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    An unmanned drone dropped explosives on a base belonging to Iran-backed paramilitary forces in northern Iraq early Friday, Iraqi security officials and a military statement said, amid regional tensions between the United States and Iran. The statement said the drone dropped a grenade overnight on the base in Amirli, in Iraq's northern Salaheddin province, wounding two. No further details were provided. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The Iranian-backed mostly Shiite Muslim militias, in a statement, blamed the Islamic State group for Thursday's attack, which it said it confronted without providing details. An Iraqi official said IS militants were most likely behind the attack, ruling out a U.S.-led coalition or American attack. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have left Iraq's government, which is allied with both sides, in a delicate position. Iraq is home to U.S. bases and more than 5,000 U.S. troops, as well as dozens of Iran-supported militias who fought against IS militants alongside Iraqi government troops. Baghdad declared victory over IS in December 2017, after the last urban battle had been won following years-long battles that left its cities in ruins. But the group, which has used drones in its attacks in the past, is still waging a low-level insurgency particularly in rural areas.
  • China's star swimmer Sun Yang wants a public trial at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in September to defend himself against alleged doping rule violations that risk a ban from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In a statement provided to The Associated Press on Friday, lawyers for Sun said he will ask for an open process from the Lausanne-based sports court 'in order to be fully transparent and to clear his name.' The request follows details of an earlier verdict — by world swim body FINA's doping tribunal — being reported in an Australian newspaper on the eve of the world championships in South Korea where Sun is preparing to compete. 'It is CAS and CAS alone who should hear this appeal and Sun Yang objects to being tried by the Australian press,' said the lawyers, based in Beijing, Geneva and London, criticizing 'flagrant breaches of confidentiality.' The three-time Olympic champion's case could be the first in public at CAS since a European Court of Human Rights ruling last year gave athletes more rights to open the sports court to scrutiny. Sun faces an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The Montreal-based agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment about a possible public hearing. WADA is challenging a decision by swimming's governing body, FINA, just to warn him over incidents during a doping control team's attempts to take blood and urine samples at his home in China last September. Media reports this year claimed Sun and his entourage destroyed a blood sample in a dispute that escalated after he questioned officials' credentials. 'Worse, while he was fully cooperating, Sun Yang then noticed during the test that one of the unauthorized officers was secretly filming him without his permission,' said the statement from his lawyers. The dispute continued beyond 11 p.m. and his request for replacement officials from Swedish-based collection agency International Doping Tests and Management was denied, his lawyers claimed. 'The officers then decided to stop the testing and gave the blood samples back to Sun Yang,' the statement said. The case threatens the reputation and career of the first Chinese swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal. The 27-year-old freestyler won gold at each of the past two Olympics, in the 400 and 1,500 meters at the 2012 London Games and in the 200 at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Between those two Olympics, Sun served a three-month ban in 2014 for testing positive for a substance then classed as a stimulant. That case was conducted in relative secrecy in China and only belatedly announced by FINA. Sun faces a more severe sanction if CAS judges he broke doping rules a second time. In South Korea, Sun is seeking individual gold medals for a fifth straight world championships, which were unaffected by his previous ban. ___ More AP swimming: https://apnews.com/tag/Swimming and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • New York state parks are keeping their pools open longer to help people deal with a hot spell. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the extended hours will begin Friday and continue through Sunday at more than 30 parks statewide. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 90s around much of the state Friday as much of the nation deals with high heat. High temperatures are expected to linger through the weekend. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is also urging residents there to prepare for hot weather. The combination of heat and humidity could make it feel like 112 degrees. In Arkansas, officials say former New York Giants offensive lineman Mitch Petrus died of apparent heat stroke . He was 32. A coroner says he had worked outside all day at his family shop.
  • The United States is targeting a senior operative of the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group with sanctions as part of its pressure campaign against Tehran. The government is also issuing a $7 million reward for information leading to the capture of the operative, Salman Rauf Salman. The action by the Treasury Department falls on the 25th anniversary of an attack Salman is said to have coordinated on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The attack killed 85 people and wounded hundreds of others. The Treasury Department's action freezes all assets that Salman has within U.S. jurisdiction. Treasury says Salman is also accused of planning other terror attacks abroad from a base in Lebanon. On Thursday, Argentina's government branded Hezbollah a terrorist organization and froze its assets.
