SEOUL, South Korea — The leaders of China and South Korea express concern about Japan's recent reinterpretation of its war-renouncing constitution and its re-examination of a past apology for wartime atrocities, a South Korean official says. Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula and occupied parts of China, often brutally, before and during World War II. Many people in China and South Korea still harbor a strong resentment against Japan, and there are concerns in both countries about growing nationalism in Tokyo. By Hyung-jin Kim. SENT: 420 words, photos.


TOKYO — Japan eases its sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang's reopening of a probe into the fate of at least a dozen Japanese allegedly abducted to the North decades ago. The move includes lifting some travel restrictions on North Koreans, allowing port calls by North Korean ships for humanitarian purposes and restrictions on cash sent to the North. But other sanctions, including Japan's own and those under U.N. resolutions, will stay in place. SENT: 350 words, photos.

— JAPAN-NORTH KOREA — Relatives of Japanese abducted by North Korea say a renewed probe is most likely their last chance to see their loved ones, and that they are getting desperate because time is running out after decades of waiting. SENT: 130 words, photos.


HONG KONG — Five people from a Hong Kong activist group that organized a giant pro-democracy rally are arrested on charges of blocking traffic, obstructing police and violating traffic safety. The group, the Civil Human Rights Front, complains that the charges are politically motivated. By Josie Wong. SENT: 470 words.


MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine senator and dictatorship-era defense chief surrenders to face a charge of large-scale corruption, the most prominent of three top politicians in a government anti-graft crackdown. Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile was indicted and ordered arrested by the anti-graft court for allegedly receiving huge kickbacks from a scam that diverted millions of dollars from anti-poverty and development funds allotted to lawmakers. By Teresa Cerojano. SENT: 410 words.


YANGON, Myanmar — Muslims in Myanmar's second-largest city say early morning prayers in peace after an overnight curfew restored calm following two nights of violent rampages by extremist Buddhists. Authorities imposed the curfew in Mandalay after attacks on minority Muslims left two people dead and 14 injured, raising fears that ethnic violence that has plagued the country for two years may escalate again. By Aye Aye Win. SENT: 590 words.


JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia's presidential race appears to have tightened dramatically less than a week before the election with polls showing front-runner and former Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo having lost virtually all the formidable lead he had before his nomination. Analysts say millions of undecided voters have turned to Prabowo Subianto, a former army general who has been accused of abducting pro-democracy activists in 1998 and instigating deadly riots. By Niniek Karmini. SENT: 710 words, photos.


BEIJING — The pastor of a Christian church in central China is sentenced to 12 years in prison in what supporters say is a crackdown aimed at curbing fast-growing religious activity, his lawyer says. Zhang Shaojie of the Nanle County Christian Church in Henan province was convicted of fraud and of gathering crowds to disturb public order, according to lawyer Yang Xingquan. By Didi Tang. SENT: 390 words.


HANOI, Vietnam — Chinese patrol ships arrested six Vietnamese fishermen in waters off China's Hainan Island, officials say, an incident likely to heighten tensions between the nations as they spar over a territorial dispute. SENT: 320 words, photos.


SRINAGAR, India — India's newly elected leader makes his first official trip to Indian-controlled Kashmir, where separatist groups called a strike that shut shops, businesses and schools. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a railway line and planned to review security and development in the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan. By Aijaz Hussain. SENT: 460 words, photos.


MANILA, Philippines — Protesters clash with police near the U.S. Embassy in Manila, where about 100 of them marched to mark Philippine-American Friendship day with a call to junk a new defense pact allowing thousands of U.S. troops to be temporarily based in the country. A policeman and a protester were slightly hurt as demonstrators pushed their way toward the embassy and riot police shoved them back with truncheons and shields. SENT: 180 words, photos.



BEIJING — U.S. diplomats will be barred from the trial in China of an American investigator for GlaxoSmithKline and her British husband who are charged with improperly selling personal information, a U.S. Embassy spokesman says. The arrest of Yu Yingzeng and her husband Peter Humphrey last year coincided with a Chinese investigation of accusations British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline paid bribes to doctors and officials to use its medications. SENT: 390 words.



