TOKYO — Japan's prime minister has picked a record-matching five women in his new Cabinet. The appointments are seen as a way for Shinzo Abe to showcase his "womenomics" pledge to revive growth by bringing more of the country's well-educated women into the workforce and leadership. Across Japan, women still are far under-represented in positions of power in government and corporations. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 130 words; UPCOMING by 0600GMT, 500 words.


BEIJING — President Xi Jinping straightens ribbons on huge bouquets and gunners fire salutes as China commemorated Japan's World War II surrender as part of a campaign to remind the world of Tokyo's historical aggression amid worsening relations between the two countries. It was China's first such celebration of a newly formalized historical commemoration day to mark Japan's surrender to U.S. forces in the Pacific in 1945. From now on, Sept. 3 will be marked annually in China as the Victory Day of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. By Louise Watt. SENT: 480 words, photos.


BANGKOK — A string of recent scandals has lifted a lid on Thailand's largely unregulated commercial surrogacy industry. A look at the controversies, some of the ethical dilemmas they have raised and the Thai military government's new draft law that is expected to outlaw the business of surrogacy. SENT: 570 words, photo.


KUQA, China — In this ancient oasis town in China's restive west, machine gun-toting police officers patrol the cobblestone lanes of ochre-brick houses in an ethnic Uighur neighborhood. Wanted posters for suspected Uighur assailants are stuck on walls every few hundred feet. China has blanketed parts of Xinjiang, home to Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uighurs, with such heavy security that it resembles an occupied territory under martial law. The armed troops, spiked barricades, checkpoints and even drones makes it difficult to discern any sign on the ground of the Chinese leadership's new push to foster ethnic mingling between Uighurs and the country's Han Chinese majority. By Gillian Wong. SENT: 1,400 words, photos.


ULAN BATOR, Mongolia — Russian President Vladimir Putin is flying to Mongolia for a working visit amid soaring tensions with Washington and NATO over a Kremlin-backed offensive in Ukraine. Putin is due to arrive in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator for afternoon talks with Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia. The two are to oversee the signing of trade and transport agreements. SENT: 270 words.


PYONGYANG, North Korea — More than a thousand years ago, a huge volcano straddling the border between North Korea and China was the site of one of the biggest eruptions in human history, blanketing eastern Asia in ash. But unlike other major volcanoes around the world, the remote and politically sensitive Mount Paektu remains almost a complete mystery to scientists who have — until now — been unable to conduct on-site studies. Fresh off their third visit to the mountain, two British scientists studying the mountain in an unprecedented joint project with North Korea say details of the "millennium eruption" and data that could help predict the volcano's likelihood of erupting again may finally be coming to light. By Eric Talmadge. UPCOMING: 950 words by 0700 GMT, photos, video.


CANBERRA, Australia — Anti-poverty organization ONE is urging leaders of the 20 largest economies to act decisively at an annual summit in November against money laundering, bribery, tax evasion and corruption which it estimates costs the world's poorest countries more than $1 trillion a year. The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group launched its report on the economic cost of corruption on the developing world on Wednesday in the Australian capital Canberra at a Parliament House event attended by diplomats from the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. SENT: 470 words.


CANBERRA, Australia — Australia's prime minister says he will sign a uranium export deal with India for peaceful power generation this week, but added that exports of the nuclear fuel to Russia have been banned until further notice. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 500 words.


ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's military says it has killed 910 suspected militants and lost 82 soldiers in a major offensive launched in June in a restive tribal region near Afghanistan. SENT: 110 words, will be updated.


NEW DELHI — Police say a speeding truck has overturned and crushed to death 10 people, including seven children, sleeping on a sidewalk in northern India. SENT: 120 words.



BEIRUT — The Islamic State group releases a video purportedly showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, two weeks after publicizing a video of U.S. journalist James Foley's beheading and a week after Sotloff's mother begged the militants to spare his life. Sotloff, dressed in an orange jumpsuit against the backdrop of an arid Syrian landscape, is shown describing himself as "paying the price" for U.S. strikes against Islamic State positions in Iraq. The video ends with a masked fighter threatening a British captive. By Zeina Karam. SENT: 950 words, photos.

— ISLAMIC STATE-Q&A — The Islamic State militant group that has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq and declared a self-styled caliphate poses one of the most significant threats to stability in the Middle East in years. Some questions and answers about the group. SENT: 950 words, photos.