  • Virgin Orbit says it has been selected by the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force to provide launches of small satellites on short notice. The Long Beach, California, company announced Friday that the first launch for the ARTEMIS program could come as soon as 2020. Virgin Orbit is developing an air-launch system in which a rocket carried aloft under the wing of a special Boeing 747-400 is released and then fires its engine to insert payloads into orbit. The company recently conducted a key drop test over a desert range. Using the jet allows launches to be conducted at optimal locations around the world. Launches for the RAF will be conducted on as little as a week's notice. Virgin Orbit is a sister company of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.
  • A Florida sheriff launched an internal investigation Friday into wealthy financer Jeffrey Epstein's time spent out of jail after he was convicted of sexually abusing underage girls. The inquiry will focus on whether deputies assigned to monitor Epstein violated any rules or regulations while he was out on work release, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said in a statement. Under a 2008 plea deal, Epstein was allowed to spend most of his days at the office of his now-defunct Florida Science Foundation, which doled out research grants, rather than in the county jail. 'All aspects of the matter will be fully investigated to ensure total accountability and transparency,' Bradshaw said. Epstein, 66, was convicted of prostitution-related charges in the Florida case, which involved dozens of underage teenage girls. He served a 13-month sentence, registered as a sex offender and paid restitution to the victims. The deal also included a formerly secret nonprosecution agreement that helped Epstein avoid more serious federal charges that could have landed him in prison for life. Federal prosecutors in New York have charged Epstein with sex trafficking involving underage victims. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty, but a judge denied him bail on Thursday after determining he was a flight risk and posed a danger to the community. Epstein was allowed to spend most days at his office after a little more than three months in the county jail, according to Palm Beach County sheriff's records released to The Associated Press. Sex offenders are not eligible for Florida's work release program, but officials say Epstein was able to participate because he wasn't a registered sex offender until after he had already served his time. Under his 2008 plea deal, Epstein had his own driver to take him to and from his office, and he was allowed to be out of jail from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., six days a week. Deputies were assigned to the office to monitor who his visitors were. Logs show many visits from attorneys, paralegals and others involved in his legal cases. It wasn't clear if all visitors registered, however. Epstein was not allowed to leave the office unless he was returning to jail. Bradshaw said determining whether Epstein's wealth and high-powered legal team resulted in favoritism from the sheriff's department would be a key part of his investigation and a question that would be taken 'very seriously.' The New York charges against Epstein led to the resignation of President Donald Trump's labor secretary, Alex Acosta, who was Miami U.S. attorney when the nonprosecution agreement was signed. Two victims filed a federal lawsuit asking for the plea deal to be thrown out. The suit claims prosecutors did not consult with victims as required by law, and a federal judge earlier this year agreed there was a violation. _____ Follow Curt Anderson Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt
  • Is there life on planets outside our solar system? How did stars and galaxies form in the earliest years of the universe? How do black holes shape galaxies? Scientists are expected to explore those and other fundamental questions about the universe when they peer deep into the night sky using a new telescope planned for the summit of Hawaii's tallest mountain. But the Thirty Meter Telescope is a decade away from being built. And Native Hawaiian protesters have tried to thwart the start of construction by blocking a road to the mountain. They say installing yet another observatory on Mauna Kea's peak would further defile a place they consider sacred. Activists have fought the $1.4 billion telescope but the state Supreme Court has ruled it can be built. The latest protests could be the final stand against it. Here's a look at the telescope project and some of the science it's expected to produce. WHY WOULD THE TELESCOPE BE MORE POWERFUL? The large size of the telescope's mirror means it would collect more light, allowing it to see faint, far-away objects such as stars and galaxies dating back as long as 13 billion years. The telescope gets its name from the