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Pentagon: Campaign against militants could last years...No shelling in Ukraine...Ending deforestation

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says more airstrikes can be expected against the Islamic State extremist group in Syria and Iraq. The director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff calls the strikes the beginning of a "sustainable, persistent" campaign that could last years. Lt. Gen. William Mayville also says U.S. forces carried out a separate action in Syria against al-Qaida militants known as the Khorasan Group who were nearing "the execution phase of an attack" either in Europe or the United States.

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Azerbaijan says it has arrested 26 of its citizens accused of joining militant groups in Syria, including the Islamic State. The former Soviet state's National Security Ministry says those arrested are accused of involvement in illegally armed groups, trafficking of weapons and explosives, and other charges that could carry life imprisonment. Azerbaijan is a mostly Muslim nation on the Caspian Sea. It has been a staunch U.S. ally, contributing troops to the U.S.-led missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Last night was the first night in weeks with no shelling in eastern Ukraine. The spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council says both government troops and Russian-backed rebels are now sticking to a cease-fire that has been repeatedly violated since it went into effect earlier this month. Rebels say they are pulling back heavy artillery from front-line positions, in response to similar moves by Ukraine's army.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Three months after announcing the U.S. would largely comply with an international treaty banning land mines, the Obama administration has carved out an exception for its stockpile of the weapons on the Korean Peninsula. The State Department says protecting South Korea from a potential invasion by the North remains a "paramount concern."

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Dozens of countries are setting a deadline for ending global deforestation. The United States, Canada and the entire European Union are among those who have signed on to a declaration to cut in half forest loss by 2020 and eliminate deforestation entirely by 2030. However, one key player says it won't join. Brazil's environment minister tells The Associated Press that her country was not consulted and the text could clash with Brazil's national laws, which allow for managed felling of the Amazon and other forests.

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