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Hajj and some black American experiences

- Associated Press

As Shahidah Sharif, an African-American Muslim, joined millions of fellow pilgrims from around the world on the hajj this year, she felt a renewed connection. To her own “blackness,” she says, but also to humanity as a whole.

Without clearer American leadership and backing, said Awan Riak, a top adviser to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, the cycle of violence that has gripped the country since it achieved independence will only continue.

U.S. has obligation to support struggling South Sudan, top diplomat says

- The Washington Times

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: The struggling government of South Sudan says the U.S. must do more to support the democracy it helped create in the nation four years ago, asserting that the Obama administration and the international community are unfairly blaming the leadership in Juba for dragging its feet on a peace deal with rebels in the country’s civil war.

Afghan National Army soldiers arrive to start an operation soon, outside of Kunduz city, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 30. The U.S. military says it has conducted two more airstrikes overnight on Taliban positions around a northern Afghan city seized by the insurgents this week. (Najim Rahim via AP) ** FILE **

6 U.S. airmen among at least 11 dead in Afghan plane crash

- Associated Press

A U.S. Air Force C-130J military transport plane crashed overnight at an air base in eastern Afghanistan, killing six American airmen and five civilians on the aircraft, the U.S. military said Friday.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, said the "doc fix" would cost taxpayers a net $141 billion over the next decade, and would bring Congress disrepute. (Associated Press)

Obama administration vows no ‘shortcuts’ for Syrian refugees

- The Washington Times

Obama administration officials vowed there will be no “shortcuts” in admitting tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, though they admitted to Congress Thursday they won’t be able to do the kinds of thorough checks like accessing local databases or visiting neighborhoods to verify applicants are who they say they are.

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Most arguments dismissed in lawsuit over US-Canada bridge

- Associated Press

A judge dismissed most arguments Wednesday aimed at blocking a new bridge between Detroit and Canada in a lawsuit brought by the owner of the existing Ambassador Bridge, but left standing one challenge that could delay construction.

Argentina intensifies effort to get ex-spy chief, blasts US

- Associated Press

Argentina on Wednesday intensified efforts to track down a former spy chief who reportedly has taken refuge in Miami, with top government officials saying they plan to summon the American ambassador and accusing U.S. authorities of stonewalling.

GOP senator delays 22nd State Dept. nominee in email dispute

- Associated Press

The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he is delaying another one of President Barack Obama's nominees to the State Department to protest what he calls the administration's continued failure to respond to inquiries about the department's use of private emails and other questions.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (Associated Press/File)

Big-name Clinton campaign donors keep distance from foundation celebration

- The Washington Times

There was some overlap between the guest list at this week's annual Clinton Global Initiative summit in New York and the list of supporters for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign. But the more telling development was how many no-shows there were -- as Mrs. Clinton's biggest backers apparently stayed away in an attempt to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Amid Taliban gains, US military favors longer presence

- Associated Press

With the Taliban gaining new ground, U.S. military commanders are arguing for keeping at least a few thousand American troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, a move that would mark a departure from President Barack Obama's current policy.

In this June 2, 2015, file photo, Yolanda Alvarez Antunez holds up an image of her husband, Luis Alberto Ramirez Castillo, in Iguala, Mexico. Her husband was 54 years old when he was kidnapped by armed men outside of his home on Jan. 10, 2013. While trying to pay for the ransom, Yolanda herself was taken by the kidnappers and had to pay extra to be freed. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

A grandmother's ordeal in the hands of Mexican kidnappers

- Associated Press

More than 25,000 Mexicans have disappeared in recent years, and a lucky few have survived kidnappings. Most survivors are unwilling to tell their stories. Yolanda Alvarez Antunez is one of the few to step forward.

President Obama talks with Cuban President Raul Castro before a bilateral meeting, Tuesday at the United Nations headquarters in New York. (Associated Press)

Castro's speech spotlights divide with U.S.

- The Washington Times

President Obama hailed a new chapter in the U.S.-Cuba relationship this week at the United Nations, but analysts say realities on the ground on the communist island -- and the continued "Cold War rhetoric" of Cuban President Raul Castro -- demonstrate that the easy part of mending the bilateral relationship frozen since the early 1960s is now over.