size of the mirror, which will be 30 meters (98 feet) in diameter. That's three times as wide as the world's largest existing visible-light telescope. Adaptive optics would correct the blurring effects of the Earth's atmosphere. The telescope would be more than 200 times more sensitive than current telescopes and able to resolve objects 12 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope, said Christophe Dumas, head of operations for the Thirty Meter Telescope. WHAT RESEARCH WOULD THE TELESCOPE DO? — Distant planets. During the past 20 years, astronomers have discovered it is common for planets to orbit other stars in the universe. But they don't know much about what those planets — called extrasolar planets or exoplanets — are like. The new telescope would allow scientists to determine whether their atmospheres contain water vapor or methane which might indicate the presence of life. 'For the first time in history we will be capable of detecting extraterrestrial life,' Dumas said. Dumas said the new telescope would use special optics to suppress the light of stars. He compared the technique to blocking a bright street light in the distance with your thumb then seeing insects circling in the fainter light below. — Black holes. Black holes at the center of most galaxies are so dense that nothing, not even light, can escape their gravitational pull. Andrea Ghez, a University of California, Los Angeles physics and astronomy professor who discovered our galaxy's black hole, said scientists believe black holes play a fundamental role in how galaxies are formed and evolve. But so far astronomers have only been able to observe this dynamic in detail in the Milky Way because the next galaxy is 100 times farther away. The Thirty Meter Telescope would enable scientists to study more galaxies and more black holes in greater detail. It may also help them understand gravity. Those who doubt the importance should note that GPS-enabled maps on cellphones rely on Einstein's theories about gravity. 'We think of these things as esoteric. But in fact, in the long run, they have profound impacts on our lives,' Ghez said. —Dark matter and dark energy. Humans see only about 4 percent of all matter in the universe, Dumas said. Dark energy makes up about three-quarters and dark matter the rest. Neither can be seen. 'We have no idea what dark matter is and no idea what dark energy is. That's a big dilemma in today's world,' Dumas said. Because mass deforms space and light, Dumas said the new telescope would make it possible to measure how dark matter influences light. It could do this by studying light from far-away galaxies. The light would take different paths to the telescope, generating different images of the same object. WHY MAUNA KEA? The weather at the summit of Mauna Kea tends to be ideal for viewing the skies. At nearly 14,000 feet, its peak is normally above the clouds. Being surrounded by the ocean means air flows tend to be smoother and it has the driest atmosphere of any of the candidate sites. The mountain is already home to 13 other telescopes. Ghez used the Keck Observatory there to find our galaxy's black hole. Other discoveries credited to those sites over the years include the first images of exoplanets and the detection of 'Oumuamua, the first object from interstellar space, which turned out to be a comet from a distant star system. NEXT GENERATION TELESCOPES Two other giant telescopes are being built in Chile, which also has excellent conditions for astronomy. The European Extremely Large Telescope will have a primary mirror measuring 39 meters, or 128 feet, in diameter. The Giant Magellan Telescope's mirror will be 24.5 meters, or 80 feet, in diameter. The Thirty Meter Telescope is the only one expected to be built in the Northern Hemisphere. Because different spots on Earth look out on different parts of the sky, the next-generation ground telescopes will ensure scientists are able to see the entire universe. The universities and national observatories behind the Thirty Meter Telescope have selected Spain's Canary Islands as a backup site in case they are unable to build in Hawaii.
  • The German government and parliament have petitioned the country's highest court to cut off public funding for a far-right party that authorities tried unsuccessfully to ban. The Interior Ministry said the application to cut funding for the National Democratic Party was sent Friday to the Federal Constitutional Court. Officials want to exclude it from a system granting political parties funds based on their performance in elections. It isn't clear when the court will decide. In 2017, the court ruled that the party was too politically insignificant to justify a ban but said its goals run counter to the German constitution. In a national election later that year, it received just 0.4% of the vote as far-right voters backed the nationalist, anti-migration Alternative for Germany party instead.
