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AP Top News at 9:26 a.m. EDT

HK leader says China adamant; students seek talks
HONG KONG (AP) - Pro-democracy protesters demanded that Hong Kong's top leader meet with them on Tuesday and threatened wider actions if he did not, after he said China would not budge in its decision to limit voting reforms in the Asian financial hub. Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a speech ahead of Wednesday's National Day holiday, vowed to "steadfastly safeguard" Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. He said Beijing believes Hong Kong will "create an even better future in the big family of the motherland."


Secret Service head faces questions on WH breach
WASHINGTON (AP) - Most Washington scandals that end up on Capitol Hill tend to end the same way: with an apology. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson will face lawmakers Tuesday for the first public accounting of the details surrounding an embarrassing and worrisome security breach at the White House earlier this month that, according to a congressman, was worse than the Secret Service has publicly acknowledged. The question is, will she follow the script?


Obama goal of Gitmo closure stalled at Pentagon
WASHINGTON (AP) - The transfer of prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay has ground to a halt amid a slow Pentagon approval process, causing deep frustration within the administration and raising doubts that President Barack Obama will be able to fulfill his campaign promise to close the offshore prison for terrorism suspects. A detainee sent back to his native Algeria in March is the only prisoner to have moved out this year, beyond the controversial exchange of five Taliban members in return for long-held captive U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.


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Afghanistan, US sign long-awaited security pact
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan and the United States signed a security pact on Tuesday to allow U.S. forces to remain in the country past the end of year, ending a year of uncertainty over the fate of foreign troops supporting Afghanis as they take over responsibility for the country's security. Afghan, American and NATO leaders welcomed the deal, which will allow about 10,000 American troops to stay in the country after the international combat mission ends Dec. 31. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai had refused to sign it despite U.S. threats of a full withdrawal in the absence of legal protections for American forces. U.S. officials have said that the delay in the deal's signing does not affect plans for next year.


Hostage tale suggests IS wary of upsetting Turkey
SILOPI, Turkey (AP) - Turkish truck driver Ozgur Simsek was sleeping off a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) fuel run to the Qayara power station in Iraq, he said, when he heard banging on his vehicle's door. "IS took over last night," the power plant's foreman shouted, referring to the Islamic State group. "Empty your trucks and run!"


Police: Body of Arkansas real estate agent found
SCOTT, Ark. (AP) - Police discovered the body of a missing Arkansas real estate agent in a shallow grave at a concrete company early Tuesday, and a man has been jailed on suspicion of kidnapping and killing her, authorities said. Investigators found the body of real estate agent Beverly Carter, 49, Tuesday at Argos Concrete Company in a rural area about 25 miles northeast of Little Rock. Carter's body was found more than 20 miles away from Scott, where she had an appointment to show a house Thursday but hadn't been seen since.


Virginia police: Forensic evidence links 2 cases
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - They both were walking alone, separated from their friends late at night on or near the University of Virginia campus. One was found dead nearly five years ago. The other is still missing. And now police believe they have found a link between the 2009 slaying of Morgan Harrington and the Sept. 13 disappearance of Hannah Graham: Forensic evidence found in the arrest of a hospital worker and former taxi driver who fled the state when he learned police wanted to question him about the Graham case.


Families wait in agony for word on Ebola patients
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - First the ring tone echoed outside the barbed-wire-topped walls of the Ebola clinic. Then came the wails of grief, as news spread that 31-year-old Rose Johnson was dead just days after she was brought here unconscious by relatives. Soon her mother's sorrow became so unbearable, her body so limp and heavy, that even her two other daughters could no longer help her stand.


Colorado high court considers pot firing case
DENVER (AP) - Pot may be legal in Colorado, but you can still be fired for using it. Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient who was fired by the Dish Network after failing a drug test more than four years ago, says he still can't find steady work because employers are wary of his off-duty smoking.


AP PHOTOS: Rush-hour keeps billions on the move
On packed subways and crowded highways, billions of people participate in a short-distance population shift twice a day: the rhythmic ritual of the daily commute to and from work. More than 300 million people use the United States' transport systems every day, and in 2012 a whopping 76 percent of them got to work by driving alone, a U.S. Department of Transportation report out last week noted. That can make for a lot of gridlock.