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In our news wrap Monday, the White House announced that a U.S. combat mission in Iraq will wrap up by year’s end. The United Nations reports that more women and children have been killed in fighting in Afghanistan this year than in any similar period since 2009. Thomas Barrack, the former chair of the Trump inaugural committee, pleaded not guilty to illegally lobbying for the United Arab Emirates.
In the day's other news: The U.S. combat mission in Iraq will wrap up this year, more than 18 years after it began. President Biden made it official today during an Oval Office visit by the Iraqi prime minister.
The president said the U.S. focus will shift.
President Joe Biden:
It's just to be available to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arrives. But we are not going to be by the end of the year in a combat mission.
There are now 2, 500 U.S. troops in Iraq. It is unclear how many of them will remain.
In Afghanistan, the United Nations reports that more women and children have been killed in fighting this year than in any similar period since 2009. That's when the world body began a systematic count. Total civilian casualties in Afghanistan have risen 47 percent from a year ago, as U.S. forces complete a withdrawal.
China complained sharply about U.S. policy today at in-person talks outside Beijing. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with the Chinese foreign minister and vice foreign minister. The Chinese blamed Washington for what they called a stalemate in relations.
Xie Feng (through translator):
The meeting is another important high-level exchange, fundamentally, because some Americans portray China as an imagined enemy. They hope that, by demonizing China, they could somehow shift domestic public discontent over political, economic, and social issues and blame China. But they will never succeed.
The U.S. side called the meetings — quote — "a frank and open discussion."
Back in this country, a wildfire in Northern California, the largest in the state, is threatening more than 10,000 homes. The Dixie Fire was less than a quarter contained today. It had burned across 300 square miles and forced evacuations in several small communities.
Authorities in South Florida have identified the last of 98 people killed when a condominium tower collapsed in June. That news today was announced four weeks after the building came down in the middle of the night in Surfside. Search teams officially concluded their work at the site on Friday.
The man who chaired the Trump Inaugural Committee, Thomas Barrack, pleaded not guilty today to illegally lobbying for the United Arab Emirates. The billionaire arrived at federal court in New York and was met by a protester calling him a traitor. But he said he is — quote — "100 percent innocent."
On Wall Street, stocks had a quiet day, but all three major indexes still finished at new records. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 82 points to close at 35144. The Nasdaq rose three points. The S&P 500 added 10.
And at the Tokyo Olympics, an upset in the swimming pool. American Katie Ledecky, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, was beaten by Australian Ariarne Titmus in the women's 400-meter freestyle. Ledecky took silver.
Ledecky rebounded later, winning heats in other events and setting an Olympic record in one of them.
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