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AP Top News at 4:42 p.m. EDT

October 22, 2017 02:58 PM

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.

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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.

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.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe heads to impressive election win

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's ruling coalition appeared headed to an impressive win in national elections on Sunday, 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 in the nearly five years 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.

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.

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.

Spain: Taking control of Catalonia means big power transfer

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 Spain 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.

Italy's 2 richest regions seek more powers from Rome

MILAN (AP) — Voters in the wealthy northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto decided Sunday if they want to seek greater autonomy from Rome, riding a global tide of self-determination that has swamped Spain's Catalonia region. While the twin referendums are non-binding, a resounding "yes" vote would give the presidents of the neighboring regions more leverage in negotiations to seek a greater share of tax revenue and to grab more responsibility from Italy's central government. The leaders want more powers in areas such as security, immigration, education and the environment. Unlike in Catalonia, the referendums do not seek independence and have been approved by Italy's constitutional court.

AP Top 25: Notre Dame cracks top 10; Michigan drops out

Notre Dame cracked the top 10 of The Associated Press college football poll for the first time this season, coming in at No. 9, and Michigan fell out of the rankings for the first time in two years. As week after a rash of upsets gave the poll a shake-up, the first eight teams in the Top 25 released Sunday were unchanged. Alabama remains a unanimous No. 1 in the media poll, with 61 first-place votes. Penn State is No. 2 and Georgia, which was idle, is No. 3. Undefeated TCU and Wisconsin round out the top five. Notre Dame jumped four spots after beating Southern California 49-14 on Saturday night in South Bend, Indiana.

Latest from NFL: Kickers take center stage at early games

The NFL's kickers took center stage at a handful of the early games with none having a better day than Kai Forbath for the Minnesota Vikings, and three others came through when it mattered most. Forbath kicked six field goals to lift the Vikings to a 24-16 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. He made kicks of 52, 51, 43, 43, 34 and 32 yards. Ryan Succop kicked four field goals, and his 47-yarder with 1:55 left in overtime lifted the Tennessee Titans to an ugly 12-9 win over winless Cleveland. The kick also extended Succop's NFL record for makes inside 50 yards to 55 straight.

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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