ASIA:

JAPAN-ISLAMIC STATE

TOKYO — Japan and other nations have condemned with outrage and horror the beheading purportedly by the Islamic State group of Kenji Goto, a journalist who sought through his coverage of Syria to convey the plight of refugees, children and other victims of war. By Elaine Kurtenbach and Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 960 words, photos.

JAPAN-ISLAMIC STATE-ANALYSIS

TOKYO — The Japanese, who inhabit one of the safest countries in the world, have been reminded in brutal fashion that the world is a dangerous place. In a shock to a country that can feel insulated from distant geopolitical problems, two of their own have reportedly been killed by Islamic radicals in Syria. By Ken Moritsugu. UPCOMING: 930 words by 0800 GMT, photos

— JAPAN-ISLAMIC STATE-GOTO — Japan mourns Goto as caring and courageous reporter. SENT: 600 words, photos.

— JAPAN-ISLAMIC STATE-PEOPLE'S VOICES — Japanese speak about shock and sadness as video purportedly shows journalist hostage slaying. SENT: 430 words, photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

CHINA-MANUFACTURING

BEIJING — A gauge of China's manufacturing activity fell to a 28-month low in January amid economic slowdown, according to official data, although January typically is a month of slower activities as China's factories prepare for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations. SENT: 160 words.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

ISLAMIC STATE-KOBANI

BEIRUT — The Islamic State group acknowledges for the first time that its fighters have been defeated in the Syrian town of Kobani and vows to attack the town again. An Associated Press video from inside the town shows widespread destruction, streets littered with debris and abandoned neighborhoods. By Bassem Mroue. SENT: 610 words, photos, video.

— AP PHOTO ANK130 — a Syrian Kurdish sniper looks at the rubble in the Syrian city of Ain al-Arab, also known as Kobani.

— AP VIDEO SYR KOBANI UPDATE — The Islamic State group acknowledges for the first time that its fighters have been defeated in the Syrian town of Kobani.

ETHIOPIA-AU-TROOPS

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — African leaders have agreed to send 7,500 troops to fight the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria, an African Union official said. The move came after the council urged heads of state to endorse the deployment of troops from five West African countries to fight the terror group, said the head of the African Union's Peace and Security Council, Samil Chergui. By Elias Meseret. SENT: 420 words.

IRAQ-LIBRARIES IN DANGER

BAGHDAD — When Islamic State militants invaded the Central Library of Mosul this month, they loaded about 2,000 books — children's stories, poetry, philosophy and volumes on sports, health, culture and science — into pickup trucks. Only Islamic texts were left behind. The rest? "They will be burned," a militant told residents. By Sinan Salaheddin and Sameer Yacoub. SENT: 680 words, photos.

VATICAN-WOMEN

VATICAN CITY — A new Vatican outreach initiative to women hit a sour note before it even got off the ground: The sexy blonde on its Internet promo video came under such ridicule that it was quickly taken down. But the program is going ahead, and an inaugural meeting this week will study women's issues in ways that are utterly new for the Holy See. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 970 words, photos, video.

WASHINGTON

CARTER'S CHALLENGES

WASHINGTON — As defense secretary, Ashton Carter would face a daunting pile of problems at home and abroad. And then there are the unforeseen crises, the ones that explode onto a Pentagon chief's agenda with no warning. An issue-by-issue look ahead of Carter's Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday. By Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 910 words, photos.

SUGE KNIGHT-DEADLY ACCIDENT

LOS ANGELES — An attorney for Marion "Suge" Knight says there's video of an incident in which the hip-hop music mogul hit two men with his pickup truck, killing one. James Blatt says the video is in "police custody" and he'll see it on Monday or Tuesday. By Tami Abdollah. SENT: 740 words, photos, video.

WHITNEY HOUSTON'S DAUGHTER

ATLANTA — The daughter of late singer and entertainer Whitney Houston is found unresponsive in a bathtub and taken to a hospital in the north Atlanta suburbs, police say. Bobbi Kristina Brown is found by her husband, Nick Gordon, and a friend and given CPR, says Officer Lisa Holland, a spokeswoman for the Roswell Police Department. By Kate Brumback. SENT: 350 words, photos, video.

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YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Hrvoje Hranjski. 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.