WASHINGTON — The 5-year-old U.S. recovery is gaining momentum from a surprisingly robust job market and moving the economy closer to full health. Employers added 288,000 jobs in June and helped cut the unemployment rate from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent, the lowest since 2008. It was the fifth straight monthly gain above 200,000 — the best such stretch since the late 1990s tech boom. By Josh Boak. SENT: 990 words, photos, video.


KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. — Hurricane Arthur begins moving offshore and away from North Carolina's Outer Banks after slashing into the state's barrier islands. Arthur strengthens to a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 mph before passing over the southern end of the Outer Banks — a 200-mile string of narrow barrier islands with about 57,000 permanent residents. The islands are susceptible to high winds, rough seas and road-clogging sands, prompting an exodus. By Emery P. Dalesio. SENT: 520 words, photos, videos, audio.


LONDON — Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, a onetime aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron, is sentenced to 18 months in prison for participating in a conspiracy to hack the phones of celebrities, politicians and crime victims. Three other former journalists and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire all received shorter sentences. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 420 words, photos.


NZACKO, Central African Republic — The most recent defectors, including senior rebel commanders, say they have not seen Joseph Kony for more than four years. The African troops hunting him down in the jungles of Central Africa say Kony has gone into "hibernation" — becoming more elusive — and that the mission is over only when he is captured or killed. By Rodney Muhumuza. SENT: 900 words, photos.


The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service is swearing in over 9,000 new citizens over the Fourth of July holiday week in ceremonies held around the country. SENT: 20 words, photos.


BAGHDAD — Iraqi government airstrikes target Islamic militants trying to capture the country's largest oil refinery, reportedly killing as many as 30 insurgents, authorities say. Fighters from the Islamic State extremist group, who have overrun much of northern and western Iraq, have been trying for weeks to capture the Beiji facility, located some 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad. The group appeared on the verge of taking the refinery last month, but military troops managed to hold on and have since received reinforcements to help bolster their defenses. By Qassim Abdul-Zahra. SENT: 210 words, photo.


JERUSALEM — Israeli police beef up security in and around Jerusalem ahead of the funeral of an Arab teenager who Palestinians say was killed by Israeli extremists. Police are taking extra precautions as the funeral coincides with the first Friday prayer services of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. By Yousur Alhlou. SENT: 670 words.


SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Thousands of Haitians have been lining up at Dominican government offices trying to take advantage of a rare chance to secure legal status in a country where they've long lived in the shadows. For most, hope is quickly turning into disappointment. By Ezequiel Abiu Lopez. SENT: 680 words, photos.


NEW YORK — Seven-time hot dog-eating champion Joey Chestnut and women's hot dog-eating champion Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas aim to take the crowns again at the annual hot dog eating contest on Coney Island. By Julie Walker. SENT: 320 words, photos.


— OBAMA-IMMIGRATION — Obama to highlight upside of immigration debate at citizenship ceremony for service members. SENT: 450 words, photos.

— UKRAINE — Russian President Vladimir Putin tells Barack Obama in an Independence Day message that he hopes the countries can improve relations. SENT: 350 words, photos.

— EUROPE-AIRPORT SECURITY — France steps up security on US-bound flights amid concerns that al-Qaida developing a new bomb. SENT: 130 words.

— GREECE-BAILOUT — Greece's bailout monitors approve the payout of a 1 billion-euro loan installment after the country met outstanding reform targets. SENT: 270 words.

— BRITAIN-IMAM APPEAL — Some 100 imams are urging British Muslims to refrain from traveling to Syria amid concerns that fighters will become radicalized. SENT: 130 words.

— HOW MUCH ALCOHOL — Spending time in Margaritaville? Online alcohol calculator shows just how much you're drinking. SENT: 600 words, graphic.


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

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.