PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia -- Highlighting the depth of Indonesia's air safety problems, the transportation ministry announces harsh measures against officials who allowed AirAsia Flight 8501 to take off without proper permits -- including the suspension of the airport's operator and officials in the control tower. By Tatan Syuflana. SENT: 800 words, photos.
KABUL, Afghanistan -- A suicide car bomber strikes near the headquarters of the European police training mission in Kabul, killing one Afghan civilian and wounding five others nearby, officials say. The Taliban claims responsibility for the attack, the first against a foreign target in the Afghan capital in 2015. By Rahim Faiez. SENT: 360 words, photos.
ADELAIDE, Australia -- More than two dozen homes have been destroyed or badly damaged and almost 30 people have sought medical treatment as a result of a massive wildfire that has raged out of control for days across farms and woodland in southern Australia, officials say. Hundreds of firefighters have taken advantage of milder conditions in recent days to attempt to contain the fire that has razed 12,500 hectares (31,000 acres) of countryside in hills northwest of the South Australia state capital Adelaide. SENT: 250 words.
DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Two men on a motorbike open fire on a group of anti-government activists in northwestern Bangladesh, killing two amid heightened tensions on the anniversary of a general election boycotted by a major opposition alliance last year, an opposition leader says. By Julhas Alam. SENT: 530 words.
TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his government will express remorse for World War II on the 70th anniversary of its end in August. Abe is known for his nationalist views, and many analysts have speculated that he may downplay Japan's responsibility for the war. At a year-opening news conference, he sought to reassure the world that he wouldn't veer from past official statements on Japan's wartime responsibility. By Ken Moritsugu. SENT: 570 words, photos.
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's former President Chen Shui-bian is granted a one-month medical parole for treatment of neural degeneration, more than four years into his 20-year prison sentence for corruption. Chen, 64, rolled down a car window and waved to about 200 supporters while a police escort took him out of the main gate at Taichung prison. SENT: 250 words, photos.
YANGON, Myanmar -- Church colleagues welcome home Archbishop Charles Maung Bo, a day after his appointment by Pope Francis as Myanmar's first Roman Catholic cardinal. Bo, the archbishop of Yangon, was one of 20 new cardinals whose appointments were announced Sunday. They are from 18 countries, including two others that never before had a cardinal: Cape Verde and Tonga. SENT: 460 words, photos.
SEOUL, South Korea -- Three things to know about new U.S. sanctions against North Korea over a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, whose movie depicting the fictional assassination of North Korea's leader has infuriated Pyongyang, which denies responsibility for the cyberattack: By Foster Klug. SENT: 520 words, photos.
JAPAN-RICE CAKE DEATHS
TOKYO -- At least nine people have reportedly choked to death on New Year's rice cakes in Japan, and officials are urging people to chew slowly on the treats. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 210 words, photos.
CANBERRA, Australia -- New York hip-hop artist Joey Bada$$ has been charged in an Australian court with assaulting a security guard before a performance last week, officials say. SENT: 240 words.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE:
BEIJING -- China has scrapped its export quotas for rare earths, minerals used in mobile phones and other high-tech products, after losing a World Trade Organization case brought by Washington and other trading partners over controls that alarmed global technology producers. SENT: 510 words.
BEIJING -- The chairman of Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi says its sales more than doubled last year to $12.2 billion. In a posting on his company blog, Jun Lei said the 5-year-old company sold 61.1 million handsets, a 227 percent increase over 2013. Revenue rose 135 percent to 74.3 billion yuan ($12.2 billion). SENT: 140 words.
JAPAN-NEW YEAR TUNA
TOKYO -- A single bluefin tuna sells for 4.5 million yen ($37,500) in annual celebratory bidding at the first auction of the year at Tokyo's famous fish market. Kiyoshi Kimura, the owner of a Japanese sushi restaurant chain, bought the 180-kilogram (400-pound) fish at the re-opening of the Tsukiji market after the extended New Year's break. AP Photo Gallery. SENT: 120 words, photos.
U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:
BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING
BOSTON -- People who lost loved ones or were injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings clamor for justice as jury selection gets underway in one of the nation's most closely watched federal death penalty cases in two decades. Seating jurors in the case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is set to begin Monday under tight security at the federal courthouse in Boston. By Denise Lavoie. SENT: 640 words, photos, video.
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama this week will test whether he still has the sway to keep Washington focused on his own priorities, even as a new Republican-run Congress descends on the Capitol. Obama begins ramping up for his State of the Union address on Jan. 20 -- his best chance to set the agenda for 2015 on his own terms. By Josh Lederman. SENT: 540 words, photos.
GADGET SHOW-CONNECTED EVERYTHING
LAS VEGAS -- In the "smart home," cars, home appliances and other devices will all have sensors and Internet connectivity to think and act for themselves. We're not there just yet, but we're getting closer. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 890 words, photos, video.
MEXICO CITY -- What is supposed to be "Mexico's moment," a new era of transparency and reform, feels a lot like the same old age of violence and corruption. SENT: 940 words, photos.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION
-- NIGERIA-VIOLENCE -- Fleeing civilians say Boko Haram Islamic extremists have overpowered a multinational military force and seized their key base on Nigeria's border with Chad. SENT: 310 words.
-- BRITAIN-QUEEN -- Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II will make a state visit to Germany in June -- the fifth such engagement of her long reign. SENT: 100 words.
-- FRANCE-GREECE-EURO -- France's president raises the possibility of Greece leaving the shared euro currency, but says that's a decision for "Greece alone" to make. SENT: 140 words, photo.
YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is David Thurber. Questions and story requests are welcome. The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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