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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.

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.

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.

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.

After its nearly century and a half run, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus plans to shut down "The Greatest Show On Earth."

The historic American spectacle will deliver its final show in May, says Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling.

Feld announced the news on the company website Saturday night, citing declining ticket sales — which dipped even lower as the company retired its touring elephants.

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Just one day after Jennifer Holliday told the media she planned to sing at a welcome concert for President-elect Donald Trump, the Tony Award-winning singer says she has reconsidered. Holliday will not be performing at the inauguration-related event.

She announced the turnabout in a letter provided to The Wrap. She wrote, in part:

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

Donald Trump lashed out at civil rights hero John Lewis on Twitter Saturday morning, a day after the Georgia Democratic congressman said in an interview he didn't view the president-elect as "legitimate" amid questions of Russia's interference in the U.S. elections.

Zhou Youguang, the inventor of a system to convert Chinese characters into words with the Roman alphabet, died Saturday at the age of 111. Since his system was introduced nearly six decades ago, few innovations have done more to boost literacy rates in China and bridge the divide between the country and the West.

For the past 17 years, Sam Barsky has knit sweaters that depict places he's seen around the world, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Stonehenge, Jerusalem's Western Wall — even a field of electrical pylons.

But what's made Barsky an internet phenomenon, with well over a million hits on various websites, are photos of the knitter himself posing in front of a scene, wearing his matching sweater.

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There is a funeral service for Ashley Theriot in Pensacola, Fla. today. She was just 32, and a gifted freelance writer.

The death of a vibrant young person is a tragedy in all ways. But the person who dies can leave a gift for someone else to go on. That can be a flesh and blood blessing.

Ashley Theriot returned from Colombia on Jan. 1 and began to have seizures. She turned out to have a rare tear in the artery of her brain stem.

Here's a quick roundup of some of the mini-moments you may have missed on this week's Morning Edition.

Eggcelent Island

Unlike some of the most well-known national parks, one of the newer additions won't have mountains with snow-capped peaks or desert canyons. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will offer something different: the story of how scientists created the world's first atomic bomb. But how the story will be told is surrounded by controversy.

In downtown Los Alamos, N.M., a group of tourists follow guide Jim Shipley through Fuller Lodge, which became a gathering place during the Manhattan Project.

This story is part of Kitchen Table Conversations, a series from NPR's National Desk that examines how Americans from all walks of life are moving forward from the presidential election.

Pennsylvania surprised a lot of people in November when voters abandoned a long history of electing Democrats for president and chose Republican Donald Trump.

Shelly Fields is a 46-year-old white woman living in Richton Park, a racially diverse Chicago suburb. She says she's raised her four daughters, who are biracial, to see people of all races as equal, just as her parents raised her. Fields doesn't think that racism will ever disappear completely, but she's hopeful that it lessens with each passing generation.

"The more biracial children there are, the more equality we see," Fields said. "The more people of color we see in positions of power – it will help to change the way people see race."

Charts can seem dull. But not to data scientist Tariq Khokhar at the World Bank. When he looked through a year's worth of charts, graphs, maps and more, he was excited by the numbers.

For example, although the world's population has increased by 2 billion people since 1990, there are 1.1 billion fewer people living in extreme poverty, under $1.90 a day (highlighted in blue in the chart below). "I'm amazed at the progress," Khokhar says.

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