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The number of civilians escaping the fighting in Mosul has increased significantly as battles intensify between U.S.-backed Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, and some have been exposed to chemical agents, the Red Cross said on Friday.

In his first major speech to Congress on Tuesday, President Donald Trump assured U.S. allies that he is committed to NATO, but some of his fellow Republicans have been blocking a Senate vote to expand the alliance for months.

U.S.-backed Iraqi army units on Wednesday took control of the last major road out of western Mosul that had been in Islamic State's hands, trapping the militants in a shrinking area within the city, a general and residents said.

Britain's upper parliamentary house dealt a defeat to Theresa May's government on Wednesday, voting for a change to her Brexit plan that says she can only trigger divorce talks if she promises to protect EU citizens' rights.

Russia on Tuesday cast its seventh veto to protect the Syrian government from United Nations Security Council action, blocking a bid by Western powers to impose sanctions over accusations of chemical weapons attacks during the six-year Syrian conflict.

Mexico will not accept tariffs or quotas when renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States, the foreign minister said on Tuesday, the latest challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump's proposals to erect trade barriers.

President Donald Trump's nominee to be the director of national intelligence pledged on Tuesday to support thorough investigation of any Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, seeking to reassure lawmakers worried that partisan politics might interfere with a probe.

The U.N. Security Council is set to vote on Tuesday on a bid by Western powers to ban the supply of helicopters to the Syrian government and to blacklist Syrian military commanders over accusations of toxic gas attacks, despite a pledge by Russia to veto the move.

Senior officials from the United States, South Korea and Japan discussed ways to further restrict funding for North Korea's weapons programs during talks in Washington on Monday, the countries said in a joint statement.

Iraqi forces seized a damaged Mosul bridge on Monday which could link up their units on either side of the Tigris river, as thousands of civilians fled the fighting for Islamic State's remaining stronghold in the west of the city.