BEIJING -- Hundreds of police take down a church's cross in a city known as "China's Jerusalem" for its many houses of worship amid a crackdown on church buildings in a coastal region where thousands of people are embracing Christianity. Evangelist Qu Linuo said he and about 200 others rushed to the Longgang Huai En Church in the eastern city of Wenzhou to protect the building but peacefully made way for the police, who used a crane to remove the red cross from its steeple. Across Zhejiang province, where Wenzhou is located, authorities have toppled or threatened to topple crosses at more than 130 Protestant churches. In a few cases, the government has even razed sanctuaries. SENT: 600 words, photos.
-- CHINA-TOPPLING CROSSES -- The battle started when a government-hired crew tore down the metal cross atop the one-room church in this village surrounded by rice paddies last month. The next day, a church member used his own welding torch to put it back. He was promptly detained and questioned for 10 hours on the charge of operating a welding business without a license. By Didi Tang. SENT: 1,600 words, photos.
HONG KONG-MEDIA CLOSURE
HONG KONG -- A popular Hong Kong pro-democracy website closes, citing political pressure, the latest sign of mounting tensions as the semiautonomous Chinese city braces for a possible shutdown of its financial center by activists fighting Beijing's desire to limit democratic reforms. In a letter posted on the House News website over the weekend, one of the site's founders said he and his family were "terrified" by Hong Kong's political atmosphere. SENT: 440 words.
PHILIPPINES-ABU SAYYAF ATTACK
MANILA, Philippines -- Abu Sayyaf gunmen attack Filipino civilians traveling to celebrate the end of Ramadan with their families, killing 19, including five children, in a brazen road attack that is the bloodiest in recent years by the violent militant group, police and military officials say. Fourteen other civilians were wounded as the group traveled in two vans in a coastal village in Talipao town in predominantly Muslim Sulu province, where the militants have survived in jungle camps despite years of U.S.-backed Philippine military offensives. By Teresa Cerojano. SENT: 440 words.
MANILA, Philippines -- An emotional Philippine president calls his opponents desperate and says many people will carry on his reforms even if he is stopped by a bomb. SENT: 130 words, photos.
SHAKHTARSK, Ukraine -- An international police team fails to reach the crash site of a Malaysian Airlines plane for a second day running as clashes rage in a town on the road to the area. A delegation of Australian and Dutch police and forensic experts stop in Shakhtarsk, a town around 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the fields where the aircraft was downed. By Mstyslav Chernov and Peter Leonard. SENT: 850 words, photos.
-- UNITED NATIONS-RIGHTS-UKRAINE -- The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 may be a war crime, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says. SENT: 370 words, photos.
UKRAINE PLANE-KAL007 LOOK BACK
Those searching for the truth about what happened in the shoot-down of the Malaysia airliner over Ukraine can take little comfort from the history of another passenger jet that was blasted out of the sky over the Soviet Union more than three decades ago: The Kremlin at the time dodged, weaved and obfuscated. Today, we still don't know what exactly happened to Korean Airlines Flight 007. By Steven R. Hurst. SENT: 840 words, photos.
TOKYO -- Japan's top government spokesman says the country is stepping up sanctions against Russia over the unrest in Ukraine. The sanctions include the freezing of assets held in Japan by individuals and groups supporting the separation of Crimea from Ukraine, as well as a ban on Crimean imports, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. He noted that the steps are in line with measures taken by the European Union and Group of Seven nations. SENT: 250 words, photos.
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Outgoing leader Hamid Karzai says his nation needs a new president and urges a speedy conclusion to the ballot audit that will determine his successor. In a speech marking the start of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday that follows the fasting month of Ramadan, Karzai said that Afghans "want to have an outcome to the election as soon as possible, so that this country can have its president soon." SENT: 310 words, photos.
LAHORE, Pakistan -- Pakistani police say a mob has burned down several homes belonging to minority Ahmadi Muslims in the country's east, killing a woman and her two granddaughters following rumors about blasphemous postings on Facebook. SENT: 130 words.
BEIJING -- China has set up alternative flight routes to minimize delays related to military exercises along its southeastern coast that start Tuesday, the Defense Ministry says. The exercises are part of regularly scheduled drills aiming to improve the military's ability to operate under simulated war conditions, the ministry said. SENT: 190 words.
HAT YAI, Thailand -- A 12-year-old girl is killed and seven people, including two other girls, are wounded in a roadside bomb attack near an army base in Thailand's insurgency-plagued south. Suspected insurgents detonated an improvised radio-controlled bomb near an army base in Pattani province's Sai Buri district, as a group of soldiers were finishing their guard duty at a mosque and returning to the base, police say. SENT: 190 words.
