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AP Top News at 4:28 p.m. EST

Casualties mount as Iraqi troops advance in IS-held Mosul
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - "We have wounded!" the men shouted from the roadside. Two soldiers, bleeding, were being bandaged beside their smoking vehicle on the side of a dusty dirt road. Iraqi special forces Maj. Saif Ali yelled to his driver to stop and leaped out. "Put one inside and the other on top!" he called to his men. One was put in Ali's seat, the other laid on the vehicle's hood. "Go!" he shouted, crouching on the hood next to the wounded man. His driver blared the horn and the gunner shot into the air trying to clear a way through a sea of fleeing civilians and livestock.


New Dem Party chairman Perez pledges to repair, unite party
ATLANTA (AP) - Newly elected Democratic national chairman Tom Perez pledged on Sunday to unite a fractured party, rebuild at all levels from "school board to the Senate" and reach out to chunks of rural America left feeling forgotten in the 2016 election. Speaking in television interviews, Perez indicated that an important first step was joining with vanquished rival Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who agreed at Perez's invitation to serve as the Democratic National Committee's deputy chairman. Perez said the two would work hard to put out an affirmative party message while opposing President Donald Trump's policies, adding that he and Ellison were already getting a "good kick" that Trump was stirred to tweet that the DNC election was "rigged."


Will 'La La' have another day of sun at Sunday's Oscars?
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Will the 89th Academy Awards be a parade of political speeches or landslide for "La La Land"? Probably both. Sunday night's Oscars are shaping up to be one of the most turbulent and politically charged ceremonies in recent memory. The three-hour-plus telecast, which begins at 8:30 p.m. on ABC, is expected to resemble one very glitzy protest against President Donald Trump, whom award-winners - like Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes - have railed against throughout Hollywood's awards season. An unusually tense atmosphere has coalesced before the Dolby Theatre ceremony, with protests, rallies and boycotts swirling around this year's Oscars.


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Congress returns, with health care, Supreme Court on agenda
WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress returns to Washington this week to confront dramatic decisions on health care and the Supreme Court that may help determine the course of Donald Trump's presidency. First, the president will have his say, in his maiden speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night. Majority Republicans in the House and Senate will be closely watching the prime-time address for guidance, marching orders or any specifics Trump might embrace on health care or taxes, areas where some of his preferences remain a mystery. Congressional Republicans insist they are working closely with the new administration as they prepare to start taking votes on health legislation, with the moment finally upon them to make good on seven years of promises to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.


Russians march to honor slain opposition leader Nemtsov
MOSCOW (AP) - Thousands of Russians marched through Moscow on Sunday shouting slogans such as "Russia will be free!" and "Putin is war!" to mark two years since opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down outside the Kremlin. Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, was a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin. His Feb. 27, 2015, death, in what appeared to be a contract killing, sparked an outpouring of anger and fear in Russia's beleaguered opposition movement. The memorial protest was the largest opposition gathering since a similar march for Nemtsov in 2016. Organizers put the number of participants at just over 15,000.


Police say drunk driver caused Mardi Gras crash that hurt 28
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Authorities on Sunday identified the man who allegedly plowed into a crowd enjoying a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans while intoxicated. The New Orleans Police Department issued a statement identifying the man as 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto. Online jail records showed Rizzuto was arrested on a number of charges and was being held at the city's jail. The accident happened Saturday during one of the busiest nights of Mardi Gras when thousands of people throng the streets of Mid-City to watch the elaborate floats and clamor to catch beads and trinkets tossed from riders. "We suspect that that subject was highly intoxicated," Police Chief Michael Harrison had said on Saturday evening.


Malaysia: Poisoning of Kim caused paralysis, quick death
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia's health minister said Sunday that the dose of nerve agent given to North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un's exiled half brother was so high that it killed him within 20 minutes and caused "very serious paralysis." Kim Jong Nam died Feb. 13 at Kuala Lumpur's airport in what Malaysian police say was a well-planned hit by two women who wiped a liquid on Kim's face. Police revealed Friday that the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim, raising the stakes in the case. Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said the dose of VX given to Kim was so high that he showed symptoms within minutes.


Joseph Wapner, star of 'The People's Court,' dead at 97
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Joseph Wapner, the retired Los Angeles judge who presided over "The People's Court" with steady force during the heyday of the reality courtroom show, died Sunday at age 97. Son David Wapner told The Associated Press that his father died at home in his sleep. Joseph Wapner was hospitalized a week ago with breathing problems and had been under home hospice care. "The People's Court," on which Wapner decided real small-claims from 1981 to 1993, was one of the granddaddies of the syndicated reality shows of today. His affable, no-nonsense approach attracted many fans, putting "The People's Court" in the top five in syndication at its peak.


Samsung delays its new phone, and showcases tablets instead
NEW YORK (AP) - Samsung's product showcase Sunday is notable for what's missing: a new flagship phone. Instead, Samsung is spotlighting new Android and Windows tablets after delaying the Galaxy S8 smartphone - an indirect casualty of the unprecedented September recall of the fire-prone Note 7 phone . The new tablets will carry the Galaxy brand and come with many of the Note 7's features, including the S Pen stylus and screens with rich colors. Consumers will have to wait at least a few weeks longer for details on Samsung's next major smartphone. That's partly so that Samsung wouldn't have to share the stage with its smartphone rivals at the Mobile World Congress trade show, which begins Monday in Barcelona, Spain.


Elliott on the Daytona 500 pole again, alongside Earnhardt
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - It's Daytona Day! The 59th running of the Daytona 500 begins Sunday afternoon, with Chase Elliott on the pole for the second consecutive year. Although Elliott had the fastest car in qualifying, Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. is getting most of the attention. Earnhardt is returning from his fifth documented concussion, the latest costing him half of last season. Earnhardt will start alongside Elliott on the front row of "The Great American Race." Elliott won one of two qualifying races Thursday. Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin, the defending Daytona 500 winner, won the other. Others to watch in the season opener - NASCAR's most prestigious race - include Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.