Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool announced that the city's university has been fully retaken from ISIS militants.

Special forces, known in Iraq as the Counter-Terrorism Service, or CTS, raised the Iraqi flag above the campus Friday, the Associated Press reports — but the troops were still days away from claiming complete control.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this week for a trademark dispute concerning the Portland dance-rock band, The Slants. The federal Patent and Trademark Office refuses to register the band’s trademark, because, the PTO argues, the band’s name is an ethnic slur.

Attorneys for the government argue that a ruling against the PTO in this case might undermine other important areas of trademark law.

Updated at 3:32 p.m. ET

Foreign ministers and other diplomats from some 70 different countries descended on Paris on Sunday, with the intent to renew peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The summit, which was held without leaders from either side of the conflict, pushed for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

"We are here to reiterate strongly that the two-state solution is the only one possible," said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, in his opening remarks to top envoys at the conference.

The Writer's Almanac: January 15, 2017

Jan 15, 2017

The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor educates, entertains and inspires with brief facts and poetry related to each day's date. It celebrates the birthdays and works of poets, writers, composers, philosophers and historical figures.  It is heard Monday through Friday evenings at 8:01 p.m. on KUT 90.5. On weekends you can find the Writer’s Almanac right here on KUT.org each morning at 8.

This week, the House and Senate took the first substantial step toward repealing Obamacare.

Today, Democrats are holding rallies across the country, in an attempt to get some public momentum behind their longshot goal of blocking that effort.

Congressional Democrats are organizing what they call a "Day of Action," with events scheduled from California to Illinois to Maine.

Celebrities, politicians and activists, ranging from Bernie Sanders to Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, are asking President Obama to grant clemency to a man who was part of a militant group that fought for Puerto Rican independence.

Just about one month ago, we invited you to write little commercials for all the joys in life that money can't buy. Tell us what makes you happy, we said — if you could sell us on it, we'd produce the ad and air it on All Things Considered.

My, how time flies.

People planning to watch — or protest — Donald Trump's inauguration festivities next week should prepare to maneuver through lots of security, including thousands of law enforcement personnel, National Guard troops, fences, magnetometers and cement-laden trucks.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson outlined the massive security preparations on Friday during a briefing at the Multi Agency Communications Center at a secret location in Virginia.

There's a popular saying in Spanish — O todos en la cama, o todos en el suelo. It conveys a selfless commitment to equal treatment, and translates roughly like this: Either we all get the bed, or we all get the floor.

Among many immigrants in the U.S., there's been a feeling that when it comes to the spoils of U.S. immigration policy, the government has given Cubans the bed all to themselves, while it has relegated others – Mexicans, Haitians, Central Americans — to the floor.

Right after the election, there were demonstrations in Austin and around the country against Donald Trump’s win. The protests died down, but some groups felt like their work was just starting -- and they’re not necessarily groups that would call themselves “political.” 

As seaweed continues to gain popularity for its nutritional benefits and culinary versatility, more people are skipping the dried stuff in the grocery store and going straight to the source: the ocean itself.

At low tide on West Coast beaches, foragers hop between rocks looking for bladderwrack, sea lettuce and Irish moss to take home with them. Sea vegetable foraging has become so common, in fact, that you can take a class to learn what to harvest and what to avoid.

When Kennedy Odede was a kid, he lived on the streets of a slum in Kenya.

He'd grown up in tough circumstances. His stepfather was violent. There wasn't enough food to go around. He wasn't sent to school. A friend convinced him he'd do better out on his own. He'd have his freedom, he'd be able to find his own food.

So when he was around 10, Kennedy left home. His new world was a world of violence. He was caught up in gang fights. He remembers being stabbed in the arm: "I still have the scar," he says.

Iraqi forces are nearing what is expected to be the toughest part of the fight for the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. As troops push toward the river dividing the city, they face new tactics from Islamic State fighters adapting to an urban environment and the limitations of U.S. air and artillery support.

The more densely populated west side of the historic city, with its twisting streets and covered market, is still in ISIS hands. But Iraqi counter-terrorism troops this week for the first time reached the east bank of the Tigris River that splits the city.

This time last year, Stephanie Johnson was miserable.

She was in her third year teaching special education at a junior high school in Lindon, Utah, about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City.

On the outside it looked like she was doing great. Her classes ran smoothly, students loved her, parents loved her, but like many special education teachers, inside she felt as though she was drowning.

She said she thought about leaving all the time: "I don't know how to describe it, it's just so much work. I just feel like I cannot do it."

If repealing the Affordable Care Act is the Republican Congress' job one, defunding Planned Parenthood is a close second.

In fact, the two priorities might be paired. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Jan. 5 that efforts to defund the organization "would be in our reconciliation bill," referring to a measure Congress has put on a fast track in order to repeal major pieces of the health law.

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