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AP Top Political News at 2:52 p.m. EST

Voters wonder if Cruz can heal Washington's bitter divisions
CLINTON, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa Republican Sharon Gilbert thinks her party veered off course in the past two presidential elections by nominating candidates who were too moderate....

US sending new special ops force to fight Islamic State
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. will deploy a new special operations force to the Middle East to help fight Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday....

Congress reaches deal on 5-year transportation bill
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House and Senate have reached agreement on a 5-year, $281 billion transportation bill that would increase spending to address the nation's aging and congested highways and transit systems - a legislative feat that lawmakers and President Barack Obama have struggled throughout his entire administration to achieve....

National security experts back settling Syrian refugees
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former top national security officials in Republican and Democratic administrations on Tuesday urged Congress to continue allowing the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the United States....

US, NATO allies concerned by Russia, but need its help
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The United States and its NATO allies struggled Tuesday to come up with a clear message to send Russia at a time of conflicting concerns in Europe and the Middle East....

House passes intelligence bill with policy guidelines
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has passed a bill to authorize a 7 percent spending increase on intelligence agencies for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, 2016....

O'Malley: I want to be your second choice _ for now
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley appealed to House Democrats on Tuesday to keep him in their consideration as he runs for president....

Report: Drug maker was focused on profits, not patients
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The makers of a breakthrough drug for hepatitis C put profits before patients in pricing the $1,000 pill that cures the liver-wasting disease, Senate investigators said Tuesday....

US victim laments attacks on free speech in Bangladesh
WASHINGTON (AP) -- An American-Bangladeshi writer who survived a machete attack by Muslim extremists that killed her husband is raising alarm about intimidation and violence in the troubled South Asian country....

US appeals court reconsiders decision on ex-bin Laden aide
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal appeals court will reconsider the legality of the only remaining conviction of a Guantanamo Bay detainee who once served as Osama bin Laden's personal assistant....

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AP Photo/John Raoux
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Up to the Minute
US sending new special ops force to fight Islamic State

Obama offers governors individualized reports on refugees

US criticizes imprisonment of China media freedom activist

National security experts back settling Syrian refugees

Puerto Rico makes debt payment, warns of dwindling funds

House passes intelligence bill with policy guidelines

High court rejects challenge to Hawaii campaign finance laws

After victory, Edwards starts piecing together transition

The Latest: Vitter says won't run for US Senate in 2016