Live Coverage

Today's News: Oct. 23, 2016

The battle for Mosul continues, Donald Trump received more criticism for threatening to sue his female accusers, and more from across the United States and around the world.

Iraqi forces stationed south of Mosul, during an operation to attack Islamic State militants in the Iraqi city Thaier Al-Sudani / Reuters

—Iraqi government forces and Kurdish militia launched a new operation Sunday near Mosul, the Iraqi city that has been held by Islamic State militants since 2014.

—Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump vowed to take legal action against the women who have accused him of sexual assault or other similar behavior. “All of these liars will be sued once the election is over,” Trump said during a speech Saturday in Pennsylvania. He added later: “I look so forward to doing that.” More here.

—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).

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The End of Spain's Political Stalemate

Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s acting prime minister (Juan Medina / Reuters)

Spain's Socialist Party has agreed to allow the conservative Popular Party to form a new government, ending months of political stalemate that began late last year after an inconclusive election.

Socialist Party leaders decided Sunday not to block the election of Mariano Rajoy, the Popular Party’s leader, as prime minister. The Socialist Party, commonly known by the abbreviation PSOE, voted 139 to 96 in favor of abstaining from the parliamentary vote, which was scheduled for next weekend. The decision means Rajoy will remain in the office of prime minister, which he has held on an acting basis since December 2015. His Popular Party gained the most votes in national elections in December and June, but did not win an overall majority. PSOE came in second in both elections. Rajoy has served as acting prime minister since.

More from The New York Times on what’s next for Rajoy:

Mr. Rajoy will have to lead a minority conservative government that faces serious territorial and budgetary challenges. Spain has been threatened with a European Union fine for failing to meet deficit targets agreed with Brussels. And the separatist regional government in Catalonia has pledged to hold an independence referendum in 2017, despite fierce opposition from Madrid and Spanish courts.

PSOE’s decision allows the country to avoid a third election in less than a year. Earlier this month, PSOE forced out its leader, Pedro Sanchez, because he was opposed against a vote of abstention that would cement Rajoy's government.

At Least 13 Killed in California Bus Crash

The scene of the bus crash near Palm Springs, California, on October 23, 2016 (Sam Mircovich / Reuters)

At least 13 people were killed and more than 30 were injured Sunday in California when a tour bus collided with a tractor-trailer.

The accident occurred at about 5 a.m. local time on Interstate 10, near Palm Springs, police said. Most of the victims were sitting in the front of the bus, which officials say was traveling at “a significant speed” when it hit the back of the truck. Photos from the scene show the front of the bus was destroyed.

The cause of the collision is not yet known. The driver was among the fatalities.

At least 31 people were injured, police said. More on their conditions, from the Los Angeles Times:

Desert Regional Medical Center, which has the Coachella Valley’s only trauma center, received 14 adult patients, including five who were in critical condition, said public information officer Richard Ramhoff.

Eisenhower Medical Center received 11 adult patients, all with minor injuries, said public information officer Lee Rice.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital received five adult patients with minor injuries, including neck strain and cuts and abrasions, said nursing supervisor Stephen Williams.  

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.

The Qatar World Cup's First Construction Death

A football near the construction site of Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar (Naseem Zeitoon / Reuters)

A worker in Qatar has died during a construction accident at a stadium being built for the country's World Cup tournament in 2022.

The worker died Saturday morning at Al Wakrah Stadium, a 40,000-capacity venue scheduled to be completed by 2018, according to the AP. Officials did not identify the worker, but said his family has been notified. Qatar has previously reported three deaths at building sites for the soccer competition, but said those were not "work-related,"  

Human-rights groups have accused Qatar of abusing the labor force behind the tournament, mostly migrant workers from other countries. This spring, Amnesty International interviewed more than 200 mostly South Asian migrants and found that workers were threatened for complaining about poor working conditions and were underpaid or sometimes not paid at all. FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, has also received criticism; human-rights say the organization has ignored allegations of mistreatment of workers in Qatar.

Qatar is building and renovating eight new stadiums for the 2022 tournament, the first time the World Cup will be held in the Middle East.

The Fight for Mosul

Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched a new military offensive Sunday on a town near Mosul, the ISIS-held Iraqi city, the AP reports.

The groups have been battling Islamic State militants around Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, over the last week in an attempt to wrest control from the terror organization, which seized it more than two years ago. The operation involves more than 25,000 Iraqi ground forces, advised by U.S. special forces and backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Irbil Sunday to meet with Kurdish leaders and U.S. servicemembers, after visiting Baghdad on Saturday to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Carter praised the Kurdish forces, who are known as peshmerga, and acknowledged the casualties they’ve suffered in the fight for Mosul. More from the AP:

Peshmerga Brig. Gen. Halgord Hekmet, a spokesman for the Kurdish forces, told reporters that 25 of their troops have been killed since the battle to retake Mosul began and a "large number" had been wounded. Speaking through an interpreter, he said the peshmerga have had good coalition air support, but could use more military resources, especially armored vehicles.

He said that most of the fallen peshmerga were riding in regular cars and were more vulnerable. A second priority, he said, would be more devices to help detect roadside bombs.

The operation to retake Mosul from ISIS is expected to take weeks or months.