Inside the battle to retake Mosul

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MONDAY 

October 17, 2016 

Military operations are officially underway to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, from ISIS. Democrats have raised over $13,000 to reopen a Republican Party office that was firebombed and vandalized. And how an online love affair ended with a trans man convicted of sexual assault.

 

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Inside the battle to take back Mosul from ISIS.

The long-awaited offensive to wrest Mosul from ISIS began early on Monday as Kurdish soldiers moved toward the militants down a dusty road.

The stakes for all sides are high. For ISIS, Mosul is the most populous and important city it holds. It was the first modern terrorist group to control its own state — and losing Mosul would set the stage for that state’s demise. For the Iraqi government, retaking Mosul is crucial to rebuilding the country.

The Mosul offensive will be the capstone of a long and expensive US effort against ISIS that has seen it arm and train local forces, launch thousands of airstrikes, and send US troops to the front lines. BuzzFeed News’ Mike Giglio reports from northern Iraq.

A Peshmerga convoy moves toward villages outside Mosul. Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

 

WE'RE KEEPING AN EYE ON

Donald Trump says “the election is absolutely rigged” — something supporters, including elected officials, have echoed.

In recent days, the Republican presidential nominee has grown ever more conspiratorial, repeatedly claiming in campaign appearances that the election is being “rigged” as part of a globalist conspiracy against him aimed at helping his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

The chair of the Republican National Lawyers Association called the rigged election claims a “possibility.” But House Speaker Paul Ryan pushed back and is “fully confident” the election will be carried out fairly, a spokesperson said.

More election stuff

Leaked polling doesn’t reveal a plot against President Barack Obama but does show Clinton’s weaknesses.

Sexual assault allegations: The Trump campaign plans to release “evidence” that refutes sexual assault allegations against the candidate, vice presidential nominee Mike Pence says.

The Republican campaign headquarters in North Carolina was firebombed and vandalized on Saturday. Police are investigating who is responsible. And Democrats have raised more than $13,000 to reopen the Republican office as soon as possible.

Trump has an unusually detailed plan to make student loans great again and wants drug tests before the next debate. How investors lost millions buying into the Trump brand. Melania Trump has had enough of Trump in this Saturday Night Live spoof. But Trump isn’t happy with SNL making fun of him.

 
 

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?

How an online love affair ended with a trans man convicted of sexual assault. 

Kyran Lee pleaded guilty to sexual assault after his girlfriend reported him to the police. This is one of several “gender fraud” cases in the UK that raise fundamental questions about identity and sexual consent. BuzzFeed News' J. Lester Feder reports from Gainsborough, England.

    Kyran told BuzzFeed News his story in May 2016. J Lester Feder / BuzzFeed News

     

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    • US–Russia relations: Diplomats in the US and Europe are worried that recent moves by Russia are increasing the chances for an unintentional confrontation. And meet the strip club owner who’s trying to end the new Cold War.

    • In tech: Airlines will confiscate your Samsung Galaxy Note7 if you try to fly with it. And Comcast, America's largest internet provider, is rolling out one-terabyte limits on internet subscriptions across the nation. Here’s what to do if the company caps your data.

    • Entertainment: A look at Kristen Stewart’s complicated new appeal. And RuPaul’s Drag Race was always about sisterhood, but with a more mainstream audience comes an intense kind of scrutiny, both internally and externally. Warning: spoilers!

    Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

     
     

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