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Iranian commander killed in Iraq...No sign of missing plane...Malaria toll rises amid Ebola outbreak

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 28, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.



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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's Revolutionary Guard says one of its senior commanders has been killed in a battle against the Islamic State extremist group in Iraq. The Guard says the general was on an "advisory mission" assisting Iraqi troops and Shiite volunteers defending the city of Samarra, which is home to a major Shiite shrine. The general (Brig. Gen. Hamid Taqavi) is believed to be the highest-ranking Iranian military officer to have been killed in Iraq while battling the Islamic State group.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Aircraft and ships have spent several hours searching the Java Sea, but so far have turned up no sign of AirAsia Flight 8501. It disappeared today with 162 people on board. In his last communication with air traffic control, officials say the pilot "asked to avoid clouds by turning left" and ascending to 34,000 feet. Night has fallen in the region, and the air search has been suspended. However, some ships are continuing the search overnight.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A rescue operation continues in the Adriatic sea, where a ferry carrying about 470 people caught fire off the Greek island of Corfu this morning. Passengers have been trapped on the top decks as gale-force winds and choppy seas hamper the evacuation. The Italian Coast Guard says merchant ships have lined up to form a barrier to protect the ferry and facilitate rescue. So far 117 people have been transported to safety.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The mayor of Flagstaff, Arizona, calls it "heartbreaking to lose one of our officers." Officer Tyler Stewart was looking for a suspect in a domestic violence case yesterday, when the man fired several shots at him. The suspect, identified as 28-year-old Robert Smith, then shot himself and was pronounced dead at the scene. The 24-year-old police officer was taken to a hospital in critical condition but later died. Police say investigators do not believe Stewart fired any shots in the incident.

GUECKEDOU, Guinea (AP) — West Africa's fight to contain Ebola is hampering the campaign against malaria. The preventable and treatable disease is claiming many thousands more lives than the dreaded virus. Nets for Life Africa is a New York-based charity that provides insecticide-treated mosquito nets. It says some 15,000 people in Guinea died from malaria last year. In comparison, about 1,600 people in Guinea have died from Ebola.

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The Associated Press

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