Iraqis welcome US airstrikes...US warns Russia...Hawaii hit by first of 2 tropical systems

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By AP

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Updated: Fri, 08 Aug 2014 01:15:22 EST

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi and Kurdish officials are welcoming U.S. airstrikes and airdrops in northern Iraq, where a push by Islamic extremists has sent religious minorities fleeing. But one Kurdish lawmaker says limited action isn't enough. He says "strong and aggressive airstrikes" are needed against the militants, who have captured a string of northern towns and villages. The Pentagon says U.S. fighter jets today bombed a piece of artillery and a truck towing it after it fired near U.S. personnel outside the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil (ur-BEEL').

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States is warning Russia that any further intervention in Ukraine would be viewed as "an invasion." U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power delivered the warning today at a Security Council meeting on Ukraine. She says if Moscow wants to send aid to pro-Russia separatists, it should be delivered by neutral international organizations, not by Russians. NATO estimates that Russia has put 20,000 troops along its border with Ukraine.

HONOLULU (AP) — So far there are no reports of serious damage or injuries from the first tropical storm to hit Hawaii in 22 years. But Iselle (ee-SEHL') is still bringing wind and heavy rain to the island chain. And an even stronger storm is bearing down on Hawaii. Hurricane Julio, with winds of 120 miles an hour, is just 900 miles away. But forecasters expect it to weaken and pass north of the islands this weekend.

THE DALLES, Ore. (AP) — A wildfire burning in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge is threatening more than 700 homes. It's already destroyed one home and damaged two others. Residents of more than 140 homes have been told to evacuate and nearly 600 households have been put on alert in the community of Rowena near The Dalles (dalz). The blaze covers about 5 square miles and continues to spread despite the efforts of more than 400 firefighters.

HOUSTON (AP) — A 15-year-old shooting survivor has drawn the attention of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. Rowling's publicist says the British author has sent Cassidy Stay a private letter and package. The teen suffered a head wound last month when her parents and four siblings were shot to death in their suburban Houston home. At a public gathering days later, Stay paraphrased a quote by the headmaster of the Hogwarts school of wizards from the Harry Potter books, saying "Happiness can be found even in darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light."

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