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Here is the latest news from The Associated Press at 8:40 p.m. EDT

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 6:41pm

O.J. Simpson has been granted parole after spending nearly nine years in prison for a Las Vegas armed robbery, successfully making his case for freedom in a nationally televised hearing Thursday. The 70-year-old Simpson could be released as early as Oct. 1. By then, he will have served the minimum of his 33-year sentence for a botched effort to snatch sports memorabilia.

Strong earthquake rattles Turkey, Greek islands

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 6:40pm

A powerful earthquake struck Turkey's Aegean coast and nearby Greek islands, sending frightened residents running out of buildings they feared would collapse and into the streets.

Detained student's mother: China police want "ransom"

Matthew Brown, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 5:51pm

The mother of an American college student arrested in central China following an altercation with a taxi driver five weeks earlier said police are demanding the equivalent of a $7,400 "ransom" for his release.

US warns South Sudan's leaders that they risk US support

Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 4:48pm

The United States warned leaders in South Sudan on Thursday that they risk losing U.S. support if they don't participate in a high-level forum and stick to deadlines for a cease-fire and political process to end their civil war.

Thousands protest in Poland against court reorganizations

Monika Scislowska, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 3:41pm

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Warsaw and towns across Poland on Thursday night to protest the ruling party's drive to reorganize all levels of the judiciary, including contentious legislation that gives control of the nation's Supreme Court to the president instead of to judges.

Palestinians clash with Israel police at Jerusalem holy site

Aron Heller and Ilan Ben Zion, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 2:21pm

Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces near a contested Jerusalem shrine after Muslim worshippers massed outside for evening prayers on Thursday as tensions over the holy site escalated further.

They escaped Islamic State's bastion, but remain terrified

Sarah El Deeb, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 1:52pm

They have escaped their hold, but displaced residents of Raqqa still fear the militants of the Islamic State group, terrified they will return and seek revenge for defeats.

The Latest: Poland prime minister defends courts legislation

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 1:52pm

The Latest on Poland's parliamentary vote (all times local):

Venezuela strike erupts into sporadic violence

Michael Weissenstein and Fabiola Sanchez, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 1:41pm

A nationwide strike against plans to rewrite the constitution shut down much of Venezuelan's capital Thursday before erupting into sporadic violence that left at least two young men dead.

Year after reporter killed in Ukraine, no progress in probe

Yuras Karmanau and Dmytro Vlasov, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 1:22pm

After renowned journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed in a car bombing in central Kiev last year, Ukraine's president promised all-out efforts to solve the case. But as of Thursday's anniversary of his death, there has been no visible progress.

The Latest: Palestinians, Israeli police clash in Jerusalem

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 1:03pm

The Latest on the dispute over increased Israeli security measures at a Jerusalem holy site imposed after Palestinian gunmen killed two policemen there (all times local):

Son of Cecil the lion killed in Zimbabwean hunt

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 12:38pm

Conservationists in Zimbabwe say the son of a lion named Cecil, whose 2015 killing prompted an international outcry, has also been fatally shot during a hunt.

UN slaps sanctions on 8 linked to Islamic State and al-Qaida

Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 12:12pm

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to impose sanctions against eight individuals and businesses linked to the Islamic State extremist group and al-Qaida in a wide-ranging resolution aimed at stepping up international efforts "to counter terrorism and terrorist financing."

Power-sharing deal between former foes taking shape in Gaza

Fares Akram and Mohammed Daraghmeh, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 11:01am

A power-sharing deal between two former arch foes is slowly taking shape in Gaza and could lead to big changes in the Hamas-ruled territory, including an easing of a decade-long border blockade.

Qatar suggests cyberattack emanated from a Gulf neighbor

Aya Batrawy and Fay Abuelgasim, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 11:01am

Qatari officials investigating a cyberattack that sparked a diplomatic crisis with four Arab countries said on Thursday their findings indicate the attack was coordinated with one of the countries, and that the United Arab Emirates had benefited the most from it.

The Latest: Turkey says it would reciprocate German threats

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 10:22am

The Latest on relations between Turkey and Germany (all times local):

UK's Liberal Democrats make Vince Cable party leader

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 10:02am

Former British Business Secretary Vince Cable has become the new leader of the Liberal Democrats in Britain.

Germany raises pressure on Turkey after activist jailed

Geir Moulson, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 9:52am

The German government increased pressure on Turkey Thursday after the jailing of a human rights activist, telling all citizens traveling there to exercise caution and threatening to withhold backing for German investments in Turkey.

Kuwait shuts Iran cultural mission, expels some diplomats

Hussain Al-Qatari, Associated Press  |  Posted   Jul 20th - 9:52am

Kuwait said on Thursday it is shutting the Iranian cultural mission and calling for a reduction in the number of Iranian diplomats stationed in the country, deepening a rift between the Gulf Arab states and Tehran.