CANBERRA, Australia -- More than 150 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who languished on an Australian customs vessel for weeks have been temporarily brought to a detention center on Australia's mainland where their identities will be determined by Indian officials, a government minister says. Australia has made an exception for the 157 men, woman and children from its tough policy of refusing to allow asylum seekers who attempt to reach Australia by boat to ever set foot on the Australian mainland. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 330 words.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE:
TOKYO -- Nissan's quarterly profit rose nearly 37 percent, helped by a favorable exchange rate and healthy sales in North America and China. Nissan Motor Co. reported a better-than-expected net profit of 112 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for the April-June first fiscal quarter, up from 82 billion yen a year earlier. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 510 words, photos.
BEIJING -- A U.S. meat supplier says a Chinese subsidiary embroiled in a safety scandal fell short of its requirements for maintaining high standards. The president of OSI Group, David G. McDonald, declined to give details of what the company has found at Shanghai Husi Food Co. A Shanghai TV station reported last week that Husi sold expired beef and chicken to restaurants including McDonald's and KFC. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 570 words, photos.
BEIJING -- Sohu.com Inc., operator of a popular Chinese Internet portal, says it lost $45 million in the latest quarter while revenue rose 18 percent to $400 million. The loss for the three months ended June 30 compared with a $69 million loss in the previous quarter and an operating profit of $64 million in the same period of 2013. SENT: 220 words.
U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:
JERUSALEM -- Israeli jets strike three sites in Gaza after a rocket is launched at Israel, disrupting a relative lull in the war-torn territory at the start of a major Muslim holiday. The strikes follow an almost 12-hour pause in fighting and come as international efforts intensify to end the three-week conflict between Israel and Hamas. The U.N. calls for an "immediate" cease-fire. By Peter Enav and Ibrahim Barzak. SENT: 770 words, photos, videos.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- In war-struck Gaza, there is no room for the holiday joy that follows the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Men gather for prayers for the Eid al-Fitr holiday in the courtyard of a shelter for the displaced because mosques have been targeted in Israeli airstrikes. At a cemetery, families paying respects to ancestors find graves destroyed from a missile and a bone laid bare in the crater. Mothers struggle to explain to small children why on this Eid, they won't get new clothes and toys. By Karin Laub and Ibrahim Barzak. SENT: 1,070 words, photos, video.
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. --As the Obama administration weans the U.S. off dirty fuels blamed for global warming, energy companies have been sending more of America's unwanted energy leftovers to other parts of the world where they could create even more pollution. This fossil fuel trade threatens to undermine President Barack Obama's strategy for reducing the gases blamed for climate change and reveals a little-discussed side effect of countries acting alone on a global problem. By Dina Cappiello. SENT: 950 words, photos, graphic, interactive.
MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Communications Minister Rosario Murillo is the voice and other face of husband Daniel Ortega's government in a country where Marxist dogma has given way to a free market economy. They appear together on roadside billboards and she holds forth on current events each weekday on national television. With politics long a family affair in Nicaragua, Murillo's public role feeds rumors she will one day be president. By Alberto Arce. SENT: 1,680 words, photos.
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is practically weepy at the thought of his daughter Malia going off to college, a milestone many months away that is on his mind now. At 16, she stands nearly as tall as her 6-foot-1 dad and is visiting college campuses in preparation for that bittersweet day in the fall of 2016 when she trades her White House bedroom for a dorm. By Darlene Superville. SENT: 240 words, photos.
LONDON -- An international court orders Russia to pay over $50 billion in compensation to the former majority shareholder of now-defunct oil producer Yukos over the expropriation of the company more than 10 years ago. In one of the largest arbitration cases ever, a subsidiary for GML Ltd., once the biggest shareholder in Yukos Oil Co., had sought $103.5 billion from Russia. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 590 words, photo.
LANDS OF OPPORTUNITY
SAN FRANCISCO -- Some of the best-known U.S. companies are plowing a land of opportunity outside their home country to fuel growth. Foreign markets played critical roles in the latest quarterly results of technology trendsetters Apple Inc., Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Netflix Inc., helping the companies exceed the analyst projections that sway investors' sentiments. The steadily rising demand for Internet access and online services in countries less affluent than the U.S. makes it likely that these technology companies will be wading even deeper into overseas markets in the years to come. U.S. companies in other sectors, from automakers to food and beverage firms, are also experiencing growth abroad. By Michael Liedtke. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION
-- LIBYA -- The Libyan government is appealing for "international help" after several oil tankers caught fire amid clashes over the country's international airport in the capital, Tripoli. SENT: 330 words, photos.
-- LIGHTNING STRIKES -- A 20-year-old man is dead and 13 other people are injured or shaken up after summer thunderstorms spark lightning strikes at a popular in Southern California beach and on Catalina Island. SENT: 270 words, photos, video.
-- ONLINE-SARAH PALIN CHANNEL -- Sarah Palin launches her own online subscription channel for a "direct connection" with supporters. SENT: 190 words, photo.
-- CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES -- Firefighters in Northern California make progress against a wildfire that has destroyed 13 homes and forced hundreds of evacuations in the Sierra Nevada foothills. SENT: 240 words, photos.
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