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Air strikes hit IS in eastern Syria...Taliban behead 12 in Afghanistan...US religious conservatives gather

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BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say they don't have concrete figures but there are reports of casualties in the latest raids on Islamic State group territory in eastern Syria. Warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition bombed oil installations and other facilities for a second consecutive day, looking to dent a $2 million a day revenue source for the extremists.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan official says a battle is raging with Taliban insurgents in eastern Afghanistan who have beheaded 12 civilians and torched some 60 homes. The official says the Taliban targeted security forces in the Ghazni province. He says the Taliban also detonated a car bomb in front of an encampment where some 40 police were posted but authorities haven't reached the area.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A gathering of religious conservatives meeting in Washington starting today is expected to hear prospective Republican presidential candidates promote "religious liberty" at home and abroad. But speakers at the annual Voters Value Summit are expected to skirt divisive social issues that have tripped up the GOP. President Barack Obama is likely to be the focus of their criticism.

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — A capital murder trial begins with opening statements today in Alabama for a man accused of killing two former Auburn University football players. Desmonte Leonard is charged with killing former Auburn players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips at a pool party in Auburn in June 2012. A third person was also killed and three people were wounded. Leonard claims self-defense.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Star NASCAR Race car driver Tony Stewart says in an interview with The Associated Press that his grief over his car hitting and killing driver Kevin Ward during a race left him too devastated to even get out of bed some days. Stewart, who spent three weeks in seclusion after the incident, says he knows "100 percent in my heart and in my mind" that the incident "was 100 percent an accident."

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