ASIA:

KOREAS-TENSION

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea threatens to bolster its war capability and conduct a fourth nuclear test to cope with what it calls U.S. hostility that led to the approval of a landmark U.N. resolution on its human rights violations. A U.N. committee adopted the resolution urging the Security Council to refer the North's rights situation to the International Criminal Court. It's the first time a U.N. resolution included the idea that the North's absolute leader Kim Jong Un could be targeted by prosecutors. Before the U.N. vote, a North Korean envoy threatened a nuclear test. By Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 500 words, photos.

JAPAN-SURROGATE TUNA

TATEYAMA, Japan — Of all the overfished fish in the seas, luscious, fatty bluefin tuna are among the most threatened. Marine scientist Goro Yamazaki is fine-tuning a technology to use mackerel surrogates to spawn the bluefin, a process he hopes will enable fisheries to raise the huge, torpedo-shaped fish more quickly and at lower cost than conventional aquaculture. By Elaine Kurtenbach. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

INDIA-ASHRAM RAID

NEW DELHI — Indian police have arrested a controversial religious leader at his sprawling ashram in the northern part of the country, ending a days-long standoff in which six people died and hundreds were injured. Jawahar Yadav, a Haryana state government spokesman, said police had arrested Sant Rampal and taken him away in an ambulance. By Nirmala George. SENT, photos.

CHINA-HOSPITAL ATTACK

BEIJING — China's official Xinhua News Agency reports that six nurses and one janitor have been killed in a knife attack at a hospital in a northeastern resort town favored by the country's Communist Party elite. SENT: 130 words.

JAPAN-DEAD HUSBANDS

TOKYO — Japanese police arrested a 67-year-old woman whom they suspect poisoned her husband late last year, one of about half a dozen former husbands or partners of the woman who have died. She has denied involvement in the deaths. SENT: 170 words.

CHINA-MANUFACTURING

HONG KONG — Manufacturing activity in China fell to a six-month low in November, reflecting sluggishness in the world No. 2 economy and weakness abroad, according to an early survey of factory conditions released Thursday. HSBC's preliminary purchasing managers' index fell to 50.0 this month from 50.4 in October. The index uses a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate contraction while numbers above show expansion. The latest reading indicates there's no change in overall conditions from the previous month. By Kelvin Chan. SENT.

JAPAN-TRADE

TOKYO — The drop in oil prices helped trim Japan's trade deficit in October, as exports of cars, ships and steel picked up pace. The value of exports was the highest since 2008, while shipments to the U.S., China and other major trading partners hit their highest level in over a year, according to the preliminary data from the Finance Ministry. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 340 words.

US & INTERNATIONAL

AP EXCLUSIVE: NSA SURVEILLANCE

WASHINGTON — Years before Edward Snowden revealed the NSA's secret collection of Americans' phone records, senior agency officials sought to end the program, current and former intelligence officials say. They lost the debate, and Congress refused to alter the program this week. By Intelligence Writer Ken Dilanian. SENT: 1,200 words, photo.

AP EXCLUSIVE: IRAQ-JIHADI PRISONER

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi who turned against Islamic extremists after being imprisoned describes his years with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. In a prison interview, the former militant commander tells The Associated Press he now helps the government capture and defeat the extremists to save his family. By Vivian Salama. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

ISRAEL PALESTINIANS

JERUSALEM — Streets are quiet, marketplaces are empty and people are on edge in Jewish areas of Jerusalem, where Arabs have been using meat cleavers, knives, screwdrivers and even their cars in a deadly, small-scale rebellion. The holy city has rarely seemed more divided as Palestinians seethe with anger over oppression, Jewish settlements and a wrangle over a revered holy site. By Josef Federman. SENT: 1,400 words, photos, video, audio.

RUSSIA-US

MOSCOW — New U.S. ambassador John Tefft comes to Moscow as tensions between Russia and the United States are higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War. By Lynn Berry. SENT: 630 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-IRAN

LONDON — With a Monday deadline for Iranian nuclear deal approaching, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry embarks on a frenzy of high-stakes diplomacy to secure an agreement or at the least prevent the process from collapsing. By Matthew Lee and Bradley Klapper. SENT: 700 words, photos.

OBAMA-IMMIGRATION

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says he will sidestep Congress and unveil administrative actions on immigration on Thursday. The measures could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people illegally in the U.S. and set up one the most pitched partisan confrontations of his presidency. By Jim Kuhnhenn and Erica Werner. SENT: 940 words, photos.

