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AP Top News at 5:52 a.m. EDT

Astros reach World Series, top Yankees 4-0 in Game 7 of ALCS
HOUSTON (AP) - Jose Altuve embraced Justin Verlander as confetti rained down. An improbable thought just a few years ago, the Houston Astros are headed to the World Series. Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. combined on a three-hitter, Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Astros reached the World Series for only the second time by blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series. Next up for the Astros: Game 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Verlander, the ALCS MVP , and fellow Houston ace Dallas Keuchel will have plenty of rest before the World Series begins at sweltering Dodger Stadium.


Former presidents call for unity at hurricane aid concert
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The five living former presidents put aside politics and appeared together for the first time since 2013 at a concert on Saturday to raise money for victims of devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Republicans George H.W. and George W. Bush gathered in College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M University, to try to unite the country after the storms. Texas A&M is home to the presidential library of the elder Bush. At 93, he has a form of Parkinson's disease and appeared in a wheelchair at the event.


Funeral held for US soldier at center of Trump fight
COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) - Mourners Saturday remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him. Some of the 1,200 mourners exiting the church after the service said the portrait of Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, was joined on stage by photographs of his slain comrades. The four died Oct. 4 in Niger when they were attacked by militants tied to the Islamic State. Johnson's family asked reporters to remain outside for the service. "We have to remember that one thing: that it wasn't just one soldier who lost his life," said Berchel Davis, a retired police officer who has six children in the military.


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Foreigners who joined IS faced almost certain death in Raqqa
PARIS (AP) - The forces fighting the remnants of the Islamic State group in Syria have tacit instructions on dealing with the foreigners who joined the extremist group by the thousands: Kill them on the battlefield. As they made their last stand in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, an estimated 300 extremists holed up in and around a sports stadium and a hospital argued among themselves about whether to surrender, according to Kurdish commanders leading the forces that closed in. The final days were brutal - 75 coalition airstrikes in 48 hours and a flurry of desperate IS car bombs that were easily spotted in the sliver of devastated landscape still under militant control.


US-allied force takes Syria's largest oil field from IS
BEIRUT (AP) - U.S-allied forces said Sunday they have captured Syria's largest oil field from the Islamic State group. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who are in a race with Russian-backed Syrian troops to seize parts of the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province, said they are in full control of the Al-Omar field. The SDF has already driven IS from Deir el-Zour's main natural gas field and smaller oil fields. It says government forces are three kilometers (two miles) away from the fields. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says pro-government forces retreated from the area around Al-Omar field after coming under heavy fire from IS militants.


Trump has no plans to block scheduled release of JFK records
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he doesn't plan to block the scheduled release of thousands of never publicly seen government documents related to President John F. Kennedy's assassination. "Subject to the receipt of further information," he wrote in a Saturday morning tweet, "I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened." The National Archives has until Thursday to disclose the remaining files related to Kennedy's 1963 assassination. The trove is expected to include more than 3,000 documents that have never been seen by the public and more than 30,000 that have been previously released but with redactions.


Spanish PM aims to take over Catalan govt; residents aghast
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Spain announced an unprecedented plan Saturday to sack Catalonia's separatist leaders, install its own people in their place and call a new local election, using previously untapped constitutional powers to take control of the prosperous region that is threatening to secede. Catalonia's president responded by making a veiled independence threat, telling lawmakers to come up with a plan to counter Spain's "attempt to wipe out self-government." Even moderate Catalans were aghast at the scope of the move, greeting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's announcement with banging pots and honking cars in the streets of Barcelona, the regional capital.


Japan votes for lower house; Abe's party seen headed for win
TOKYO (AP) - Voting in a general election started Sunday that would most likely hand Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's right-wing ruling coalition a victory and possibly close to a two-thirds majority in parliament. Abe dissolved the lower house less than a month ago, forcing the snap election. He judged the timing was ripe for his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, or at least better than waiting until the end of its term next year. Up for grabs are 465 seats in the more powerful lower house, which chooses the prime minister. Media polls have indicated voters are passively choosing Abe's government despite its railroading of unfavorable bills and cronyism scandals, seeing it as a safer choice over an opposition with little or unknown track records.


Park hikers may have died in 'sympathetic murder-suicide'
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Friends and relatives of a couple whose bodies were found in Joshua Tree National Park say they believe the two got lost while hiking in the sprawling desert park and struggled in the searing heat with little food or water before they died in a "sympathetic murder-suicide." Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 22, had been missing for nearly three months after going for a hike in late July and failing to return to their bed-and-breakfast. Their disappearance launched an exhaustive search. Crews spent more than 2,100 hours scouring the rugged terrain before finding their bodies in a steep canyon on Oct.