  • Tyreek Hill has been cleared to report to Chiefs training camp next week after the NFL said Friday it would not suspend the star wide receiver under its personal conduct policy after a domestic violence case involving his 3-year-old son. The league spent eight hours interviewing Hill late last month about the case, which came to light after a recording of Hill and his fiance, Crystal Espinal, aired on television station KCTV5. During the conversation, Espinal accused Hill of hurting their son. Police launched an investigation into potential child abuse, but the Johnson County, Kansas, district attorney announced he could not charge Hill because it was not clear how the boy had sustained his injuries. 'Based on the evidence presently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy,' the NFL said in a statement. 'He may attend Kansas City's training camp and participate in all club activities. He has been and will continue to be subject to conditions set forth by the District Court, Commissioner (Roger) Goodell, and the Chiefs, which include clinical evaluation and therapeutic intervention.' The Chiefs report to training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri, next week. Their first full-squad workout is scheduled for July 27. 'Based on the information provided to us by the league, we have decided it is appropriate for Tyreek to return to the team at the start of training camp,' the Chiefs said in a statement. 'The club fully supports the conditions for return laid out by the league and will continue to monitor any new developments in the case. We are glad to welcome Tyreek back to the team.' The league said that 'information developed in the court proceeding is confidential and has not been shared with us' and all law enforcement records are sealed. 'Local law enforcement authorities have publicly advised that the available evidence does not permit them to determine who caused the child's injuries,' the NFL said. The criminal investigation into Hill began in March, when police were called to his home twice and determined that his son had broken his arm. But it became public knowledge with KCTV5 aired an 11-minute recording made by Espinal in an airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in which she tells Hill that when the boy was asked about his injured arm he replied: 'Daddy did it.' Hill denied any role in what happened to the child, saying: 'He says Daddy does a lot of things.' And when Espinal says their son is 'terrified of you,' Hill replies: 'You need to be terrified of me, too.' The audio, allegations of abuse and subsequent investigation were enough for the Chiefs to announce in the midst of the NFL draft in April that they were suspending him from all team activities. Hill did not participate in any voluntary summer workouts or the team's mandatory minicamp. At the time, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said he was 'deeply disturbed' by the audio recording. The case took another turn earlier this month, when Kansas City radio station 610 KCSP aired the full audio of the argument from the Dubai airport. Hill not only denied hurting his son, he also denied hurting Espinal in 2015, when he pleaded guilty to a domestic assault and battery charge. Hill told Espinal that she 'ruined' his life with those allegations. He was dismissed from the team at Oklahoma State and ended up at West Alabama, where he underwent counseling and court-mandated service work. He also played for the football team, and the Chiefs ultimately decided to take a chance on him by selecting the speedster in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. Hill had stayed out of trouble since arriving in Kansas City, becoming not only one of the best wide receivers in the league but one of the most popular players on the team. Last season, he shattered a series of franchise receiving records by catching 87 passes for 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns. Hill's connection with young star quarterback Patrick Mahomes was a big reason why Kansas City won its third AFC West title and advanced to the conference championship game, where they took the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to overtime. Hill, who is also one of the most dynamic return men in football, was voted to his third consecutive Pro Bowl and voted first-team All-Pro. He also was in line for a big contract extension, though those talks were shelved as the Chiefs and the NFL considered his off-the-field situation. ___ AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner contributed. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • British lawmakers met the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator on Friday, seeking an iron-clad guarantee that the 1.3 million U.K. citizens in the bloc won't have their rights removed and their lives disrupted if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. The rights of U.K. citizens living in the 27 other EU nations, and those of the more than 3 million EU citizens in Britain, are one of the thorniest issues of the Brexit negotiations. Their rights to live, work and study are protected under an agreement struck between the two sides — but the divorce agreement has been rejected by Britain's Parliament, raising the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. The U.K. is due to leave the bloc on Oct. 31, and both men vying to take over as prime minister next week, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, say it's imperative that Brexit happens, with or without a deal. Conservative lawmaker Alberto Costa, who led the cross-party delegation that met EU negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, said 'if there's no agreement, there's no protection.' 'British nationals will potentially lose access to pension entitlement, lose access to health care entitlement, lose access to welfare entitlement and a whole gamut of other issues,' he said. Talks between the British government and the EU on guaranteeing citizens' rights if the U.K. crashes out of the bloc have failed to produce a breakthrough. EU leaders insist the withdrawal agreement can't be chopped into chunks — Britain must accept all of it or none. Some EU member states have said they will preserve Britons' rights, but only if the U.K. reciprocates. Britain says all EU citizens living in the country can stay, but has not enshrined that right in law. 'People assume it's fine, everything's dandy . citizens' rights, of course they're going to protect them, that goes without saying,' Costa said. 'But we have no extraterritorial powers to pass legislation to protect British citizens in the EU. That can only be done with an agreement with the EU.' The winner of the contest to become Britain's next prime minister — widely expected to be Johnson — is due to be announced Tuesday. Costa said whoever wins must ensure citizens' rights are upheld even if there is no Brexit deal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday reiterated the EU's long-held stance that it will not renegotiate the divorce agreement it struck with outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May. 'The withdrawal agreement is the withdrawal agreement,' she said. 'I trust very firmly that Britain will find its way,' May said in Berlin at her annual summer news conference. 'It is a proud, great nation and it will remain our partner even if Britain is no longer a member of the European Union.' ___ Jill Lawless in London and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this story. ___ Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and the Conservative Party leadership race at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit