• Xi was mentioned in official media for the first time since his last appearance on Sept. 1; report failed to explain the extended absence that has sparked the rumors.

    LAST UPDATE : Dec 07, 2012, 3:30 AM EST
  • In this Oct. 8, 2011 file photo, North Korean farmers walk along a road through a farm field outside the eastern coastal city of Wonsan, in Kangwon province, North Korea.

    A string of long-doubtful observers have become increasingly convinced that economic change is afoot, akin to China's first flirtations with market reforms 30 years ago.

    LAST UPDATE : Dec 07, 2012, 1:00 AM EST
  • In this Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 photo, Shiite Muslims visit their graveyard in Pakistan's violent Baluchistan capital of Quetta, Pakistan, where radical Sunni Muslim rivals have terrorized and murdered minority Shiites in a wave of suicide bombings and target killings.

    Pakistan's Shiite minority is feeling under siege as Sunni militants who view them as heretics step up a campaign of sectarian attacks.

    LAST UPDATE : Dec 07, 2012, 12:00 AM EST
  • A vendor pushes a cart selling fried buns at a Hutong alley in Beijing, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012.

    The Chinese president warned growth could slow further, prompting expectations of possible new stimulus spending.

    LAST UPDATE : Dec 06, 2012, 8:00 PM EST
  • In this Sept. 2, 2012 file photo, the survey ship Koyo Maru, left, chartered by Tokyo city officials, sails around Minamikojima, foreground, Kitakojima, middle right, and Uotsuri, background.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Japan will buy the three uninhabited islands in the East China Sea from a Japanese family it recognizes as the owner.

    LAST UPDATE : Dec 06, 2012, 7:00 PM EST
  • Claudia Mo Man-ching, center, of the pro-democracy Civic Party celebrates with her supporters after winning at a seat on the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. Hong Kong voters cast ballots in legislative elections Sunday that will help determine the eventual shape of full democracy that Beijing has promised the former British colony.

    Hong Kong's legislature is split between those aligned with Beijing and those who favor further democratic reforms.

    LAST UPDATE : Dec 06, 2012, 6:30 PM EST