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AP Top News at 9:23 p.m. EDT

AP-NORC Poll: Voters feel disconnected, helpless in 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) - Republicans and Democrats feel a massive disconnect with their political parties and helpless about the presidential election. That's according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which helps explain the rise of outsider candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and suggests challenges ahead for fractured parties that must come together to win this fall. "It feels like the state of politics is generally broken," said Joe Denother, a 37-year-old Oregon voter who typically favors Republicans. The divisive primary season has fueled an overall sense of pessimism about the political process that underscores a widening chasm between political parties and the voters they claim to represent.


Iraqi forces push into Fallujah as IS bombings kill 24
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraqi forces started pushing into the city of Fallujah on Monday as a wave of bombings claimed by the Islamic State group in Baghdad and near the Iraqi capital killed at least 24 people. The advance is part of an offensive to rout militants from Fallujah and recapture the city west of Baghdad, which has been held by the Islamic State for over two years. The offensive on Fallujah, backed by paramilitary troops and aerial support from the U.S.-led coalition, was first launched about a week ago. The battle for the strategic city is likely to be a protracted one, with Iraqi forces advancing slowly to minimize civilian casualties.


Obama marks Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - President Barack Obama challenged Americans on Memorial Day to fill the silence from those who died serving their country with love and support for families of the fallen, "not just with words but with our actions." Obama laid a wreath Monday at the Tomb of the Unknowns to honor the nation's war dead. Under mostly sunny skies at Arlington National Cemetery, he bowed his head for a moment, then placed his right hand over his heart as taps was played. Obama in his address commemorated the more than 1 million people in U.S. history who paid the ultimate sacrifice.


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Physicist Stephen Hawking baffled by Donald Trump's rise
LONDON (AP) - Renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking may have a good grasp of the workings of the universe, but he says he can't understand Donald Trump's popularity. Hawking tells ITV's "Good Morning Britain" show Tuesday that he has no explanation for the success of the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee. "He is a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator," Hawking says in prerecorded comments to be broadcast when the show airs at 6 a.m. London time (0500 GMT, 1 a.m. EDT) Tuesday. Hawking , who speaks through a computer system operated with his cheek, also made a plea for British voters to choose to remain in the European Union in the June 23 referendum.


Cincinnati Zoo director defends killing gorilla to save boy
CINCINNATI (AP) - The Cincinnati Zoo's director on Monday defended the decision to kill a gorilla to protect a 4-year-old boy who entered its exhibit, noting it's easy to second-guess after the child was recovered safely. The male western lowland gorilla named Harambe was killed Saturday by a special zoo response team that feared for the boy's safety. Video taken by zoo visitors showed the gorilla at times appeared to be protective of the boy but also dragged him through the shallow moat. Director Thane Maynard said the gorilla was agitated and disoriented by the commotion during the 10 minutes after the boy fell.


South Korea says North Korea missile launch likely failed
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A North Korean missile launch likely failed on Tuesday, according to South Korea's military, the latest in a string of high-profile failures that tempers somewhat recent worries that Pyongyang was pushing quickly toward its goal of a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach America's mainland. South Korea's Yonhap news agency said in an unsourced report that the missile was a powerful mid-range Musudan, which, if true, would make it the fourth failure by the North to conduct a successful test launch of the new missile, which could potentially reach far-away U.S. military bases in Asia and the Pacific.


Residents brace for more flooding as Texas river crests
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Residents of some rural southeast Texas counties braced for more flooding on Monday along a river that is expected to crest at a record level just two years after it had run dry in places because of drought. National Weather Service meteorologists predicted that the Brazos river would crest at 53.5 feet by midday Tuesday in Fort Bend County, three feet above the previous record and topping a 1994 flood that caused extensive damage. During four days of torrential rain, six people have died in floods along the Brazos, which runs from New Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico.


Chad's ex-dictator convicted, sentenced to life for abuses
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) - Former Chad dictator Hissene Habre was found guilty Monday of crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and sex crimes during his rule and he was sentenced to life in prison, ending a trial more than 15 years in the making. Victims, former prisoners and their relatives broke out into whoops of joy, hugs and tears in the courtroom when ruling was announced by the three-judge panel in the special court in Senegal. A defiant Habre raised his fist and shouted to his supporters: "Long live independent Africa! Down with France-Africa!" His wife wept and his backers called him a defender of Africa as the 73-year-old Habre was escorted from court.


Mexican soccer player Alan Pulido overpowered kidnappers
CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (AP) - About 24 hours after he was kidnapped, Mexican soccer star Alan Pulido found himself alone with one of his captors and saw his chance. He wrestled away the man's pistol and his cellphone and dialed Mexico's emergency number. Within minutes, he was free. An official summary report of three calls to an emergency operator obtained by The Associated Press shows the 25-year-old forward for Olympiakos in the Greek league threatened and beat his captor while on the phone, demanding to be told where they were. The dramatic account of derring-do shows that Pulido - listed at 5-foot-9 (176 centimeters) and about 150 pounds (68 kilograms) - was the main actor in his own liberation, a contrast with initial official accounts of a rescue by police.


Tropical Depression Bonnie dissipates after heavy rains
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Tropical Depression Bonnie and its heavy rains dissipated over South Carolina on Monday, as a wet Memorial Day holiday weekend comes to an end in the area. The depression fell apart early in the day about 45 miles north of Charleston, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm was expected to continue as an area of low pressure, moving northeast into North Carolina and sporadically spreading heavy rain, especially during the daylight hours, forecasters said. The main concern throughout the holiday weekend has been heavy rains and strong surf more than wind. Bonnie dropped about 8 inches of rain in southern South Carolina on Sunday, closing the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 about 20 miles north of the Georgia state line for about 16 hours.

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