1. The United Nations Security Council on Friday pushed for a bombing campaign in Iraq against Islamic State militants and associated extremist groups to be strengthened and expanded. The 15-member Security Council "stressed that [the group] must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out."
2. A recent report published in the Middle East Review of International Affairs, or MERIA, states that Islamic State militant used chemical weapons, including mustard gas, against Kurdish fighters in the Syrian border town of Kobani during their first attempt to capture the town in July.
3. The Palestinian UN ambassador has said that his government wants the UN Security Council to vote on a resolution before the end of the year that would set November 2016 as the deadline for Israeli troops to withdraw from all Palestinian territories.
4. Chinese coastguard ships have entered waters off disputed islands in the East China Sea a day after prime minister Shinzo Abe angered Beijing by sending an offering to a controversial war shrine.
5. The heavens are hosting an event this weekend that occurs once in a million years or so. A comet as hefty as a small mountain will pass mind-bogglingly close to Mars on Sunday, approaching within 87,000 miles at a speed of 126,000 mph.
6. European leaders expressed hope Friday of solving the bloody Ukraine conflict following "positive" talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, only for the Kremlin to berate them as out of touch with reality. A Kremlin spokesman said, "Unfortunately, some participants ... demonstrated complete unwillingness to understand the reality in southeastern Ukraine... There are plenty of disagreements, plenty of incomprehension."
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