Delaware Public Media

Alison Meuse

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Three years ago, the Islamic State overran large swaths of Iraq and Syria, and soon declared a caliphate that straddled the border between the two countries. Today, the group's physical caliphate is declining — and the group is preparing its base of fighters for a future under siege.

One of the ways it is doing that is through its musical propaganda.

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In Iraq, the U.S.-led coalition has admitted — for the first time — to using white phosphorus during operations in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

"We have utilized white phosphorus to screen areas within west Mosul to get civilians out safely," New Zealand Brig. Gen. Hugh McAslan tells NPR. He estimates that around 28,000 civilians have managed to make the dangerous crossing out of Islamic State territory in the past few days alone.

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On his visit last month to Saudi Arabia, President Trump devoted special attention to the U.S. alliance with Bahrain, a major non-NATO ally that is home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

In the past day, countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and the Maldives have cut ties with Qatar, citing terrorism concerns. The severance in relations affects air transport, trade and — more crucially for the U.S. — efforts to unify Arab allies.

In Lebanon, the LGBT community has made important strides in recent years. A series of court rulings have poked holes in a law that essentially criminalizes homosexuality. This has encouraged activists to push for greater rights.

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Gay rights activists in Lebanon have made strides in recent years, even if the strides don't always sound that big by Western standards. NPR's Alison Meuse reports from Beirut on Pride week.

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