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PARIS (AP) — Diplomats from around the world are pledging to fight Islamic State militants "by any means necessary." The declaration came from 24 nations taking part in a conference in Paris on how to deal with the extremists in Syria and Iraq. Two foes of the Islamic State group -- Iran and the United States -- have ruled out coordinating their efforts. The U.S. is leaving open the possibility of new talks with Iran later this week, though it says there won't be any military cooperation.
WASHINGTON (AP) — As members of Congress prepare for votes on arming and training Syrian rebels, some are calling for tougher action against the Islamic State extremists -- while others are worried about entanglement in a new war. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel briefs House and Senate committees tomorrow and Thursday about the key element of President Barack Obama's new Mideast counterterror strategy. Secretary of State John Kerry also appears before lawmakers later this week.
GENEVA (AP) — A migrant organization says about 500 migrant workers -- Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians and Sudanese -- are believed to have died after their boat was rammed and sank off the coast of Malta last week. The International Organization for Migration says the group was on a perilous trip from an Egyptian port, seeking a better life in Europe, when the boat was overtaken by human traffickers, who rammed the vessel carrying the migrants. Nine people are known to have survived.
POLLOCK PINES, Calif. (AP) — Fire officials say one of two wildfires threatening homes in California grew by hundreds of acres overnight. The fire about 60 miles east of Sacramento has forced the evacuation of 133 homes. It grew by about 900 acres overnight to a little more than 6 square miles. It's 10 percent contained. A second fire, near a foothill community south of the entrance to Yosemite National Park in central California, prompted authorities to evacuate about 1,000 residents. Flames damaged or destroyed 21 structures after the fire began yesterday afternoon. It's 20 percent contained.
NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft will acquire the maker of the popular game Minecraft for $2.5 billion. The technology company said it will buy the Swedish company, maker of the game that lets users build in and explore a virtual world. It's been downloaded 100 million times on PCs alone since its launch in 2009. It is the most popular online game on Xbox, and the top paid app for Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating system in the U.S.
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