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AP Top News at 5:52 a.m. EDT

Astros reach World Series, top Yankees 4-0 in Game 7 of ALCS
HOUSTON (AP) - Jose Altuve embraced Justin Verlander as confetti rained down. An improbable thought just a few years ago, the Houston Astros are headed to the World Series. Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. combined on a three-hitter, Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Astros reached the World Series for only the second time by blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series. Next up for the Astros: Game 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Verlander, the ALCS MVP , and fellow Houston ace Dallas Keuchel will have plenty of rest before the World Series begins at sweltering Dodger Stadium.


Former presidents call for unity at hurricane aid concert
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The five living former presidents put aside politics and appeared together for the first time since 2013 at a concert on Saturday to raise money for victims of devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Republicans George H.W. and George W. Bush gathered in College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M University, to try to unite the country after the storms. Texas A&M is home to the presidential library of the elder Bush. At 93, he has a form of Parkinson's disease and appeared in a wheelchair at the event.


Funeral held for US soldier at center of Trump fight
COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) - Mourners Saturday remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him. Some of the 1,200 mourners exiting the church after the service said the portrait of Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, was joined on stage by photographs of his slain comrades. The four died Oct. 4 in Niger when they were attacked by militants tied to the Islamic State. Johnson's family asked reporters to remain outside for the service. "We have to remember that one thing: that it wasn't just one soldier who lost his life," said Berchel Davis, a retired police officer who has six children in the military.


Watch Top News Video




Foreigners who joined IS faced almost certain death in Raqqa
PARIS (AP) - The forces fighting the remnants of the Islamic State group in Syria have tacit instructions on dealing with the foreigners who joined the extremist group by the thousands: Kill them on the battlefield. As they made their last stand in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, an estimated 300 extremists holed up in and around a sports stadium and a hospital argued among themselves about whether to surrender, according to Kurdish commanders leading the forces that closed in. The final days were brutal - 75 coalition airstrikes in 48 hours and a flurry of desperate IS car bombs that were easily spotted in the sliver of devastated landscape still under militant control.


US-allied force takes Syria's largest oil field from IS
BEIRUT (AP) - U.S-allied forces said Sunday they have captured Syria's largest oil field from the Islamic State group. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who are in a race with Russian-backed Syrian troops to seize parts of the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province, said they are in full control of the Al-Omar field. The SDF has already driven IS from Deir el-Zour's main natural gas field and smaller oil fields. It says government forces are three kilometers (two miles) away from the fields. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says pro-government forces retreated from the area around Al-Omar field after coming under heavy fire from IS militants.


Trump has no plans to block scheduled release of JFK records
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he doesn't plan to block the scheduled release of thousands of never publicly seen government documents related to President John F. Kennedy's assassination. "Subject to the receipt of further information," he wrote in a Saturday morning tweet, "I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened." The National Archives has until Thursday to disclose the remaining files related to Kennedy's 1963 assassination. The trove is expected to include more than 3,000 documents that have never been seen by the public and more than 30,000 that have been previously released but with redactions.


Spanish PM aims to take over Catalan govt; residents aghast
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Spain announced an unprecedented plan Saturday to sack Catalonia's separatist leaders, install its own people in their place and call a new local election, using previously untapped constitutional powers to take control of the prosperous region that is threatening to secede. Catalonia's president responded by making a veiled independence threat, telling lawmakers to come up with a plan to counter Spain's "attempt to wipe out self-government." Even moderate Catalans were aghast at the scope of the move, greeting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's announcement with banging pots and honking cars in the streets of Barcelona, the regional capital.


Japan votes for lower house; Abe's party seen headed for win
TOKYO (AP) - Voting in a general election started Sunday that would most likely hand Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's right-wing ruling coalition a victory and possibly close to a two-thirds majority in parliament. Abe dissolved the lower house less than a month ago, forcing the snap election. He judged the timing was ripe for his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, or at least better than waiting until the end of its term next year. Up for grabs are 465 seats in the more powerful lower house, which chooses the prime minister. Media polls have indicated voters are passively choosing Abe's government despite its railroading of unfavorable bills and cronyism scandals, seeing it as a safer choice over an opposition with little or unknown track records.


Park hikers may have died in 'sympathetic murder-suicide'
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Friends and relatives of a couple whose bodies were found in Joshua Tree National Park say they believe the two got lost while hiking in the sprawling desert park and struggled in the searing heat with little food or water before they died in a "sympathetic murder-suicide." Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 22, had been missing for nearly three months after going for a hike in late July and failing to return to their bed-and-breakfast. Their disappearance launched an exhaustive search. Crews spent more than 2,100 hours scouring the rugged terrain before finding their bodies in a steep canyon on Oct.



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