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AP Top News at 11:05 a.m. EDT

Nearing 100 days, Trump says his presidency is 'different'
WASHINGTON (AP) - For nearly 100 days, President Donald Trump has rattled Washington and been chastened by its institutions. He's startled world leaders with his unpredictability and tough talk, but won their praise for a surprise strike on Syria. He's endured the steady drip of investigations and a seemingly endless churn of public personnel drama. "It's a different kind of a presidency," Trump said in an Oval Office interview with The Associated Press, an hour-long conversation as he approached Saturday's key presidential benchmark. Trump, who campaigned on a promise of instant disruption, indirectly acknowledged that change doesn't come quickly to Washington.


Trump pushes wall funding in spending dispute with Democrats
WASHINGTON (AP) - With a budget deadline looming, President Donald Trump plans a whirlwind of activities seeking to highlight accomplishments while putting fresh pressure on congressional Democrats to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, even if that pressure risks a possible government shutdown. Trump approaches the symbolic 100-day mark for his administration this coming week juggling a renewed health care push and his demands that a must-pass government funding bill should include money for the wall. In a tweet Monday, Trump said his proposed border wall would be "a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)!" Over the weekend, he jabbed at Democrats, who vigorously oppose wall funding.


France's rejected mainstream unites for Macron over Le Pen
PARIS (AP) - France's political mainstream, shut out of the presidency by an angry electorate, united on Monday to call on voters to back centrist Emmanuel Macron and reject Marine Le Pen's populist nationalism. Politicians on the moderate left and right, including the Socialist and Republicans party losers in Sunday's first-round vote, maneuvered to block Le Pen's path to power in the May 7 runoff. Voters narrowed the presidential field from 11 to two. France's presidential election is widely seen as a litmus test for the populist wave that last year prompted Britain to vote to leave the European Union and U.S.


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Farmers fear losing immigrant workers under Trump crackdown
SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The head of Bethel Heights Vineyard looked out over the 100 acres of vines her crew of 20 Mexicans had just finished pruning, worried about what will happen if the Trump administration presses ahead with its crackdown on immigrants. From tending the plants to harvesting the grapes, it takes skill and a strong work ethic to produce the winery's pinot noir and chardonnay, and native-born Americans just aren't willing to work that hard, Patricia Dudley said as a cold rain drenched the vineyard in the hills of Oregon. "Who's going to come out here and do this work when they deport them all?" she asked.


New Orleans takes down 1st of 4 Confederate statues
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Workers in New Orleans removed the first of four prominent Confederate monuments Monday morning, making the city the latest Southern institution to sever itself from symbols viewed by many as a representation of racism and white supremacy. The Liberty Place monument, which commemorates whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government in New Orleans, was taken away on a truck in pieces around 5:35 a.m. after a few hours of work. At a news conference hours after the statue was dismantled, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu vowed that "we will no longer allow the Confederacy to literally be put on a pedestal in the heart of our city." The removal happened early in the morning in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay, some of whom city officials said have made death threats.


Trump calls US astronaut who broke record for time in space
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - President Donald Trump made a very long distance phone call to the International Space Station, to congratulate its commander on breaking the record for the most time spent in space of any American astronaut. The president spoke Monday with Peggy Whitson, commander of the International Space Station, and fellow astronaut Jack Fischer. Whitson, the first woman to command the International Space Station, surpassed the record of 534 days, two hours and 48 minutes for most accumulated time in orbit by an American. That record was set last year by Jeffrey Williams. Trump joked that the call was possible because of "great American equipment that works, and that is not easy." He said he's more impressed by the astronauts than by any of the politicians he deals with in Washington.


Top officials say US must confront Russia for arming Taliban
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The United States must confront Russia for providing weapons to the Taliban for use against American-backed forces in Afghanistan, top U.S. military officials said Monday. At a news conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at his side, Gen. John Nicholson, the American commander in Afghanistan, wouldn't provide specifics about Russia's role in Afghanistan. But said he would "not refute" that Moscow's involvement includes giving weapons to the Taliban. Earlier Monday, a senior U.S. military official told reporters in Kabul that Russia was giving machine guns and other medium-weight weapons. The Taliban are using the weapons in the southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan, according to the official, who briefed journalists on intelligence information on condition of anonymity.


South Korea, allies brace for North Korea follow-up act
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea marks the founding anniversary of its military on Tuesday, and South Korea and its allies are bracing for the possibility that it could conduct another nuclear test or launch an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time. North Korea often marks significant dates by displaying its military capability. It so far has carried out five nuclear tests. Such a move could test the developing North Korea policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has reportedly settled on a strategy that emphasizes increased pressure on North Korea with the help of China, the North's only major ally, instead of military options or trying to overthrow North Korea's government.


Sheryl Sandberg's new book a tale of grief, resilience
NEW YORK (AP) - Though perhaps best known as Facebook's No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg is also a mentor, a mother, a billionaire and an author. When her husband Dave Goldberg died suddenly in 2015 while they were vacationing in Mexico, she added "widow" to the list. "The grief felt like a void, like it was sucking me in and pushing on me, pulling me in and I couldn't even see or breathe," she said in an interview with The Associated Press. "People who have been through things like this told me it gets better. And I really didn't believe them.... I want other people going through things to believe it does get better."


Elon Musk steps out in Australia with Amber Heard
Billionaire Elon Musk is getting close with actress Amber Heard. The pair is shown in paparazzi photos zip-lining in Australia, where Heard is filming "Aquaman." Both Musk and Heard posted pictures to their Instagram accounts Monday showing Musk with lipstick on his cheek left behind from a kiss. Musk wrote on his post that he and Heard were dining with "Aquaman" director James Wan and producer Rob Cowan on Australia's Gold Coast. Musk has been married three times, twice to British actress Talulah Riley. He has five sons from another previous marriage. Heard and Johnny Depp settled a divorce last year.

 

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