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Abbas describes constructive phone call with Trump...Iraqi forces surround Mosul...2 found dead in house without power

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 12, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD' ah-BAHS') says President Donald Trump has assured him of his commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Abbas spoke today about what he described as a constructive phone call with Trump two days earlier. The official Palestinian news agency WAFA quotes Abbas as saying that Trump "asserted his full commitment to the peace process." Abbas says he is to meet Trump at the White House in "the near future."

BAGHDAD (AP) — A senior coalition official says Iraqi forces have completely surrounded the remaining western Mosul neighborhoods held by the Islamic State group. Brett McGurk tells reporters in Baghdad that the militants have lost more than 60 percent of the territory they once held in Iraq, and the Iraqi army is now in control of the last road leading out of Mosul. The operation to retake Mosul was launched in October. The cituy's east was declared "fully liberated" in January.

DETROIT (AP) — Two people have been found dead in a house without power in Michigan, and authorities believe they died of carbon monoxide poisoning while running a generator. More than a million homes and businesses in Michigan lost power during a windstorm last week. Utility companies say electricity has now been restored to more than 90 percent of them.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City and other coastal areas in the Northeast are under a blizzard watch. Forecasters say as much of 18 inches of snow could fall when a storm moves in late tomorrow. Other areas in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England are under a winter storm watch.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — King Kong is the winner in a battle of the beasts at the box office this weekend. "Kong: Skull Island" surpassed expectations by amassing $61 million in its first weekend in theaters, according to studio estimates. "Logan" took second place, down around 58 percent from its first weekend with $37.9 million. "Get Out" took third place with $21.1 million, pushing its sum to $111 million in just three weeks.

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