The world at 7 a.m. Times EDT.
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— OLY--2020 VOTE — Presentations start at 8 a.m., announcement of winner expected around 4 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Back on American soil, President Barack Obama is plunging into a frenetic, high-stakes week of selling a skeptical Congress on a military strike ahead of a critical vote on Syria. For a president not known for investing heavily in consultations with Capitol Hill, the coming days and the ones that preceded them may, in retrospect, be deemed one of the most active periods of congressional outreach of his presidency. By Josh Lederman.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's pursuit of a military strike in Syria has put congressional Democrats and party leaders around the country in a tough spot. They face loud opposition from war-weary constituents at home and are wary of being pulled into another foreign conflict. But they also are confronted with grim images from Syria of gassed children and the pleas of a president from their own political party to consider the consequences of inaction. By Ken Thomas.
CAIRO —Egyptian helicopter gunships and tanks pound suspected hideouts of Islamic militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula in the opening stages of a major new offensive in the insurgent stronghold. The assault came after a column of armored vehicles and trucks deployed into the targeted areas in what officials said was one of the largest operations there in years.
By Maggie Michaels and Ashraf Sweilam
DEATH ROW WOMAN
PHOENIX — An Arizona woman is getting her first taste of freedom in more than two decades after an appeals court overturned her murder conviction in the death of her young son, setting the stage for a retrial as prosecutors seek to put her back on death row. By Bob Christie and Brian Skoloff.
NASA's newest robotic explorer rockets into space in an unprecedented moonshot from Virginia that dazzles sky watchers along the East Coast. But the LADEE spacecraft quickly ran into equipment trouble, and while NASA says the lunar probe is safe and on a perfect track for the moon, officials acknowledge the problem needs to be resolved in the next two to three weeks.
AP photos, video.
SYDNEY — A senior Australian lawmaker in the ruling Labor Party says that with 13 percent of the votes counted, her party has lost Australia's election. The national elections had been expected to oust the ruling Labor Party government and lift opposition leader Tony Abbott, a 55-year-old conservative often described as "polarizing," to power. By Rod McGuirk.
— AUSTRALIA-ELECTION-MANDATORY VOTING — Despite choice of unpopular leaders, Australians flock to the polls — because they have to. AP photos.
NINE MILE, Jamaica — Napa and Sonoma have their wine tours. Scotland offers visitors single malt whiskies. But in Jamaica, farmers are offering a different kind of trip for a different type of connoisseur. Call them ganja tours: smoky, mystical — and technically illegal — journeys to some of the island's hidden cannabis plantations. By David McFadden.
MALE, Maldives — Five years after the Maldives' first democratic presidential election, few hope that polls will soothe the harsh divisions that have inflamed the archipelago. Known to the outside world for its luxurious resorts and beautiful beaches, the country has been in political turmoil since former President Mohamed Nasheed resigned last year during a standoff with security forces that he decribed as a coup.
GULF OIL SPILL SETTLEMENT
NEW ORLEANS — A former FBI director has recommended that the Justice Department investigate whether several lawyers plotted to corrupt the settlement program designed to compensate victims of BP's 2010 Gulf oil spill. But the independent probe led by Louis Freeh didn't find any evidence of wrongdoing by the multibillion-dollar settlement's court-appointed administrator, Patrick Juneau. He has been a target of BP's increasingly aggressive campaign to challenge payouts to Gulf Coast businesses. By Mike Kunzelman and Chevel Johnson.
TEACHER RAPE CASE
BILLINGS, Mont. — A Montana judge lacks the authority to impose a new sentence on a man sent to prison for a month for raping a 14-year-old girl, who later committed suicide, the state's high court rules. The decision came as the judge sought to change the former teacher's sentence after his original ruling, in which he said the student was "older than her chronological age," drew widespread criticism. By Matthew Brown.
NEW YORK — Defending champion and No. 1-seeded Serena Williams rolls past fifth-seeded Li Na 6-0, 6-3 to book a rematch in the finals with No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, the last player to take a set off her at Flushing Meadows. Azarenka was far less sharp in beating 83rd-ranked Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-2 in the first semifinal. By Rachel Cohen.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — With major risks surrounding each bid, the three cities vying for the 2020 Olympics are set to make their final pitches in a tight race that could be decided by just a few votes. Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo will make 45-minute presentations Saturday morning ahead of the vote later in the day by the International Olympic Committee. Leading the delegations will be the prime ministers of all three countries, who all flew to Buenos Aires straight from the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. By Stephen Wilson.
FASHION WEEK-DAY 2
NEW YORK — New York Fashion Week continues with shows including Project Runway, Peter Som, Carmen Marc Valvo, Jason Wu, Cushnie et Ochs, Rebecca Minkoff, Rag & Bone, Nicole Miller, Helmut Lang and Suno. By Fashion Writer Samantha Critchell.
— FASHION WEEK-PROJECT RUNWAY
— FASHION WEEK-INSIDER'S EYE
— FASHION WEEK-INSTAFASHION
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION
— CHILD-SHOT-IN-HEAD — Two men are arrested in Pennsylvania in connection with New York City shooting death of a toddler in a stroller.
— LAPPING-MANHATTAN — Driver who allegedly posted video of speeding trip around Manhattan faces charges of reckless driving.
— BRITAIN-ROYAL BREAK-IN — Police say they have arrested two men over a suspected break-in at Buckingham Palace, a rare — but not unheard-of — breach of royal security.
— PAKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN — Pakistan announces the release of seven more Taliban prisoners to facilitate Afghan peace talks.
— SOMALIA — Police say at least 15 killed after two blasts hit Mogadishu restaurant.
— NKOREA-DENNIS RODMAN — Retired NBA star Dennis Rodman says he met North Korean leader again, but no release of jailed American seen. AP photos.
— MISSING WOMEN FOUND-SUICIDE — In interrogation tape, Ohio kidnapper tells police they missed chance to catch him in 2004.
— MOCKINGBIRD-AUTHOR-LAWSUIT — 'To Kill a Mockingbird' author settles copyright suit against 2 defendants; terms undisclosed.