UPDATE 1-Kremlin says Islamic State leader’s death a boost for Trump if true

The Kremlin said on Monday that U.S. President Donald Trump will have made a major contribution to the fight against international terrorism if a U.S. assertion that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead is true. Trump on Sunday announced that Baghdadi had killed himself during a daring overnight raid by elite U.S. special operations forces in Syria and thanked Russia, among others, for its support. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to say on Monday if the United States had informed Russia about the operation in advance or provide other details.

Congresswoman’s exit prompts question of equity amid scandal

The resignation of a female Democratic congresswoman over a consensual, sexual relationship with a campaign aide has sparked questions about whether women are held to higher standards in public life. At the center of the controversy is Katie Hill, a first-term lawmaker from California and a rising Democratic Party star. In a video released Monday, Hill said she was stepping down because she was “fearful of what might come next” following the online publication of explicit pictures that outed her relationship with a female staffer.

Ex-CIA spy flees from Italy to U.S. fearing for her safety: paper

A former U.S. spy, pardoned by Italy in connection with the CIA kidnapping of a terrorism suspect in Milan, has fled from Italy to the United States fearing for her safety, Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera on Sunday quoted her as saying. Sabrina de Sousa is one of 26 people convicted by Italy in absentia over the 2003 abduction of Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, but the only one to spend any time in prison for the operation, in which she denies involvement. De Sousa was still due to carry out community service in Italy until next year after the Italian president commuted her four-year prison sentence but she decided to flee the country after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and CIA Director Gina Haspel visited Rome in October, Il Corriere said.

The Latest: California governor declares statewide emergency

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a statewide emergency as wildfires and extreme weather conditions forced almost 200,000 people from their homes. The flames came dangerously close to homes in Vallejo. In the south, a wildfire in the Santa Clarita area north of Los Angeles has destroyed 18 structures, threatened homes and critical infrastructure.

‘Russians don’t surrender’: ‘agent’ Maria Butina arrives in Moscow

Maria Butina clutched bouquets of flowers and exclaimed that “Russians don’t surrender” as she arrived in Moscow on Saturday after serving nine months in a US jail for acting as a Russian government agent. Butina flew into Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after being deported from Miami following her release on Friday, AFP journalists said. “I didn’t give up because I know I simply didn’t have the right,” Butina told a waiting crowd of journalists.