NPR News

Residents of Iraq's Kurdish region cast their votes today in a controversial independence referendum seen as a way to signal the ethnic minority's desire for self-determination, despite strong opposition from regional and international powers.

The historic poll, which is nonbinding, took place in three northern Kurdish provinces of Iraq, as well as in disputed areas such as the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

The Supreme Court has taken two cases involving President Trump's controversial travel ban off its calendar, after the White House issued a revised and expanded ban. The justices ordered both sides to file new briefs over whether parts of the issue are now moot.

"The cases are removed from the oral argument calendar, pending further order of the Court," the justices wrote in an order issued Monday.

Parties in the two cases — Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project and Trump v. Hawaii — have until next Thursday, Oct. 5, to file their briefs.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana defended their namesake health care bill Monday even as the measure ran into potentially fatal opposition from a third Senate colleague.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, came out against the bill, joining fellow Republicans Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona. That leaves the GOP majority at least one vote short of the 50 votes needed to pass the bill over unified Democratic opposition.

A federal judge has sentenced disgraced former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner to 21 months in prison for sending obscene messages to a 15-year-old girl last year.

The sexting case played a role in the 2016 presidential election. Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, who has filed for divorce, was a top aide to Hillary Clinton.

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