NOVOKATERYNIVKA, Ukraine — Days after the ambush by Moscow-backed separatists, the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers remain unburied in the fields — one was even hanging from power lines, blown there by a shell that blasted apart an armored vehicle. Russia has stepped up its harsh rhetoric as well — President Vladimir Putin saying he could take Kiev "in two weeks" if he wants. As the crisis deepens, NATO leaders travel to a summit in Wales to craft their response. By Peter Leonard. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

—RUSSIA-PUTIN'S TACTICS-ANALYSIS: President Vladimir Putin is relying on rebel military gains to help him secure a peace deal on Ukraine that secures Russian influence over its neighbor and also avoids new crippling Western sanctions. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — Confronted by a Kremlin'backed military offensive in Ukraine, President Barack Obama and Western allies will approve plans this week to position at least 4,000 troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe, bolstering NATO's security commitments to nervous member states near the Russian border. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. SENT: 900 words, photos.


UNITED NATIONS — The world is "losing the battle" against Ebola says the head of Doctors Without Borders who urges the international community to step up its efforts to help the five countries battling the virulent disease. The U.N. also calls for increased efforts to battle the outbreak blamed for more than 1,500 deaths. By Alexandra Olson. SENT: 550 words, photos.


MOGADISHU, Somalia — U.S. airstrikes in Somalia may have killed the leader of the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, with a militant commander saying Tuesday that he was in a car that was struck and that six people died. SENT: 860 words, photos.


NEW YORK — Squeezed into tighter and tighter spaces by the airlines, passengers are taking their frustrations out on each other. Three U.S. flights made unscheduled landings in the past eight days after passengers got into fights over the ability to recline their seats. Passengers are losing leg and elbow room as airlines try to maximize profits by adding more seats. By AP Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz. SENT: 900 words, photos.


NEW YORK — When hundreds of photos of nude celebrities began making the rounds online, many security experts started pointing fingers at cloud storage services like Apple's iCloud. What are these services, what do they do for you, and how can you stay safer using them? By Mae Anderson. SENT: 880 words, photos.

— CELEB HACKING — Latest celebrity hacking a strong reminder about vulnerability of public figures' digital data. SENT: 650 words, photos.


PHOENIX — An attorney for the parents of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed an Arizona shooting range instructor with an Uzi said Tuesday the family is devastated by the tragedy that occurred on a brief excursion during a vacation. SENT: 670 words, photos, audio.


WASHINGTON — Remember last winter's dreaded polar vortex? Get used to it. The huge mass of cold Arctic air may chill parts of North America, Europe and Asia more often as the world warms, a new study suggests. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein. SENT: 550 words, photo



NEW YORK — Unable to find her second directing project, Angelina Jolie took to sifting through "generals." Looking for a diamond in the rough, the actress-turned-director searched the movies that studios owned but weren't making. "So I scanned through these generals and landed on 'Unbroken,' a story of resilience and strength and the human spirit, of faith and survival at sea," says Jolie. "It was about three sentences and I came home and I said to Brad, 'What about this one?' And he said, 'Oh, honey, that one's been around forever.' It had a reputation for being one that never gets done." But "Unbroken" — the true tale of Louis Zamperini, a track star who was lost in the Pacific for 47 days after his plane was shot down during World War II — stuck with Jolie, even though it had been kicking around Hollywood for decades. "It was like a fever, an obsession," she says. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.


— CANADA-BIEBER-ASSAULT CHARGES — Justin Bieber charged with assault, dangerous driving after ATV crash involving paparazzi. SENT: 510 words, photos, video.

— HOME DEPOT-DATA BREACH — Home Depot may be latest retailer to be hacked; investigates suspicious credit card activity. SENT: 575 words, photo.

— BLACKWATER TRIAL — After 10 weeks of arguments and testimony, the case of four former Blackwater security guards accused in the shootings of more than 30 Iraqis, including 14 who died, goes to the jury. SENT: 780 words. SENT: 700 words, photo.

— IMMIGRATION OVERLOAD— A federal investigation that included surprise inspections was unable to substantiate 16 accusations by advocacy groups that the government packed unaccompanied child immigrants into frigid cells, made them sleep on hard floors and provided inadequate food or medical care. SENT: 500 words.

— IRAN-NUCLEAR — The deputy head of Iran's nuclear department tells the AP that Iran has disrupted plots by foreign spies to recruit its nuclear experts and stopped sabotage attempts through faulty foreign equipment supplied for its facilities. SENT: 570 words, photos.

— JOE FRAZIER STATUE — Philadelphia's Rocky gets real competition as a 9-foot statue of champ Joe Frazier takes shape. SENT: 680 words, photos, video.

— HALLIBURTON-SPILL SETTLEMENT — Halliburton reaches $1B settlement of plaintiff suits from Gulf of Mexico oil spill. SENT: 300 words.




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.