THAILAND-TOURIST MURDER CASE -- A Thai court sentences two Myanmar migrants to death for the murder of two British backpackers on a resort island last year, in a case that raised questions about police competence and the judicial system in Thailand. Human Rights Watch called the verdict "profoundly disturbing." By Yves Dam Van and Jocelyn Gecker. SENT: 870 words, photos.
AFGHANISTAN -- A strategically important district in the southern Afghan province of Helmand that has been besieged by the Taliban for weeks remains under government control after the United States conducted two airstrikes overnight, officials say. By Lynne O'Donnell. SENT: 590 words, photos.
CHINA-BEIJING SECURITY -- Beijing police tighten security around a bar and shopping area popular with foreigners as embassies issue warnings for their citizens to be on guard against possible threats against Westerners. SENT: 180 words, photos.
CHINA-POLLUTION -- More Chinese cities are issuing their first red alerts for pollution in response to forecasts of heavy smog, after the capital, Beijing, issued two this month following criticism for not releasing them earlier. SENT: 270 words, photos.
INDIA-POLLUTION -- The Indian capital, gasping and choking under record-high air pollution, announced a grand plan to clean its air. But that plan seems to be fizzling before it starts. By Ashok Sharma. SENT: 510 words, photos.
JAPAN-DEFENSE BUDGET -- Japan's Cabinet approves a record-high military spending plan, endorsing proposals to purchase pricey U.S. surveillance drones and F-35 fighter jets as Tokyo steps up cooperation with Washington amid China's increasingly assertive activity in regional seas. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 480 words, photos.
JAPAN-NUCLEAR -- A Japanese court gives the go-ahead for the restart of two nuclear reactors after their operator said they were safe. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 340 words, photos.
CHINA-SYRIA -- Syria is ready to take part in U.N.-organized peace talks and hopes the dialogue will help the country find a solution to the crisis, its foreign minister says. SENT: 220 words, photos.
JAPAN-SYRIA-MISSING JOURNALIST -- Japanese government officials decline to comment on a reported ransom demand for a Japanese freelance journalist who has been missing since summer in Syria. SENT: 170 words, photos.
INDONESIA-ARRESTS -- Indonesian police say have arrested two more suspected militants including a member of China's ethnic Uighur minority who was allegedly preparing to be a suicide bomber. SENT: 280 words.
BANGLADESH-ISLAMIST MILITANTS -- Bangladesh security forces arrest seven suspected members of a banned Islamist group blamed for attacks on foreigners and minority groups in the country. SENT: 310 words.
KASHMIR-WATER CHESTNUTS-PHOTO GALLERY -- As the chill of the winter night breaks and the morning haze clears, the young woman wrapped in a woolen tunic rows her shallow boat through the weed-choked waters of Wular Lake until she reaches a marshy spot where a prized crop of water chestnuts grows wild. Text By Aijaz Hussain; Photos By Yasin Dar. SENT: 450 words, photos.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE:
JAPAN-MITSUBISHI JET -- Mitsubishi, a maker of the World War II-era Zero fighter, says it plans to postpone by one year its deliveries of its new regional jet, to mid-2018. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 260 words.
CHINA-NEWS EXTORTION -- A former chairman of the company that publishes one of China's most prominent business newspapers is sentenced to prison for coercing companies into paying to avoid negative coverage. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 350 words.
TAKATA AIR BAGS-DEATH -- A boy who was driving a car that crashed near Pittsburgh has been tentatively identified by the government as the eighth death in the U.S. due to an explosive air bag inflator made by Japanese auto parts maker Takata, according to federal transportation officials and a state police report. By Joan Lowy. SENT: 830 words, photos.
HOW TO REACH US: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is David Thurber. Questions and story requests are welcome.
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