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Syria talks in NY ... Chicago police officer in court ... New Orleans City Council votes to remove Confederate monuments

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UNDATED (AP) — The U.S., Russia and a collection of Middle Eastern and European countries are gathering with Syrians today to find a solution to the crisis in Syria. The nations meeting in New York will talk about ending two wars - the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad and the invasion by the Islamic State group. But Iraq, which is taking part in the discussions, says it doesn't see any agreement being reached on some key issues, including what opposition groups should be included in upcoming peace talks.

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago police officer accused of murder in the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald is expected to appear in Cook County criminal court. Today's hearing follows Jason Van Dyke's indictment by a grand jury earlier this week. Prosecutors say Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times as the teen, armed with a knife, walked away from police.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans' City Council has voted to remove prominent Confederate monuments along some of the city's busiest streets. The council's 6-1 vote Thursday allows the city to remove four monuments, including a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that's stood at the center of a traffic circle for 131 years. Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed the new ordinance into law shortly after the vote.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A former chaplain at an Arkansas women's prison is accused of coercing inmates into having weekly sexual encounters with him. Prosecutors say 67-year-old Kenneth Dewitt had sex with three inmates, telling them that no one would believe them if they told prison officials. Dewitt is charged with 50 counts of third-degree sexual assault.

OAXACA, Mexico (AP) — There are no reports of damage or injuries following a magnitude-6.4 earthquake in Southern Mexico. Thursday afternoon's quake was felt in the states of Oaxaca (wuh-HAH'-kah), Chiapas, and Tabasco, and it prompted some tourists and residents to rush out of buildings in the colonial city of Oaxaca.

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