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AP Top Political News At 3:30 p.m. EDT

At heart of Syria fears, extremists returning home
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The case of Mehdi Nemmouche haunts U.S. intelligence officials....

Obama cautions against using force to solve crises
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Faced with deepening crises in the Middle East and Ukraine, President Barack Obama is putting the brakes on the notion that American military power can solve either conflict....

Russian fund with US advisers eludes sanctions
WASHINGTON (AP) -- As President Barack Obama warns of stepped-up economic punishments against Russia for its military incursions inside Ukraine, U.S. sanctions have so far avoided one prominent financial institution: the $10 billion Russian Direct Investment Fund, which has partnered with brand-name American companies and whose advisers include top U.S. and European private equity executives....

New challenge for HealthCare.gov: Tax forms
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal agency that had trouble launching a health insurance website last fall has a massive new project. Any glitches on this one could delay tax refunds for many Americans....

Perry criticizes Obama for 'no strategy' on Syria
DALLAS (AP) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry wasted little time pouncing on President Barack Obama's "we don't have a strategy yet" comments about the violent militant faction attacking cities in Iraq, accusing the White House of "dithering and debating" the threat posed by the Islamic State group....

Obama interrupting weekend trip to return to DC
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is interrupting a weekend trip to return to the White House....

US: Too soon to evaluate Pakistan offensive
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- U.S. military leaders say it's too soon to tell if Pakistan's offensive against militants in North Waziristan has been effective or simply symbolic, but they say the operations have temporarily disrupted the enemy and sent insurgents fleeing into Afghanistan....

USDA seizes more than 1,200 illegal giant snails
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The giant African snail damages buildings, destroys crops and can cause meningitis in humans. But some people still want to collect, and even eat, the slimy invaders....

Farm worker faces No. 2 Republican for House seat
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Raul Garcia has a question for Kevin McCarthy, the House's No. 2 Republican: "While we are waiting for you on immigration reform, who should be harvesting America's food?"...

High school buddies followed similar path to jihad
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The two high school buddies loved to shoot hoops and crack jokes with their friends. They both converted to Islam in early adulthood. And both were recruited by terror groups to leave the United States and die for jihadist causes....

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US: Too soon evaluate Pakistan offensive

New challenge for HealthCare.gov: Tax forms

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At heart of Syria fears, extremists returning home

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