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AP Top Political News at 5:18 a.m. EST

Trump's call inspires hope in Taiwan, concern in Beijing
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- With a 10-minute phone call and two tweets, Donald Trump inspired banner headlines and renewed hopes across Taiwan for a stronger partnership with the United States, while also inflaming the complex relationships between the U.S., mainland China, and the self-governing island China regards as a renegade province....

Carter: US, partners need to stay in Iraq after IS defeat
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) -- The American military, along with its international partners, will need to remain in Iraq even after the expected defeat of the Islamic State group, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday....

For now, Trump bears signs of a dealmaker, not a policymaker
WASHINGTON (AP) -- He phones. He kibitzes. He cajoles. He threatens. He rewards....

McConnell cautions replacement to health law to take time
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The next Congress will begin work immediately next year toward repealing President Barack Obama's health care law but delay the changes as Republicans try to come up with an alternative, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday....

Bergdahl seeks pardon from Obama to avert desertion trial
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the former prisoner of war who's accused of endangering comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan, is asking President Barack Obama to pardon him before leaving office....

Iran demands that Obama allow US sanctions to expire
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani demanded Sunday that U.S. President Barack Obama not sign an extension of U.S. sanctions, saying the bill is a violation of a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers....

Trump shrugs off fuss over Taiwan call
BEIJING (AP) -- President-elect Donald Trump is unapologetic about roiling diplomatic waters with his decision to speak on the phone with Taiwan's leader, a breach of long-standing tradition that risks enmity from China....

Russia bets on Trump as gateway to eased sanctions
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vladimir Putin wants to make Russia great again. For that, he may need a hand from Donald Trump....

Afghan president and Trump discuss terrorism
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The Afghan government says U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani have emphasized their joint commitment to fighting terrorism in a phone conversation....

Supreme Court hears cases about use of race in redistricting
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court is returning to the familiar intersection of race and politics, in a pair of cases examining redistricting in North Carolina and Virginia....

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