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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. In a sign of intensifying American military operations, the Pentagon said “the mother of all bombs” — the largest conventional bomb in the U.S. arsenal — had been dropped on a cave complex used by the Islamic State in Afghanistan.
The U.S. military is investigating a friendly fire case that killed 18 allied fighters in Syria. It was the third time in a month that American-led airstrikes had killed allies or civilians.
And a U.S. naval strike force is being joined by Japanese warships off the Korean Peninsula, amid signs that North Korea could be planning a nuclear test as early as Saturday. Above, Defense Secretary James Mattis.
2. Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, mounted a counterpropaganda campaign, asserting that videos of a chemical attack against his people showed child actors pretending to suffer and die.
Our analyst looks at the forces prompting Mr. Assad to use chemical weapons.
The attack has sent relations with Russia, Syria’s backer, to a new low.
3. President Trump has shifted on more than just Russia. This week he also embraced NATO: “I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”
And he determined that China is not a currency manipulator after all, spoke well of the formerly unnecessary Export-Import Bank and suggested he might not replace Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman.
4. A tough moment for Planned Parenthood: President Trump signed legislation aimed at giving states the ability to cut off federal funding for it and other groups that perform abortions.
A women’s rights expert warned of “very real and damaging consequences for millions of women and their families.”
Above, Mr. Trump headed to Mar-a-Lago for the holiday weekend.
5. The 69-year-old…