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AP Top News at 12:10 a.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation Friday night to strengthen the administration's hand in global trade talks, clearing the way for a highly unpredictable summer showdown in the House. The vote was 62-37 to give Obama authority to complete trade deals that Congress could approve or reject, but not change. A total of 48 Republicans supported the measure, but only 14 of the Senate's 44 Democrats backed a president of their own party on legislation near the top of his second-term agenda.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Iran has entered the fight to retake a major Iraqi oil refinery from Islamic State militants, contributing small numbers of troops - including some operating artillery and other heavy weapons - in support of advancing Iraqi ground forces, U.S. defense officials said Friday. Two U.S. defense officials said Iranian forces have taken a significant offensive role in the Beiji operation in recent days, in conjunction with Iraqi Shiite militia. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
BEIRUT (AP) - Islamic State group militants hunted down Syrian government troops and loyalists in the newly captured town of Palmyra, shooting or beheading them in public as a warning, and imposing their strict interpretation of Islam, activists said Friday. The purge, which relied mostly on informants, was aimed at solidifying the extremists' grip on the strategic town that was overrun Wednesday by IS fighters.
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