SEOUL, South Korea — Several thousand police officers are mobilized to raid a sprawling South Korean church compound near Seoul to hunt for Yoo Byung-eun, a fugitive billionaire businessman wanted in relation to the deadly ferry sinking in April. Authorities believe Yoo owns the ship and that alleged corruption may have contributed to its sinking. The government is offering a $500,000 reward for tips about him. We answer some key questions about the massive raid. By Hyung-jin Kim. SENT: 670 words, photos.


YANGON, Myanmar — Each morning, 11-year-old Chit Toke wakes up in the small bamboo shack beside a creek where his family lives. He walks over to the river where boats are docked. They are waiting for laborers to unload gravel collected from river beds to supply the booming construction industry in Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city. Chit Toke joins the queue of workers, seeking to earn enough to help feed his family. Child labor remains widespread in Myanmar as the country tries to rebuild its economy after five decades of military misrule. By Esther Htusan. SENT 430 words, photos.


BANGKOK — The military junta that overthrew Thailand's elected government strikes a blow for freedom — the freedom to watch soccer. As part of its goal to "return happiness to the Thai people," the junta engineered a World Cup coup that will enable the country's many soccer fans to watch all of the tournament's 64 matches for free. SENT: 800 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — The United States has few closer allies than Australia, but climate change could prove a touchy issue when Australia's conservative prime minister makes his first White House visit Thursday. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 600 words, photo.


ISLAMABAD — Missiles from U.S. drones slam into militant hideouts overnight in northwestern Pakistan, killing 13 suspected insurgents and marking the resumption of the CIA-led program after a nearly six-month break, officials say. By Asif Shahzad and Rebecca Santana. SENT: 620 words.


BEIJING — China and Japan blame each other for a close encounter between military jets over the East China Sea. SENT: 300 words, photo.


MANILA, Philippines — Members of a political party allied with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III mark the country's Independence Day by protesting China's moves to reclaim land in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, where the two countries are locked in a territorial dispute. SENT: 450 words, photos.


SEOUL, South Korea — Many people around the world grumble about inaccurate weather forecasts, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is doing something about it. Kim, the third generation of his family to rule, is using his position atop the authoritarian country to warn meteorologists against the "many incorrect forecasts" caused by old observation systems. SENT: 230 words.


SRINAGAR, India — A bomb explosion kills an Indian army soldier and wounded three others close to the cease-fire line dividing Kashmir between longtime rivals India and Pakistan, an army spokesman says. SENT: 160 words.



TOKYO — Boeing inks a deal for five Japanese companies to manufacture key components for its twin aisle 777X jets but the contract doesn't include making the wings, which were a source of delays for the 787 Dreamliner. The Japanese manufacturers will make about 21 percent of the new plane's structural components, including fuselage sections and landing gear wells. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 460 words, photos.


TOKYO — The possible bid by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for turbine businesses of French engineering firm Alstom is part of Japan's effort to carve out a share of the lucrative global energy infrastructure business. Mitsubishi and German rival Siemens AG say they're considering a joint bid for parts of Alstom and will decide by Monday whether to pitch it to Alstom's board. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 600 words.



BAGHDAD — The al-Qaida-inspired group that led the charge in capturing two key Sunni-dominated cities in Iraq this week vows to march on to Baghdad, raising fears about the Shiite-led government's ability to slow the assault following the insurgents' lightning gains. Fighters from the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant take Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, as soldiers and security forces abandon their posts and yield ground once controlled by U.S. forces. By Sameer N. Yacoub and Adam Schreck. SENT: 1,140 words, photos, videos, audio.


PALDISKI, Estonia — The Russian news broadcast takes broadsides at Ukraine, trumpeting claims that Ukrainian democracy has degenerated into fist-fights between right-wing nationalists in Parliament. Aleksander Danilov isn't watching the show in the Russian heartland. He's in Estonia, an EU country that increasingly fears that Russia may turn its sights next to the Baltic states after grabbing a chunk of Ukraine. Seeking to curtail Moscow's ability to influence their own ethnic Russian minorities through the airwaves, Latvia and Lithuania have already adopted temporary bans on some pro-Russian TV stations and are now planning with Estonia to set up a joint Russian-language channel to counter Russian propaganda. By Jari Tanner. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.


DOHA, Qatar — Mariam Saleh avoids malls and outdoor markets on the weekends because the low-cut tops, sheer dresses and miniskirts that foreign women wear reveal much more than she would like her impressionable young children to see. Saleh is part of a campaign in the Gulf-Arab nation of Qatar that was spurred by locals who are fed up with the way many tourists and visitors dress. By Aya Batrawi. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


— PRIESTS ATTACKED — Police say one priest is shot and killed and another is wounded in an attack at a Catholic church in downtown Phoenix. SENT: 130 words.

— HILLARY BOOK TOUR — Hillary Clinton returns to New York for another book promo blitz. SENT: 130 words, photo.

— LIBYA — A Libyan security official says a suicide car bomber has targeted a checkpoint manned by troops loyal to a rogue Libyan general outside the eastern city of Benghazi, wounding three people. SENT: 130 words.

— BRITAIN-SECRET TRIAL — Britain's appeals court has ruled that a criminal trial could be held largely in secret — a decision some say sets a dangerous precedent. SENT: 230 words.



RIO DE JANEIRO — The curtain is rising for Brazil's World Cup. But it still isn't clear which Brazil the world will see — the irreverent nation known for its festive, freewheeling spirit, or the country that of late has been a hotbed of festering anger over poor public services, widely perceived political corruption, and the $11.5 billion spent to host soccer's biggest tournament? By Bradley Brooks. SENT: 620 words, photos.

— WCUP-POPE'S MESSAGE — Pope Francis has a message for the World Cup: Let football be a showcase for teamwork and solidarity, not an exhibition of racism and greed. SENT: 320 words.

— WCUP-BRAZIL BEAT — BRAZIL BEAT — Scolari jokes "I don't know if I do other things well, but I do sleep well'. SENT: 1,500 words, photos.


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.