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AP Top International News at 3:34 a.m. EDT

China lifts Xi's status to most powerful leader in decades
BEIJING (AP) -- The ruling Communist Party on Tuesday formally lifted Xi Jinping's status to China's most powerful ruler in decades, setting the stage for the authoritarian leader to tighten his grip over the country while pursuing an increasingly muscular foreign policy and military expansion....

Xi accrues power, worrying critics and delighting supporters
BEIJING (AP) -- The model lunar rover didn't much impress the retiree in a cotton Mao jacket visiting an exhibition of Chinese achievements under President Xi Jinping. Nor did the displays charting China's climate change progress or other technological advancements....

Women on trial visit scene of attack on North Korean scion
SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) -- The two women accused of killing the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were taken back to the scene of the crime on Tuesday as their murder trial moved from the courtroom to the Malaysian airport for a three-hour inspection tour under heavy police guard....

Saudi Arabia opens major conference with eye on investment
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Saudi Arabia has opened a major investment conference aimed at shining a spotlight on the country's efforts to diversify its revenue streams and overhaul its economy and society....

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong freed on bail pending appeal
HONG KONG (AP) -- Hong Kong's highest court freed pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law on bail Tuesday pending an appeal of their prison sentences after they were convicted of sparking massive protests in 2014....

Mysterious braid-chopping bandits have Kashmiris in panic
SRINAGAR, India (AP) -- Hundreds of young men - armed with knives, cricket bats and iron rods - patrol the nighttime streets of India-controlled Kashmir these days, hoping their ad-hoc vigilante groups will deter the mysterious bandits reportedly chopping off women's long, woven hair....

New Zealand aims to go green with electricity, tree planting
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- New Zealand's incoming government is hoping to make the nation greener by planting 100 million trees each year, ensuring the electricity grid runs entirely from renewable energy, and spending more money on cycle ways and rail transport....

AP PHOTOS: King's image omnipresent in mourning Thailand
Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej watched over his kingdom for 70 years - and he continues to do so a year after his death....

IS came with a hit list, left Syria town in a trail of blood
BEIRUT (AP) -- The Islamic State militants came into the Syrian town with a hit list. By the time they left three weeks later, more than 70 civilians had been killed - shot or beheaded, their bodies dumped in farms and ditches....

Catalan parliament to respond to Spain's planned takeover
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Catalonia's regional parliament plans to hold a debate this week on the Spanish prime minister's plan to take direct control of the region - a session many fear could lead to a vote declaring Catalan independence....

AP Photo
AP Photo/Andy Wong
World Video
Up to the Minute
Kenya president says polls must be this week, despite doubts

Xi accrues power, worrying critics and delighting supporters

EU chief says Brexit talks are toughest test, urges unity

Latin America/Caribbean
Venezuela opposition governors take oath before assembly

Middle East
Saudi Arabia opens major conference with eye on investment