Associated Press

AP Top News at 8:21 p.m. EDT

US-backed forces take Syria's largest oil field from IS
BEIRUT (AP) - U.S.-backed fighters captured Syria's largest oil field from the Islamic State group Sunday, marking a major advance against the extremists in an area coveted by pro-government forces. With IS in retreat, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian government have been in a race to secure parts of the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province along the border with Iraq. The Al-Omar oil field was a major source of income for the militant group and is considered one Syria's most productive. The condition of the field, which has been controlled by IS for three years, was not clear following intense coalition and Russian airstrikes.


Dramatic sentencing hearing expected in Bergdahl case
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The fate of Bowe Bergdahl - the Army sergeant who pleaded guilty to endangering his comrades by leaving his post in 2009 in Afghanistan - now rests in the hands of a judge. A sentencing hearing for Bergdahl starts Monday at Fort Bragg and is expected to feature dramatic testimony about soldiers and a Navy SEAL badly hurt while they searched for the missing Bergdahl, who was held captive for five years by Taliban allies after leaving his post. Bergdahl faces up to life in prison on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after pleading guilty to the charges last week.


10 Things to Know for Monday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday: 1. WHO TOOK SYRIA'S LARGEST OIL FIELD FROM IS GROUP U.S.-backed fighters captured Syria's largest oil field from the Islamic State group. 2. WHICH TRUMP COMMISSION IS CRITICIZED FOR LACK OF TRANSPARENCY Two members of President Donald Trump's advisory commission on election integrity have raised concerns about a lack of information about the panel's agenda. 3. WHAT'S EXPECTED AT BERGDAHL SENTENCING HEARING A sentencing hearing for Bowe Bergdahl is expected to feature dramatic testimony about soldiers and a Navy SEAL badly hurt while they searched for the missing Army sergeant.


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Tillerson seeks Arab help in US effort to isolate Iran
DOHA, Qatar (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took the Trump administration's case for isolating and containing Iran in the Middle East and beyond to two Gulf Arab nations on Sunday, pushing for Saudi Arabia and Iraq to unite to counter growing Iranian assertiveness. He also called for a quick resolution to the ongoing crisis between Qatar and its Arab neighbors, which he said was unintentionally bolstering Iran. In Saudi Arabia and later Qatar, Tillerson denounced Iran's "malign behavior" and urged nations of the region and elsewhere, notably Europe, to join the administration to halt any business they do with Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps.


Trump urges House GOP to move quickly on budget, tax cuts
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - President Donald Trump urged House Republicans to move swiftly on passing a budget bill during a conference call Sunday, clearing the way for what he described as historic tax cuts. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both joined the House GOP call in which Trump called on members to adopt the budget passed by the Senate this week, so that they can move on to passing his tax reform plan. Trump told the members they were on the verge of doing something historic, according to one Republican official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss publicly what was intended as a private update for members.


Spanish leader moves aggressively to clip Catalonia's wings
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy left the nation breathless when he announced the steps he wants to take to crush the separatist movement in the prosperous Catalonia region. Rajoy called on Spain's Senate on Saturday to trigger a previously untapped section of the constitution that allows the central government to temporarily intervene in the running of a region if its leaders have broken the law. Activating the constitutional authority granted by Article 155 is Madrid's boldest response so far to avowals from Catalonia's leaders to declare independence based on an Oct. 1 referendum that a court has judged as illegal.


Malta: Newspapers, citizens take up slain reporter's message
VALLETTA, Malta (AP) - Several thousand Maltese citizens rallied Sunday to honor an investigative journalist killed by a car bomb, but the prime minister and opposition leader who were chief targets of Daphne Caruana Galizia's reporting stayed away from the gathering. Participants at the rally in Malta's capital, Valletta, placed flowers at the foot of a memorial to the 53-year-old reporter that sprang up opposite the law court building after her Oct. 16 slaying. Some wore T-shirts or carried placards emblazoned with words from Caruana Galizia's final blog post: "There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate" in the European Union nation of some 400,000 people.


Japanese Prime Minister Abe heads to impressive election win
TOKYO (AP) - Japan's ruling coalition appeared headed to an impressive win in national elections in what would represent an endorsement for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's nearly five-year leadership. A victory would boost Abe's chances of winning another three-year term next September as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. That could extend his premiership to 2021, giving him more time to try to win a reluctant public over to his longtime goal of revising Japan's pacifist constitution. In the immediate term, a victory likely means a continuation of the policies Abe has pursued since he took office in December 2012 - a hard line on North Korea, close ties with Washington, including defense, as well as a super-loose monetary policy and push for nuclear energy.


Trump voting commission criticized for lack of transparency
President Donald Trump's advisory commission on election integrity has integrity questions of its own - with some of its own members raising concerns about its openness. This past week, two members fired off letters to commission staff complaining about a lack of information about the panel's agenda and demanding answers about its activities. That comes as Democratic U.S. senators are requesting a government investigation of the commission for ignoring formal requests from Congress. The criticism from the commissioners was remarkable because it came from insiders - the very people who are supposed to be privy to its internal discussions and plans.


Italy's 2 richest regions claim victory in autonomy votes
MILAN (AP) - The presidents of Italy's wealthy northern regions of Veneto and Lombardy on Sunday claimed victory in autonomy referendums that seek to grab additional powers and tax revenue from Rome, riding a global tide of self-determination that has swamped Spain's Catalonia region. The votes were nonbinding, but the leaders of the neighboring regions hope to leverage strong turnout in talks with Italy's center-left government. As leading members of the anti-migrant, anti-EU Northern League, they want to keep more tax revenue and have autonomy over such policy areas as immigration, security, education and environment. "This is the big bang of institutional reform," Veneto President Luca Zaia said in Venice.