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Monday airstrikes in Syria...New Afghan president...Pro-democracy protests continue in Hong Kong

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BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say the U.S.-led coalition has carried out several airstrikes targeting areas controlled by the Islamic State in northern and eastern Syria. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says overnight air raids struck four provinces, including Aleppo and Raqqa. And activists say also targeted was the entrance to Syria's largest gas plant, Conoco in Deir el-Zour.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. officials say they expect Afghanistan's new president to sign a security agreement to allow about 10,000 American troops to stay in the country after the international combat mission ends Dec. 31. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai (ahsh-RAHF' gah-NEE' ah-mahd-ZEYE') was sworn in today as Afghanistan's new leader, replacing Hamid Karzai, in the country's first democratic transfer of power since then 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban.

HONG KONG (AP) — Pro-democracy protesters are expanding their rallies throughout Hong Kong today, and are defying calls to disperse. Police officers have tried to negotiate with protesters camped out near the Hong Kong government headquarters that was the scene of tear gas-fueled clashes the evening before. The mass protests are the strongest challenge yet to Beijing's decision last month to reject open nominations for candidates for Hong Kong's leader. Candidates must continue to be hand-picked by Beijing.

PHOENIX (AP) — Jury selection is set to begin today in the penalty retrial of Jodi Arias, who was convicted of the brutal murder of boyfriend Travis Alexander. Arias acknowledges killing Alexander in 2008 at his suburban Phoenix home but claims it was self-defense. He was stabbed nearly 30 times, had his throat slit and was shot in the head. The previous jury was deadlocked on Arias' punishment.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Officials in Somerset County, New Jersey say they're investigating the "circumstances surrounding the deaths" of the president of a major southern New Jersey hospital and his wife. Seventy-two-year-old John Sheridan and his 69-year-old wife Joyce were found in their home after fire broke out early Sunday. Sheridan was president and CEO of Cooper University Health Care. Authorities have not said what sparked the fire.

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