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AP Top News at 3:53 a.m. EDT

Trump urges House GOP to move quickly on budget, tax cuts
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - House Republicans, with the urging of President Donald Trump, will strive to pass a budget this week so they can turn their attention to tax reform. Trump warned that action on tax reform is crucial to avoiding political failure in 2018. Trump on Sunday personally implored House GOP members on a conference call to swiftly adopt the budget that was passed last week by the Senate, with the hope of clearing the way for what he described as historic tax cuts. Trump told the lawmakers 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.


Bergdahl could get life in prison for endangering comrades
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will appear Monday before a military judge to learn his punishment for endangering comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan. But first, the judge will have to resolve a last-minute defense argument that new comments by President Donald Trump have tainted the case. Bergdahl faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty last week to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Prosecutors made no deal to cap his punishment, so the judge has wide leeway to decide his sentence. The judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, is expected to weigh factors including Bergdahl's willingness to admit guilt, his five years of captivity in the hands of the Taliban and its allies, and the serious wounds that several service members suffered while searching for him.


Senate presses ahead on $36.5B disaster relief package
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate is pushing ahead on a $36.5 billion hurricane relief package that would give Puerto Rico a much-needed infusion of cash. The measure also would replenish rapidly dwindling emergency disaster accounts and provide $16 billion to permit the financially troubled federal flood insurance program to pay an influx of Harvey-related claims. But it rejects requests from the powerful Texas and Florida congressional delegations for additional money to rebuild after hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The measure was certain to sail through Monday's procedural vote and a final vote was expected no later than Tuesday. That would send the measure to President Donald Trump for his signature.


Philippines declares end to 5-month militant siege in Marawi
CLARK, Philippines (AP) - The Philippine government declared the end Monday to the militant siege of a southern city that lasted five months, left more than 1,100 people dead and sparked fears of the Islamic State group gaining a foothold in Southeast Asia. Speaking at an annual meeting of the region's defense ministers, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters that combat operations in Marawi were ending after troops recovered 42 bodies of the last group of militants. "Those are the last group of stragglers of Mautes and they were caught in one building so there was a firefight, so they were finished," he said.


As far right rises, LGBTQ gun group hits firing line in NY
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - The former pacifist pumped a shotgun at the firing line. Lore McSpadden never touched a gun before the Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club started this past year. Now McSpadden is among the shooters routinely yelling, "Pull!" and blasting at clay pigeons angling over a mowed field near Rochester. Trigger Warning members are anxious about armed and organized extremists who seem increasingly emboldened. Their response has a touch of symmetry to it: They started a club to teach members how to take up arms. "It's a way to assert our strength," said Jake Allen, 27, who helped form the group.


Trial in killing of Iowa teenager to focus on gender motive
BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - Retired nurse Jenna Sansone said it was a normal night in the quiet eastern Iowa neighborhood where she lives on a hill above the Mississippi River. Then she heard the "bang-bang-bang" of gunshots and called 911. Responding officers made a gruesome discovery: the body of a teenager dumped in the alley behind Sansone's Burlington home, a plastic garbage bag wrapped around the victim's head. Sansone could smell the bleach that had been poured on the bullet-riddled body, an apparent attempt to destroy DNA evidence. The March 2016 death of 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson stunned the city of 25,000.


Who killed Kim Jong Un's half brother? Here's what we know
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Eight months after the audacious assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half brother, a Malaysian court is trying to unweave a complicated web of deception, political intrigue and cold-blooded brutality - a scheme allegedly cooked up by a network of North Koreans who have never, and almost certainly never will, set foot in the courthouse. Was it the perfect crime? Almost as soon as Kim Jong Nam was killed in a crowded Kuala Lumpur airport budget terminal, the Internet broadcast the attack to millions of people around the world. Security camera footage showed Kim, who had been jumped by two mysterious women, gesturing for help, his face covered with an obscure but exceedingly potent poison.


Mementos hold Thais' fond memories of beloved King Bhumibol
BANGKOK (AP) - As Thailand prepares for the cremation ceremony of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, memories of him and his reign live in mementos dear to many Thais. His image is depicted on coins, amulets, statues and pins, and his works on Thailand's behalf are immortalized in art showing him visiting rural areas and working on development projects he supported. Millions of mourners have prostrated themselves before Bhumibol's body, which has lain in state at a Bangkok palace for a year. The Associated Press asked Thais about their thoughts on Bhumibol and what mementos they've kept to honor the monarch they hail as "Father." Here are their responses: ---


Millions return to poverty in Brazil, eroding 'boom' decade
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - When Leticia Miranda had a job selling newspapers on the streets, she earned about $160 a month, just enough to pay for a tiny apartment she shared with her 8-year-old son in a poor neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. When she lost her job about six months ago amid Brazil's worst economic crisis in decades, Miranda had no choice but to move to an abandoned building where several hundred people were already living. All of her possessions - a bed, a fridge, a stove and some clothes - have been jammed into a small room that like all the others in the building has windows with no glass.


No joke: TV host Letterman honored with Mark Twain Prize
WASHINGTON (AP) - David Letterman was celebrated at the Kennedy Center Sunday night for his record run on late-night TV, innovative comedy routines and for helping the nation start to heal by reassuring that it was OK to laugh again after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Fellow entertainers gathered to honor Letterman where he was receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Among those in attendance were previous Mark Twain recipients Steve Martin and Bill Murray, and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who recalled a monologue Letterman gave on his show shortly after 9/11. "You let us know it was OK to move on and OK to laugh again," Kimmel said.


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