IRBIL, Iraq — Islamic State gunmen overran a former U.S. military base early Friday and killed or captured hundreds of Iraqi government troops who had been trying to retake Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, the worst military reversal Iraqi troops have suffered since the Islamist forces captured nearly half the country last month.
The defeat brought to an end a three-week campaign by the government in Baghdad to recapture Tikrit, which fell to the Islamic State on June 11. Military spokesmen earlier this week had confidently announced a final push to recapture the city.
Instead, Islamic State forces turned back the army’s thrust up the main highway Wednesday. Beginning late Thursday, the Islamist forces stormed Camp Speicher, a former U.S. military base named for a pilot who disappeared during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and overwhelmed the troops there.
Berlusconi wins appeal
ROME — An appeals court in Milan on Friday overturned the conviction of the former Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, for paying for sex with a minor, and revoked his seven-year prison sentence and a lifetime ban from holding public office.
Mr. Berlusconi, 77, was found guilty just over a year ago of paying for sex with a young woman named Karima el-Mahroug, nicknamed “Ruby Heart-Stealer,” when she was still a minor, and abusing his office to cover it up.
BEIJING — Day after day, the gory confessions spill out from China’s newspapers — rape, murder, beheadings, even a plot to infect villagers’ chopsticks and kitchen knives with typhoid bacteria. The crimes were committed by Japanese soldiers seven decades ago, but the stories are being dusted off for a new era of confrontation.
The confessions — appearing one a day, for 45 days — are part of a relentless drumbeat of anti-Japanese propaganda here. The campaign is partly timed to coincide with the 77 th anniversary this month of the start of China’s war with Japan, but it is also part of a longer war of words with Beijing’s main Asian rival. The campaign is supposed to force Japan to come to terms with its wartime past, but it is also meant to inspire domestic nationalism and bolster the Communist Party’s credentials as defenders of the Chinese people
CNN reassigns reporter
A CNN journalist on the Israel-Gaza border who created controversy Thursday when she tweeted that Israelis who could be heard cheering while a presumed rocket was landing in Gaza were “scum” has been reassigned.
Diana Magnay has been moved to Moscow, a CNN spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times in an email Friday.
Ms. Magnay, in a statement, apologized for the tweet.
Nigerian civilians killed
JOHANNESBURG — Nigerian militants attacked a village in northeastern Nigeria on Friday, killing many civilians, according to local officials and residents cited in Nigerian media.
The gunmen attacked Damboa, about 50 miles south of Maiduguri, throwing explosives into houses, burning buildings, torching the market and shooting civilians randomly, according to the reports.
There were conflicting accounts of how many died, with some reports saying that at least 21 people were killed. The attack was widely attributed to the Islamist group Boko Haram, which has carried out attacks across northern Nigeria.
’Glee’ must change name
LONDON — Glum news for “Glee” — Britain’s High Court ruled Friday that the musical TV show must change its name because it breaches the trademark of a chain of comedy clubs.
A judge told Twentieth Century Fox that it had to re-name the series in Britain, though the order won’t take effect until an appeal has been heard.
The studio was sued by Comic Enterprises, which operates a string of venues called The Glee Club.
-- Compiled from wire services