CHINA-YEAR OF THE SHEEP
BEIJING -- Chinese see in the Year of the Sheep, but with fortune-tellers predicting accidents and an unstable economy and some parents-to-be fretting over the year's reputation for docile kids, this zodiac year isn't exactly warming everyone's heart. By Louise Watt. UPCOMING by 0800GMT: 800 words.
TOKYO -- Japan's trade deficit plunged nearly 60 percent in January from a year before as exports rose and its import bill for oil and gas dropped thanks to sharply lower crude oil prices. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT, photos.
BANGKOK -- Thailand's attorney general presses criminal charges against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for negligence related to her government's money-losing rice subsidy scheme, a move likely to prolong conflicts in a divided nation plagued by political turmoil and coups. SENT: 320 words.
KATHMANDU, Nepal -- Police say lighting struck a mountain village in northeast Nepal killing at least three people while a snow storm on a popular trekking route struck a group of hikers. The village is just south of Mount Everest. SENT: 110 words.
NEW ZEALAND-US FAMILY DEATHS
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand authorities say an American couple and their daughter were killed and their son critically injured when their car crashed into a logging truck. SENT: 200 words.
PHILIPPINES-NEW YEAR DANCERS-PHOTO GALLERY
MANILA -- Amid the deafening drum beats and firecracker blasts, the colorful dragon snakes into a building in downtown Manila while 3 lion heads bob to the crowd's delight. Behind the Chinese New Year show, paid for by business establishments in the belief that it will drive misfortunes away and bring in good luck, are eight poor Filipino siblings popularly known as the Sicat brothers. They mount the lion and dragon dance performance to entertain and earn a living. by Aaron Favila. UPCOMING: 100 words, photo gallery
US & INTERNATIONAL
WHITE HOUSE-FIGHTING EXTREMISM
WASHINGTON -- Making Muslims and other immigrants feel they're full members of American society can be an effective defense against radicalization, President Barack Obama tells a summit on violent extremism. By Josh Lederman. SENT: 1,300 words, photos, video.
ARTEMIVSK, Ukraine -- Government soldiers pull out of a ferociously contested railway hub in eastern Ukraine, ending a siege so intense the retreating troops said they couldn't get water or food amid relentless shelling by Russian-backed separatists. At least six soldiers were killed in the withdrawal and more than 100 wounded. By Balint Szlanko and Jim Heintz. SENT: 900 words with new approach, photos, video.
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. has screened about 1,200 moderate Syrian rebels who could participate in a new training program so they eventually can return to the fight against Islamic State insurgents who have taken control of large portions of Syria, the Pentagon says. By Lolita C. Baldor. UPCOMING: 450 words, photo.
-- SYRIA -- Ferocious fighting near Aleppo as UN envoy pushes plan for truce in city. SENT: 840 words, photos, video.
CAIRO -- Libya, virtually a failed state the past years, has provided a perfect opportunity for the Islamic State group to expand from its heartland of Syria and Iraq to establish a strategic stronghold close to European shores. Extremists loyal to the group have control of two coastal cities, have moved toward oil facilities and are gradually infiltrating the capital Tripoli. By Maggie Michael. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.
MOROCCO-REFUGEES IN LIMBO
NADOR, Morocco -- Precious Omoregbe, a 2-year-old with bright eyes, has lived most of her short life in a crude tent made of branches and a plastic tarp in a refugee camp, as her parents wait for the best chance to make the crossing into Europe. But Morocco's tolerance for the tens of thousands of African migrants living within its borders appears to be at an end. By Paul Schemm. SENT: 950 words, photos.
MILAN -- Shops in Europe are discounting aggressively to attract customers. The good news is it's working -- spending is up. The bad news is consumers could come to expect and rely on bargains and start delaying big purchases. Expectations for lower prices can set off an economic chain reaction -- deflation -- that can sink an economy for years. By Colleen Barry. SENT: 960 words, photos.
ATHENS, Greece -- Greece is preparing to present its creditors with an official proposal aimed to save bailout talks from collapse, as time is running out for a deal that would keep the country solvent and within the euro currency bloc. By Nicholas Paphitis. SENT: 800 words, photos.
NEW YORK - A review of Oscar balloting over the decades tells the story: Actors of color don't win many Academy Awards. We look behind the numbers. Is Hollywood an unequal opportunity employer? By Film Writer Jake Coyle. SENT: 1,600 words, with a 900-word abridged version, photos, graphics.
-- OSCARS-DIVERSITY-BY THE NUMBERS -- Oscars diversity - By the Numbers. SENT: 200 words.
PARIS -- With a racist song ringing in his ears, a black man trying to board a subway train in Paris stands back after twice being pushed away by Chelsea soccer fans. A video of the clash shocks Europeans, and prompts the Paris prosecutor's office to open an investigation into racially-motivated violence on public transit. By Jerome Pugmire. SENT: 730 words, photo.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION
-- UNITED STATES-ISRAEL -- U.S. officials have begun to withhold from Israel some sensitive information about the nuclear talks with Iran, further chilling the allies' once-warm relationship. SENT: 600 words.
-- HAWAII-FORBIDDEN WATERFALL -- Hawaii officials try to convince people to stay away from a dramatic but deadly waterfall, but they're battling online videos extolling its beauty. SENT: 600 words with new approach, photos.
-- BRITAIN-PRINCE IN SEWER -- Prince Charles got down and dirty, visiting a sewer tunnel under London's east end to mark the 150th anniversary of the city's sewers. SENT: 250 words, photos, video.
YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Scott McDonald. 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 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.