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AP Top International News at 12:00 a.m. EDT

Foreigners who joined IS faced almost certain death in Raqqa
PARIS (AP) -- The forces fighting the remnants of the Islamic State group in Syria have tacit instructions on dealing with the foreigners who joined the extremist group by the thousands: Kill them on the battlefield....

54 Egyptian police killed in ambush, say officials
CAIRO (AP) -- At least 54 policemen, including 20 officers and 34 conscripts, were killed when a raid on a militant hideout southwest of Cairo was ambushed, officials said Saturday. The ensuing firefight was one of the deadliest for Egyptian security forces in recent years....

Spanish PM aims to take over Catalan govt; residents aghast
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Spain announced an unprecedented plan Saturday to sack Catalonia's separatist leaders, install its own people in their place and call a new local election, using previously untapped constitutional powers to take control of the prosperous region that is threatening to secede....

Japan votes for lower house; Abe's party seen headed for win
TOKYO (AP) -- Voting in a general election started Sunday that would most likely hand Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's right-wing ruling coalition a victory and possibly close to a two-thirds majority in parliament....

Japan election: How deep is support for Prime Minister Abe?
TOKYO (AP) -- An expected victory for Japan's ruling coalition in national elections Sunday may overstate public support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal-Democratic Party....

Chinese propaganda faces stiff competition from celebrities
HONG KONG (AP) -- When the propaganda film, "The Founding of an Army," hit theaters in China recently, the reaction wasn't quite what the ruling Communist Party might have hoped for....

WHO chief now 'rethinking' Mugabe 'goodwill ambassador' post
GENEVA (AP) -- After widespread shock and condemnation, the head of the World Health Organization said Saturday he is "rethinking" his appointment of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as a "goodwill ambassador."...

Malta offers $1.18 million to discover who killed reporter
VALLETTA, Malta (AP) -- Malta's government on Saturday offered an "unprecedented" 1 million euro ($1.18 million) reward and full protection for anyone with information on who killed an investigative reporter with a car bomb....

Populist billionaire's party wins big in Czech Republic
PRAGUE (AP) -- The centrist ANO movement led by populist Andrej Babis decisively won the Czech Republic's parliamentary election Saturday in a vote that shifted the country to the right and paved the way for the euroskeptic billionaire to become its next prime minister....

Somalia readies for 'state of war' as death toll up to 358
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Somalia's president on Saturday urged troops to prepare for a "state of war" against the al-Shabab extremist group blamed for the country's deadliest attack, as the toll reached 358 with dozens still said to be missing a week after the truck bombing in Mogadishu....

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Up to the Minute
Africa
Somalia readies for 'state of war' as death toll up to 358

Asia
Japan votes for lower house; Abe's party seen headed for win

Europe
Populist billionaire's party wins big in Czech Republic

Latin America/Caribbean
Mexico joins legal fight against Texas sanctuary cities law

Middle East
54 Egyptian police killed in ambush, say officials