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More than 5.3 million vote early...Iraq resists help from Turkey...Turkey to expand operations in northern Syria

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Early voting is surging, less than three weeks before Election Day. As of today, more than 5.3 million votes have been cast, far ahead of the pace at this time in 2012. Balloting is underway in 34 out of 37 early-voting states, both in person and by mail. In all, more than 46 million people are expected to vote before Election Day — or as much as 40 percent of all votes cast.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Defense Secretary Ash Carter's push for Iraq to let Turkey play a role in the battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group has met with stiff resistance from Iraq's prime's minister. Haider al-Abadi (HY'-dahr ahl ah-BAH'-dee) says Iraqi forces will oust the militants from the northern city, and if help is needed Iraq will ask for it. Carter met with the Iraqi prime minister today in Baghdad, a day after telling reporters in Turkey there was "an agreement in principle" for Turkey to play a role in the Mosul battle.

BEIRUT (AP) — Turkey's president says his country will be expanding its operations in northern Syria, despite criticism from the international community. He says Turkey has "no choice" but to move into several northern cities to "prepare an area purged from terrorism." Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn) also says Turkey is willing to act jointly with the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Raqqa (RAH'-kah), but won't work with Syrian Kurdish militants.

LONDON (AP) — Hundreds of London protesters have left teddy bears outside the prime minister's office as they demanded a larger British role in ending attacks on civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo. They say the teddy bears represented thousands of children trapped in rebel-held areas of Aleppo targeted by Syrian government forces and their Russian allies.

TOKYO (AP) — The first woman to climb Mount Everest has died. Japanese media reports say Junko Tabei died of cancer Thursday at age 77. She reached the summit of the world's highest mountain in 1975. In 1992, she also became the first woman to complete the "Seven Summits," reaching the highest peaks of the seven continents. Japan's Kyodo News agency says Tabei scaled peaks in more than 60 countries.

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