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Conflict Outside Kirkuk…300+ Killed on Somalia…Evacuees Allowed to Return to Wildfire-Damaged Homes

KIRKUK, Iraq (AP) – State-sanctioned Iraqi militias have taken up positions inside the disputed northern city of Kirkuk after federal forces clashed with Kurdish forces outside the city. The mostly Shiite Arab militias, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, are viewed with deep suspicion by the city’s Kurdish community. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had previously vowed they would remain outside the city.

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – The director of an ambulance service in Mogadishu says 15 primary school children are among the over 300 people killed in Somalia’s deadliest blast. Abdulkadir Adam told The Associated Press that the children were on a school bus died when the massive truck bomb detonated nearby. Saturday’s attack struck a crowded street near some of Somalia’s government ministries. About 300 people are injured, many of them badly.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) – Thousands of evacuees got the all-clear to return their homes after fire crews gained ground against devastating California wildfires. The number of those under evacuation orders fell from nearly 100,000 down to 75,000. Those who were allowed back into gutted neighborhoods returned to assess the damage and, perhaps, see if anything was salvageable.

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Spain’s deputy prime minister says that Catalonia’s leader didn’t give an adequate response in his letter about the region’s independence and has until Thursday to comply with the country’s laws. Carles Puigdemont’s letter, issued two hours before a Monday deadline, didn’t clarify whether he in fact declared Catalonia’s independence from Spain. He called for talks with Spain’s government. Spain rejected his response, saying the country’s parliament is the only place to talk.

WASHINGTON (AP) – A key moderate Republican is urging President Donald Trump to support a bipartisan Senate effort to reinstate insurer payments. Sen. Susan Collins says Trump’s move to halt the subsidies poses an immediate threat to millions of Americans who now face rising premiums and lost health care coverage. The insurer payments will be stopped beginning this week, with sign-up season for subsidized private insurance set to start Nov. 1.