BEIJING -- China and India sound a new optimistic tone in their relationship as they sign an agreement to boost meetings between their militaries to avoid any repeat of a tense standoff this year along their disputed Himalayan border. By Louise Watt. SENT: 700 words, photos.
SYDNEY -- A military training exercise ignited the largest of the wildfires that have ravaged Australia's most populous state over the past week, investigators say. By Kristen Gelineau. SENT: 400 words, photos, video.
MANILA, Philippines -- A Filipino-British company has begun talks with China's state-owned offshore oil producer for an oil- and gas-exploration deal in part of the South China Sea where Philippine and Chinese vessels were involved in a confrontation just 2 1/2 years ago. If a deal is struck, it would be the first between China and the Philippines involving territory in the sea that both countries claim. By Jim Gomez. SENT: 550 words, photos.
BEIJING -- A Chinese newspaper makes a rare front-page appeal for police to release one of its reporters after he was detained for writing reports alleging financial misdeeds at a large, state-owned construction equipment company. In an editorial boldly headlined "Please release him," The New Express newspaper said there was no evidence the journalist, Chen Yongzhou, had committed any crime. It said journalists should not be criminally prosecuted for responsibly reporting facts that may embarrass influential companies or individuals. By Gillian Wong. SENT: 420 words, photos.
WASHINGTON -- In the rocky relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan, the mere fact that President Barack Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are sitting down together at the White House is seen as a sign of progress. Few breakthroughs are expected on the numerous hot-button issues on their agenda Wednesday, including American drone strikes and Pakistan's alleged support for the Taliban. But officials in both countries are hoping to scale back tensions that escalated after the 2011 U.S. raid within Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden and last year's accidental killing of two dozen Pakistani troops in an American airstrike along the Afghan border. By Julie Pace. SENT: 400 words, photo.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Thousands of Cambodian opposition supporters begin a three-day rally to protest what they say was a rigged election and the illegitimate return to power of Prime Minister Hun Sen. By Justine Drennan. SENT: 360 words.
SRINAGAR, India -- India accuses Pakistani troops of firing guns and mortars on at least 50 Indian border posts overnight in disputed Kashmir, calling it the most serious cease-fire violation between the nuclear-armed neighbors in a decade. By Aijaz Hussain. SENT: 630 words, photos.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE:
SEOUL, South Korea -- A South Korean court says studies conducted to evaluate safety at Samsung chip factories failed to fully examine workplace health hazards, undermining the electronics giant's efforts to distance itself from claims that its manufacturing plants caused fatal cancers. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 560 words.
NEW ZEALAND-POSTAL SERVICE
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Mail will soon be delivered to suburban New Zealand homes just three days a week as the country's postal service responds to the rise of smartphones and the decline of letters. The government agreed to a steep reduction in the six day a week service from 2015 following lobbying from New Zealand Post. The company said reduced delivery days will result in significant job losses. By Nick Perry. SENT: 370 words.
GANNAN PREFECTURE, China -- Soon after Sangay Gyatso self-immolated, police came knocking on his family's door with questions -- and seemingly the answers as well. Didn't he have connections to foreign-based separatists? Didn't the family get a 3 million yuan ($500,000) reward? "It was all nonsense," a cousin tells The Associated Press in a rare interview in one of China's ethnic Tibetan regions. Beijing has cast Sangay Gyatso as a thief and a womanizer, just as it has leveled accusations against other Tibetans who have self-immolated. But his cousin said he was motivated by a lack of rights for his people. By Didi Tang and Isolda Morillo. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.
HANOI, Vietnam -- For the young Vietnamese dope smokers rolling up outside a smart Hanoi cafe, local cannabis is just not good enough. As with their Adidas caps, iPhones and tattoos in English and Sanskrit, so with their choice of bud: only foreign stuff will do. Potent marijuana grown indoors in Canada and the United States is as easy to get your hands on in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as cannabis grown locally or in nearby Cambodia, say regular smokers, and sells for up to 10 times the price. Western-grown cannabis is also appearing in Japan and South Korea. Its availability is a sign of how hydroponic growing techniques have shaken up the global marijuana business. By Chris Brummitt. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.
U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:
WASHINGTON -- Twice this year alone, U.S. Air Force officers entrusted with the launch keys to nuclear-tipped missiles have been caught leaving open a blast door that is intended to help prevent a terrorist or other intruder from entering their underground command post, Air Force officials have told The Associated Press. By National Security Writer Robert Burns. SENT: 1,440 words, photos.
-- NUCLEAR MISSTEPS-GLANCE -- A look at violations by officers in nuclear force. SENT: 360 words.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Monsanto Co. is calling for more controls on agrochemicals, including its Roundup line of glyphosate-based weed-killers, in response to an Associated Press report about concerns that illegal pesticide applications are harming human health in Argentina. By Michael Warren. SENT: 1,230 words, photos.
BEIRUT -- The Syrian government has released 13 jailed women, a rights group says -- a move that is likely part of an ambitious regional prisoner exchange. By Diaa Hadid. SENT: 400 words.
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis temporarily expels a German bishop from his diocese because of a scandal over a 31 million euro project to build a new residence complex, but refuses popular calls to remove him. By Nicole Winfield and Daniela Petroff. SENT: 300 words.
LONDON -- Prince William and his wife, Kate, have asked seven people to be godparents to their son, Prince George, who will be christened at a major royal family gathering, palace officials say. By Gregory Katz. Event expected to begin 1400 GMT. UPCOMING: 400 words.
YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Michael Rubin. Questions and story requests are welcome. The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at email@example.com.
The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.
Between 1700 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.