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AP Top News at 10:55 a.m. EST

Brazen attacks against Syrian security kill at least 32
BEIRUT (AP) - In synchronized attacks, insurgents stormed into heavily guarded security offices in Syria's central Homs city, clashed with troops and then blew themselves up, killing a senior officer and at least 31 others, state media and officials reported. The brazen, high-profile attacks against the Military Intelligence and State Security offices, among Syria's most powerful, were claimed by an al-Qaida-linked insurgent coalition known as the Levant Liberation Committee. A Syrian lawmaker on a state-affiliated TV station called it a "heavy blow" to Syria's security apparatuses. No footage or pictures emerged from the usually tightly secured scene of the attacks in the center of the city.


Malaysia warns North Korea to cooperate with investigation
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysian police said Saturday that they would issue an arrest warrant for a North Korean diplomat if he refuses to cooperate with the investigation into the deadly attack on North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un's exiled half brother. The investigation has unleashed a serious diplomatic fight between Malaysia and North Korea, a prime suspect in the Feb. 13 killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur's airport. Friday's revelation by Malaysian police that the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim raised the stakes significantly in a case that has broad geopolitical implications.


Iraqi forces facing stiff resistance in western Mosul
SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi forces pushed deeper into western Mosul Saturday amid stiff resistance from entrenched Islamic State fighters, a commander on the scene said. Special forces Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi said that his troops are "moving very slowly" and that IS fighters are responding with car bombs, snipers and dozens of armed drones. Hundreds of civilian have fled the conflict zone, he said. The drones have caused relatively few deaths, but have inflicted dozens of light injuries that have disrupted the pace of ground operations. Al-Saadi said he expects the pace to increase after Iraqi forces retake territory and infrastructure on Mosul's southwestern edge - which will allow them to shorten supply lines and link up with forces in the city's east.


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In Trump's first speech to Congress, will decorum hold?
WASHINGTON (AP) - A presidential speech to Congress is one of those all-American moments that ooze ritual and decorum. The House sergeant-at-arms will stand at the rear of the House of Representatives on Tuesday night and announce the arrival of Donald Trump before a joint session of Congress by intoning: "Mister Speaker, the President of the United States" just like always. Trump will stride down the center aisle to lusty cheers and hearty handshakes from his Republican supporters. First lady Melania Trump, accompanied by special guests, will smile from the gallery above. From there, though, the president who favors disruption over decorum can take the night in any number of directions.


AP FACT CHECK: Trump and his overdrawn apocalypse
WASHINGTON (AP) - In President Donald Trump's estimation, the U.S. border isn't merely porous, it's "wide open." Darkness and danger are everywhere, even Sweden. American infrastructure isn't just in need of improvement but it's in "total disrepair and decay." The health law is not only flawed, but it's an "absolute and total catastrophe." His apocalyptic view of everything he intends to fix leaves no nuance, but that's where reality often resides. For example, Trump himself actually likes parts of former President Barack Obama's health overhaul, such as the extended coverage for older children. And the U.S. remains an economic powerhouse able to transport goods in a stressed system of roads, bridges and ports that are not in total decay.


The Latest: Democrats need to dust off party voting rules
Democratic officials are in new territory with a competitive election for party chief. In past races, a leading candidate usually emerged well before actual voting. This time, there's a high likelihood that will take multiple rounds of voting for former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez or a Minnesota congressman, Keith Ellison, or a dark horse candidate to win a majority. So, party staff and 442 eligible DNC members have had to dust off complicated rules that usually don't matter. For example, party officials expect about 70 or 75 members to be absent. Nearly all have designated another member to cast paper proxy ballots on their behalf.


Warren Buffett says don't waste money on investment fees
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Billionaire Warren Buffett used his much anticipated annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders to reiterate his wariness of high Wall Street fees and his positive outlook for the U.S. economy. Buffett devoted a section of the letter released Saturday to again explain the benefits low-cost index funds have over most other investments. But he kept the letter focused on business and didn't weigh in on politics. He said he estimates that wealthy investors who use high-priced advisers have wasted over $100 billion over the past decade. "The bottom line: When trillions of dollars are managed by Wall Streeters charging high fees, it will usually be the managers who reap outsized profits, not the clients," Buffett wrote.


In poor Black Belt region, both fears and prayers over Trump
MARION, Ala. (AP) - Here, in what's left of the Old South's plantation region, the descendants of slaves who picked cotton and worked the dark soil are praying differently since Donald Trump moved into the White House. During Barack Obama's eight years in office, folks who gathered for Bible studies or Sunday worship worried that someone would try to kill the nation's first black president, and they asked God to protect him. Today, those worshippers are asking the Almighty to instill Trump with a kind heart and give him understanding for people far outside the world of Manhattan real estate or reality TV.


The Latest: Opposition leader backs US tack on IS, Iran
A leader of the main Syrian opposition group says the group shares the priorities of the new U.S. administration to fight the Islamic State group and contain Iran. Nasr Hariri, in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Geneva says: "We have a lot of points that we share with this new administration of America," said Hariri. "On the top of these priorities is fighting terrorism." He said members of the Trump team met with members of the main Syrian opposition before and after he was elected in a bid to find common ground. U.N. Syria envoy Staffan De Mistura is holding a third day of meetings in Geneva with government and opposition delegations in a bid to find a political solution to Syria's six-year war.


Syrian who worked on nominated film can't attend Oscars
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. immigration authorities are barring entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on a harrowing film about his nation's civil war, "The White Helmets," that has been nominated for an Academy Award. According to internal Trump administration correspondence seen by The Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security has decided at the last minute to block Khaled Khateeb from traveling to Los Angeles for the Oscars. Khateeb was scheduled to arrive Saturday in Los Angeles on a Turkish Airlines flight departing from Istanbul. But his plans have been upended after U.S. officials reported finding "derogatory information" regarding Khateeb.