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IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — The Latest on the developments in Iraq where Iraqi forces and their allies launched a major offensive this week to retake Mosul, the country's second-largest city from the Islamic State group (all times local):
NEW YORK (Reuters/IFR) - The dramatic shift to online shopping that has crushed U.S. department stores in recent years now threatens the investors who a decade ago funded the vast expanse of brick and mortar emporiums that many Americans no longer visit. Some $128 billion of commercial real estate loans - more than one-quarter of which went to finance malls a decade ago - are due to refinance between now and the end of 2017, according to Morningstar Credit Ratings. Wells Fargo estimates that about $38 billion of these loans were taken out by retailers, bundled into commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and sold to institutional investors.
GENEVA (Reuters) - Islamic State militants have taken 550 families from villages around Mosul and are holding them close to Islamic State locations in the Iraqi city, probably as human shields, a spokeswoman for the U.N. human rights office said on Friday. U.N. spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani, citing "corroborated information" from the area, said the office was also investigating reports that Islamic State militants had killed 40 civilians in one village. (Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Catherine Evans)
EU leaders backed down on Friday from an explicit threat of sanctions against Russia over the bombing of Aleppo but warned that they would consider "all available options" if atrocities in Syria continue. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi demanded that any mention of possible punitive measures against Moscow over the Syrian carnage should be removed from a statement issued after a summit in Brussels. The climbdown underscored the deep divisions between the 28 European Union leaders as they tried to thrash out a long-term strategy on their increasingly bellicose eastern neighbour.