TOKYO -- Japan's economy emerges from recession in the last quarter, growing at a 2.2 percent annualized rate as exports and public spending helped to offset weaker residential investment. However, the preliminary data released Monday put growth for the world's third-largest economy in 2014 flat at 0.0 percent, the slowest rate in three years, while real wages fell 0.1 percent. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 600 words, photos.
BANGKOK -- Thailand's economy barely grew last year as tourism, investment and exports fell after months of anti-government protests and a May coup. The National Economic and Social Development Board said Monday the economy grew 0.7 percent in 2014, falling short of expectations of 1 percent growth. SENT: 260 words.
BEIJING -- Chinese authorities say a former vice chairman for the country's top political advisory body has been expelled from the Communist Party and stripped of all government positions because of bribery. SENT: 130 words.
TOKYO -- South Africa's ambassador to Japan has sent a letter of protest to a conservative Japanese newspaper about a recent column that in essence advocated separate residences for foreign workers modeled on apartheid. The Feb. 11 column in the Sankei newspaper by well-known conservative writer Ayako Sono said Japan needs foreign workers to offset its shrinking population, but that based on the South Africa experience, different races should live separately. SENT: 180 words.
BEIJING -- On the Internet, in college classrooms and in corporate offices, the Chinese Communist Party has dramatically raised the virtual wall separating the world's most populous country from the rest of the globe. It is explicitly professing a distrust of outside influences that could threaten the party's control on society. By Jack Chang. UPCOMING: 1,250 words by 1500 GMT, photos.
HONG KONG-FERRY ACCIDENT
HONG KONG -- News reports say a Hong Kong ferry captain has been sentenced to eight years in prison for the deaths of 39 people in a 2012 accident that was the southern Chinese city's biggest maritime disaster in decades. SENT: 130 words.
US & INTERNATIONAL
CAIRO -- A video released by militants in Libya claiming loyalty to the Islamic State group purports to show the mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages. The video shows several men in orange jumpsuits being led along a beach, each accompanied by a masked militant. The men are made to kneel and one militant addresses the camera in English before the men are simultaneously beheaded. SENT: 1,140 words, photos.
-- AMERICAN-ISLAMIC STATE -- Kayla Mueller's boyfriend speaks to The Associated Press in one of his first interviews, detailing the last time he saw her as a prisoner of Islamic State militants, who later confirmed her death. SENT: 845 words.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- The slain gunman suspected in the deadly Copenhagen attacks was a 22-year-old with a history of violence and may have been inspired by Islamic terrorists -- and possibly the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, Danish authorities say. The suspect had opened fire at a cultural center hosting a seminar on free speech with an artist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad and then later at security forces outside a synagogue, police say. By Jan M. Olsen and Karl Ritter. SENT: 1,060 words, photos, video, graphic.
-- DENMARK-SHOTS-REACTIONS -- World leaders denounce the Copenhagen shootings as an attack on the freedom of speech. SENT: 620 words, photos.
-- ISRAEL-DENMARK-SHOTS -- Israel's prime minister calls for the "massive immigration" of European Jews to Israel following a deadly shooting near Copenhagen's main synagogue. SENT: 720 words, photos.
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- A teenage female suicide bomber blows herself up at crowded bus station in northeast Nigeria, killing at least 16 and wounding 30 others. SENT: 340 words.
LUHANSKE, Ukraine -- A cease-fire that went into effect Sunday in east Ukraine appears largely to be holding, although continued fighting over a bitterly contested railway hub is threatening to upend the delicate settlement. In a conference call, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany agree that hostilities should cease also around the government-held town of Debaltseve, but armed separatists appear intent to pursue their claim to the town. By Petr Josek and Peter Leonard. SENT: 1,070 words, photos, video.
BLACK FEMALE FILMMAKERS
LOS ANGELES -- Three black women had their movies released last year, more than ever before. But just three films. Out of the 373 movies released in theaters. So while there's been a lot of talk about the lack of diversity among this year's Oscar acting nominees, the larger issue may be the overwhelming lack of diversity among those telling the stories on the big screen. By Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen. SENT: 900 words, photos. By Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen. Eds: The story has moved as the Monday Spotlight.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION:
-- UNITED NATIONS-YEMEN -- UN Security Council approves resolution demanding Yemen rebels 'immediately' give up power. SENT: 770 words.
-- CARNIVAL-GRINGO SAMBA -- Foreigners visiting Brazil for Carnival celebrations can learn a few basic moves thanks to the classes availabl from dancing duo Nete Vieira and her husband Naldi. SENT: 430 words, photo.
-- YEMEN-GULF COUNTRIES -- Yemen's Gulf Arab neighbors warn that if the world fails to act against the Shiite rebels who have toppled the Yemeni government, they will take whatever actions necessary to maintain regional security and stability. SENT: 430 words, photos.
-- GREECE-BAILOUT -- About 15,000 people have gathered in central Athens to support the newly elected government's push for a better deal on Greece's debt. SENT: 140 words.
-- SCORPION ON PLANE -- A scorpion stings a woman on the hand just before her flight from Los Angeles to Portland takes off. SENT: 130 words.
YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Hrvoje Hranjski. 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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