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AP Top News at 9:42 a.m. EDT

Fallen soldier's widow: 'Nothing to say' to Trump
MIAMI (AP) - The pregnant widow of a fallen U.S. soldier on Monday contradicted President Donald Trump's account of his phone call about her husband's death and said what he told her "made me cry even worse." Myeshia Johnson told ABC's "Good Morning America" in an interview that Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson was practically a member of their family and was among a group of people listening to Trump's call on a speaker phone as they drove to receive Sgt. La David Johnson's body. "The president said that he knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyway," Johnson said.


At least 67 civilians found dead in Syria town taken from IS
BEIRUT (AP) - The bodies of at least 67 Syrian civilians, many summarily killed by the Islamic State group, have been discovered in a central town in Syria retaken from IS by government troops over the weekend, the Syrian government and activists said Monday. A senior Syrian official described the attack as a "shocking massacre," saying the search and documentation of those killed in the town of Qaryatayn, in Homs province, is still under way. The news of the gruesome find began to emerge first late on Sunday. The number of bodies was likely to climb. Some were shot in the street as IS militants retreated from the town, gunned down because they were suspected of working with the governments, according to activists.


Trump tweets that 401(k) contributions 'safe' in tax plan
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump promised Monday there will be "no change" to tax incentives for the popular 401(k) retirement programs. "This has always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works, and it stays!" Trump tweeted. The president appeared to be responding to a recent report in The New York Times that Republican lawmakers were considering limiting the amount workers could save in 401(k) retirement accounts. He tweeted: "There will be NO change to your 401(k)." House Republicans will be working to pass a budget this week so they can turn their attention to tax reform.


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McCain issues veiled criticism of Trump's Vietnam deferment
WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican Sen. John McCain, a former Navy pilot and prisoner of war during Vietnam, issued a veiled criticism of President Donald Trump's medical deferments that kept him from serving in the U.S. military during the conflict. In an interview with C-SPAN that aired Sunday, the six-term Arizona lawmaker lamented that the military "drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur." One of Trump's five draft deferments came as a result of a physician's letter stating he suffered from bone spurs in his feet.


Sgt. Bergdahl faces life in prison for endangering comrades
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will appear Monday before a military judge who will determine his punishment for endangering comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan. Before delivering his sentence, the judge will have to resolve a last-minute defense argument that new comments by President Donald Trump have tainted the case. Bergdahl faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty last week to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Prosecutors made no deal to cap his punishment, so the judge has wide leeway to decide his sentence after a hearing expected to take several days.


Tillerson makes unannounced side trip to Afghanistan
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan. Tillerson visited Bagram Air Base for talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and other senior officials to outline for them the Trump administration's new South Asia policy. He also underscored the ongoing U.S. commitment to stabilizing the war-ravaged country but stressed it is "conditions based," meaning that the government must meet certain benchmarks. Cloaked in secrecy and under heavy security, Tillerson slipped out of the Qatari capital of Doha in the pre-dawn hours and flew a military plane into Afghanistan on Monday on the third leg of a trip that started in Saudi Arabia.


Japanese defense minister sounds alarm on North Korea
CLARK, Philippines (AP) - Japan's defense minister asserted Monday that North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities have grown to an "unprecedented, critical and imminent" level, requiring "different responses" to the threat. The minister, Itsunori Odonera, said that this rising threat compels his country to endorse the U.S. view that "all options" must be considered, which President Donald Trump says includes possible military action. Japan was alarmed by North Korea twice launching missiles over Japanese territory, in August and in September. Odonera's comments, made through an interpreter, came at the outset of a so-called trilateral meeting in the Philippines with U.S.


Who killed Kim Jong Un's half brother? Here's what we know
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Eight months after the audacious assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half brother, a Malaysian court is trying to unweave a complicated web of deception, political intrigue and cold-blooded brutality - a scheme allegedly cooked up by a network of North Koreans who have never, and almost certainly never will, set foot in the courthouse. Was it the perfect crime? After Kim Jong Nam was killed in a crowded Kuala Lumpur airport budget terminal, the Internet broadcast the attack to millions of people around the world. Security camera footage showed Kim, who had been jumped by two mysterious women, gesturing for help, his face covered with an obscure but exceedingly potent poison.


In response to far right, LGBTQ gun group hits firing line
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - The former pacifist pumped a shotgun at the firing line. Lore McSpadden never touched a gun before the Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club started this past year. Now McSpadden is among the shooters routinely yelling, "Pull!" and blasting at clay pigeons angling over a mowed field near Rochester. Trigger Warning members are anxious about armed and organized extremists who seem increasingly emboldened. Their response has a touch of symmetry to it: They started a club to teach members how to take up arms. "It's a way to assert our strength," said Jake Allen, 27, who helped form the group.


Not so cold duck? Man keeps looking for bird thought extinct
WASHINGTON (AP) - Hope is the thing with feathers, poet Emily Dickinson wrote. For Richard Thorns, the feathers are pink. Thorns' hope? To prove that a colorful duck is not extinct. This week, he launches a seventh expedition into the inaccessible wilds of Myanmar to search for the pink-headed duck that hasn't been seen alive since 1949, and that was in India. No one has seen the bird alive in Myanmar in more than a century. Thorns, a British writer who quit his shop clerk job 20 years ago after reading about the pink-headed duck in the book "Vanishing Birds," has spent $20,000 of his own money on previous fruitless trips.