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AP Top International News At 8:04 a.m. EST

Family, diplomats say no new word on Islamic State hostages
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- The family of a Jordanian fighter pilot held by the Islamic State group said Saturday it has received no word on his fate since the militants threatened to kill him earlier this week....

Is he dead? Philippines awaits answer of costly terror raid
MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- The cellphone message of the Filipino police commandos to their base was triumphant: "Mike 1 bingo," a code meaning they have killed one of Southeast Asia's most-wanted terror suspects, Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan....

Former German president Richard von Weizsaecker dies at 94
BERLIN (AP) -- Former German President Richard von Weizsaecker, who declared Germany's World War II surrender a "day of liberation" for his country as he urged it to confront the Nazi past, and promoted reconciliation during a 10-year tenure that spanned the reunification of west and east, has died. He was 94....

Vatican hits sour note with women, but progress may come
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- A new Vatican outreach initiative to listen to women hit a sour note before it even got off the ground: The sexy blonde on its Internet promo video came under such ridicule that it was quickly taken down....

IS hostage drama shows change in propaganda technique
BEIRUT (AP) -- The latest Islamic State hostage drama involving a veteran Japanese war correspondent and a young Jordanian pilot marks the first time the group has publicly demanded prisoner releases. It also signals a change in the extremist group's propaganda technique....

Iraqi libraries ransacked by Islamic State group in Mosul
BAGHDAD (AP) -- When Islamic State group militants invaded the Central Library of Mosul earlier this month, they were on a mission to destroy a familiar enemy: other people's ideas....

Italy's lawmakers elect Sergio Mattarella as president
ROME (AP) -- Italian lawmakers elected Sergio Mattarella, a Constitutional Court justice widely considered to be above the political fray, as the nation's new president on the third day of voting Saturday....

Beijing Winter Olympics bid highlights skiing, hockey growth
CHONGLI, China (AP) -- Clad in neon-green from head to toe, Chinese snowboarder He Qiang is part of a growing cohort of middle-class enthusiasts in a country with little tradition of winter sports but that is now seeking to host the 2022 Winter Olympics....

Africa agrees to send 7,500 troops to fight Boko Haram
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -- African leaders have agreed to send 7,500 troops to fight the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria, an African Union official said Saturday....

Japan self-censors images, words linked to hostage crisis
TOKYO (AP) -- Images or mentions of knives, ransom or blood - or anything else that can be seen alluding to the hostage crisis involving two Japanese in Syria - have been omitted. Some anime and other entertainment programs are altering, canceling or postponing episodes violating those sensitivities - typical of the kind of self-restraint shown here to avoid controversy....

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AP Photo/Nasser Nasser
World Video
Up to the Minute
Africa
Africa agrees to send 7,500 troops to fight Boko Haram

Asia
China offers up to $50K in cash for terror tips in Tibet

Europe
Fire devastates major Russian library

Latin America/Caribbean
Test of gun finds only DNA of deceased Argentine prosecutor

Middle East
Morocco, France mend long spat, restore legal collaboration