Spencer Platt, Getty Images
Iraqi forces pushed into a town to the southeast of the Islamic State-held city of Mosul on Saturday after a wave of militant attacks in and around the northern city of Kirkuk set off more than 24 hours of heavy clashes, with ongoing skirmishes in some areas.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter meanwhile arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit to meet with Iraqi commanders to discuss the offensive to retake Mosul, which the U.S. is supporting with airstrikes and advisers on the ground.
The Iraqi army said the 9th Division has pushed into the town of Hamdaniyah, also known as Qaraqosh and Bakhdida, and raised the flag over its central government compound, but the troops were likely still facing resistance in and around the town. Similar past announcements have often proved premature.
It is too early to determine who was responsible for the digital attacks that darkened much of the internet in the United States Friday, cyber experts and intelligence officials told NBC News. Some said evidence points to Russia, others proposed it was "internet vandalism." One clue could be a similar attack mounted against the Republic of Georgia eight years ago by Russian cybercriminals enlisted by a Russian intelligence agency. Twitter, Amazon, PayPal, Spotify and Reddit are some of the sites that were knocked out in the three "denial of service," or DDoS, attacks at about 7 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. Eastern Time. The attacks came largely via "smart" household appliances linked to the web, hit websites with more than 150,000 requests for information per second and were largely aimed at one company's internet infrastructure rather than specific websites.
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Hillary Clinton's campaign is increasingly preparing for the possibility that Donald Trump may never concede the presidential election should she win, a development that could enormously complicate the crucial early weeks of her preparations to take office. Aiming to undermine any argument the Republican nominee may make about a "rigged" election, she hopes to roll up a large electoral vote margin in next month's election. That could repudiate the New York billionaire's message and project a governing mandate after the bitter, divisive presidential race. Clinton's team is also keeping a close eye on statements by national Republican leaders, predicting they could play an important role in how Trump's accusations of electoral fraud might be perceived.
Mark Lennihan, AP
Police in New York say preliminary tests on a white powdery substance contained in an envelope that was sent to Hillary Clinton's campaign, forcing an office to be evacuated, is not harmful.
A spokesman for the New York Police Department says the envelope was found at Clinton's Manhattan office, were mail is received, around 5:30 p.m. Friday. It was then taken to the 11th floor of her Brooklyn headquarters.
The discovery of the suspicious substance caused that floor to be evacuated. The police spokesman says there have been no reports of illness or injury.
A third wave of denial-of-service attacks on a key piece of Internet plumbing was underway Friday afternoon, CNBC reported. Internet infrastructure company Dyn Inc. told CNBC reporter Eamon Javers that the third wave of attack was underway, causing more disruptions after dozens of the world's most popular websites were taken largely offline Friday morning. The White House said it was aware of the situation and that the Department of Homeland Security was looking into it. U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News Friday afternoon that they did not know who was responsible for the attacks, though one source said involvement by North Korea had been ruled out.
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Abortion became a topic in the debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for the first time Wednesday night when moderator Chris Wallace focused on access to “late-term” procedures.
“Well, I think it’s terrible,” Trump said. “If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.
“And, honestly, nobody has business doing what I just said, doing that, as late as one or two or three or four days prior to birth,” he said. “Nobody has that."
Abortion is one of the most polarizing social issues in America. A May 2016 Gallop poll showed that 29 percent of respondents believed it should be legal under any circumstances, 50 percent only under certain circumstances, and 19 percent illegal in all circumstances. Only 2 percent of those surveyed had no opinion.
Nati Harnik, AP
Hacked emails show Hillary Clinton's campaign wrestled with how to announce her opposition to construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline without losing the support of labor unions that supported to project.
Emails published this week by WikiLeaks show debate and confusion within the Clinton camp as it faced down the unexpectedly strong primary challenge by liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders, who opposed the pipeline.
As Clinton prepared to come out against the pipeline last year, her aides worried about how her shift in position would be perceived.
Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon asked in an email whether the candidate's "newfound position on Keystone" would be "greeted cynically and perhaps as part of some manufactured attempt to project sincerity?"
Donald Trump held three rallies in North Carolina and Pennsylvania on Friday in which he compared the inaccurate early predictions of Britain's "Brexit" to his own presidential campaign.
The Republican nominee, down in the polls, told crowds the U.S. presidential election would be "beyond Brexit," "Brexit plus" and even “Brexit times five." In June, voters in the U.K. voted to leave the European Union in a result that defied predictions.
Trump over the summer and in early fall has been fond of telling crowds he correctly predicted the outcome of that referendum, NBC News reports.
Trump also took aim at the media again Friday, calling them out for perpetuating a "rigged system" designed to keep him from the White House. "They're the most dishonest people," Trump said of the media. The crowds’ boos turned to chants of "CNN sucks."
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Bebeto Matthews, AP
The United Nations celebrated Wonder Woman's 75th birthday on Friday by naming the comic book character as its new Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Woman and Girls, despite frustration from both inside and outside the world organization that the spot should go to a real — and less sexualized — woman.
The carefully choreographed ceremony was marred by some 50 U.N. staffers protesting by the visitors' entrance to the U.N., who then went inside the Economic and Social Council chamber and silently turned their back to the stage during the opening speech, some with their fists in the air.
U.N. staffer Cass DuRant, who held a sign saying "Real Women Deserve a Real Ambassador," said the protesters "don't think that a fictitious comic book character wearing basically what looks like a Playboy-type bunny outfit is really the right message we need to send to girls or even boys for that matter."
Khalid Mohammed, AP
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Iraq Saturday to meet with his commanders and assess the progress in the opening days of the operation to retake the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.
His unannounced visit comes two days after a U.S. service member was killed outside Mosul, underscoring the risk that American troops are taking as they advise Iraqi forces in the fight. And it comes on the heels of meetings Carter had with Turkish leaders in Ankara Friday when he announced there "is an agreement in principle" for Turkey to play a role in the battle to retake Mosul, and that friction between Turkey and Iraq can be worked out.
This is Carter's third trip to Iraq this year, and he has overseen the steady increase in the number of U.S. forces deployed to the fight and the growth of America's effort to train and advise Iraqi troops. In his past two stops in Iraq, Carter announced White House decisions to increase the U.S. troop level there. There are no expectations that he will do that again this time.
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Arizona Dept. of Public Safety
State troopers say an emu crossed a Phoenix road, got to the other side and narrowly avoided getting hurt. Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr says the agency received reports Friday around 10 a.m. that an emu was on the loose on Interstate 10. According to Mehr, a responding trooper found the bird in the median.
NBC Bay Area/Rebecca Greenway
It's been called one of the most dangerous surf competitions in the world, and for the first time it will be a co-ed contest. This is a notable moment in the history of the Titans of Mavericks competition, which has never named a female winner but will include six women in an inaugural women's division for the first time. It was a sizable hurdle to jump for female big-wave surfers, as the all-male panel had not previously invited a woman to be an official competitor in its 17-year history.
Carolyn Kaster, AP
President Barack Obama said he's sad that one of his and the first lady's favorite traditions, musical night at the White House, ended Friday. Obama and his wife, Michelle, have reserved certain evenings over the past eight years to celebrate music that has helped shape America. They held big blowout concerts spotlighting classic, country, blues, Broadway, gospel, Motown, Latin and jazz either inside the White House or out on the lawn. The tradition ended Friday as Obama kicked off his final musical night, BET's "Love and Happiness" event in a tent on the South Lawn. He joked that he wouldn't be singing any Al Green — despite the concert title.