EGYPT-FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

MANSHIET EL-IKHWA, Egypt — Raslan Fadl, the first doctor in Egypt to be tried for female genital mutilation, is still practicing even though a 13-year-old girl died after he performed the procedure. And in this Nile Delta village, he has plenty of patients. By Merrit Kennedy. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

— EGYPT-GENITAL MUTILATION SURVIVORS-PHOTO GALLERY — Portraits by AP photographer Nariman El-Mofty show survivors of female genital mutilation in southern Egypt. SENT: 300 words, photos.

PRISON CONTRABAND CONSPIRACY

BALTIMORE — Gang leaders ruled a city-run jail, using smuggled cellphones to direct crimes on the streets outside, dealing drugs and getting four guards pregnant, a prosecutor says as a major corruption trial opens involving dozens of officers and inmates. By Juliet Linderman. SENT: 620 words, photos.

HONDURAS-BEAUTY QUEEN

SANTA BARBARA, Honduras — The dark-haired beauty was to have flown to London Wednesday to compete in the Miss World pageant. Instead, Miss Honduras 2014 and her sister were found shot to death along a remote river bank. Police say the sister's boyfriend confessed to shooting the women in a jealous rage. By Alberto Arce and Freddy Cuevas. SENT: 570 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 6:30 p.m.

AUTOS-RECALL SHOWDOWN

DETROIT — A showdown looms between U.S. safety regulators and a Japanese company that makes air bags linked to multiple deaths and injuries. By Auto Writer Tom Krisher. SENT: 600 words, photos.

DRIVERLESS CARS-ETHICS

LOS ANGELES — As electronics take more and more tasks away from drivers, an ethical question is raised: What if a computer has to decide between hitting a pedestrian, crashing into a pole or ramming another car? By Justin D. Pritchard. SENT: 800 words, photos, video.

WINTRY WEATHER

BUFFALO, New York — Even for Buffalo, a place that typically shrugs at snow, this was an epic snowfall — the kind of onslaught folks will be telling their grandchildren about. Another lake-effect storm is expected to bring 2 to 3 more feet by late Thursday. By Carolyn Thompson. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video, audio.

BILLY JOEL-GERSHWIN PRIZE

WASHINGTON — The Library of Congress honored Billy Joel, the singer and songwriter behind "New York State of Mind," ''Allentown," ''Piano Man" and numerous other hits with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The 65-year-old Joel performed in a concert celebrating the prize near the White House along with Tony Bennett, Gavin DeGraw, LeAnn Rimes, John Mellencamp, Natalie Maines, Boyz II Men and other entertainers. The lifetime achievement award created by Congress is named for the songwriting duo of George and Ira Gershwin. SENT, photos.

SCIENCE

CHOLESTEROL DRUGS

Doctors say that early use of a statin can have a legacy effect, changing someone's heart risks perhaps for good. By Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione. SENT: 510 words, photo.

CLIMATE EMISSIONS GAP

WASHINGTON — The world still isn't close to preventing what leaders call a dangerous level of man-made warming, a United Nations report says. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein. SENT: 500 words.

SWITZERLAND NEW PARTICLES

GENEVA — Scientists at the world's largest smasher say they have discovered two new subatomic particles never seen before that could widen our understanding of the universe. SENT: 310 words.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— ISLAMIC STATE — Kurdish peshmerga forces launch an offensive targeting Islamic State group extremists in Iraq. SENT: 610 words, photos.

— BILL COSBY — NBC says Cosby project is no longer in development, TV Land stops airing 'Cosby Show.' SENT, photos.

— CONGRESS-SECRET SERVICE — Acting Secret Service chief warns Congress about 'potentially dire consequences' from lowered morale at the agency responsible for protecting the president and his family. SENT: 410 words, photos.

— UNSAFE TOYS — Slingshot pencil, bottle rockets make annual '10 worst toys' from consumer safety group. SENT: 700 words, photos, video.

— BANKERS HONESTY — Dishonesty in banking: New study says culture brings out the cheater in normally honest people. SENT: 530 words.

— PEOPLE-BONO — Bono suffered fractures to arm, shoulder blade, face, pinkie in New York cycling accident. SENT: 140 words.

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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 asia@ap.org.

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.