TOP STORIES:

US-HAGEL-KOREA

SEOUL, South Korea — The U.S. and South Korea agree to work together to strengthen the South's ability to deter threats from North Korea, and endorse a new military strategy to better coordinate the response to a nuclear, chemical or other attack from Pyongyang. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin also say they are setting up a panel to review the possibility of delaying the transfer of wartime control of South Korean troops from Washington to Seoul. That handover is currently slated for 2015. By Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 660 words, photos.

ASIA-OBAMA

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia and the Philippines say they understand President Barack Obama's decision to cancel upcoming visits to their countries because of the partial U.S. government shutdown. Obama leaves Saturday night for what was originally a four-nation tour. The White House said Obama will still travel to Indonesia and Brunei. The trip is part of Obama's broader focus on boosting U.S. economic ties with Asia. SENT: 300 words, photos.

WITH: OBAMA-ASIA. SENT: 250 words, photos.

INDONESIA-CHINA VISIT

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Indonesia for his first visit to Southeast Asia since taking office, striving to boost ties and economic partnerships with the region's biggest country. SENT: 270 words, photos.

MYANMAR-SECTARIAN VIOLENCE

THANDWE, Myanmar — Terrified Muslim families hide in forests in western Myanmar a day after fleeing a new round of deadly sectarian violence that erupted even as the president toured the divided region. The discovery of four bodies brings the death toll from the latest clashes at least five. By Khin Maung Win. SENT: 880 words, photos.

VIETNAM-DISSIDENT TRIAL

HANOI, Vietnam — A Vietnamese court sentences a U.S-trained lawyer and well-known dissident to 30 months in jail after finding him guilty on tax evasion charges, the latest salvo in a crackdown against activists in the authoritarian Southeast Asian nation. The verdict against Le Quoc Quan was immediately criticized by the United States, which is pressing Vietnam's Communist leaders to loosen restrictions on those advocating democracy and human rights. By Chris Brummitt. SENT: 620 words, photos.

PAKISTAN

QUETTA, Pakistan — A roadside bomb kills two soldiers doing relief work in a remote region of Pakistan where a major earthquake killed at least 376 people last week, and gunmen shoot at a military post distributing aid, military officials say. By Abdul Sattar. SENT: 310 words, photos.

AUSTRALIA-AFGHANISTAN

CANBERRA, Australia —A former Afghan soldier accused of fatally shooting three Australian comrades in a patrol base in Uruzgan province last year has been captured in Pakistan by security agents. SENT: 400 words, photos.

CHINA-HORNET ATTACKS

BEIJING — Authorities say the death toll from an unusual spate of hornet attacks in central China has reached 41 people. SENT: 160 words.

TAIWAN-GOLDEN HORSE NOMINATIONS

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Wong Kar-wai's martial-arts epic "The Grandmaster" receives a leading 11 nominations for Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards, including best picture. Other contenders include Jia Zhangke's "A Touch of Sin" and Anthony Chen's "Ilo Ilo," each with six nominations. "The Grandmaster," about the legendary Ip Man, is Wong's biggest hit, with his stylized emotional imagery punctuated by crowd-pleasing combat featuring stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Ziyi Zhang. It earned $5 million in a limited U.S. release after a $55 million global run. SENT: 330 words, photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

ASIA-ECONOMY

HONG KONG — The Asian Development Bank cuts its economic growth forecast for developing Asia, citing weakness in region's two largest economies, China and India, and jitters over plans to scale back U.S. stimulus that destabilized financial markets. The Manila-based lender says it expects the region's emerging economies to grow by 6 percent this year, down from 6.6 percent predicted in April. SENT: 400 words, photos.

CHINA-TESCO

HONG KONG — British retail giant Tesco is paying a Chinese state-owned company $558 million to take over its supermarkets in China after failing to make headway on its own since entering the country a decade ago. Tesco's 134 Chinese stores and its shopping mall business are being vacuumed up by China Resources Enterprises Ltd., which is the supermarket leader with nearly 3,000 stores across the country. In exchange, Tesco gets a 20 percent stake in a joint venture with China Resources that will operate the combined retailing businesses. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 260 words.

SOUTHEAST ASIA-ENERGY

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Southeast Asia will require $1.7 trillion of investment in energy infrastructure over the next two decades to cope with a sharp surge in demand and counter growing reliance on oil imports, the International Energy Agency says. It predicts coal will become increasingly crucial for power generation in the region. The region's current energy usage per person is still low at just half of the global average but demand is likely to increase by more than 80 percent through to 2035, the agency says. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 480 words.

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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 asia@ap.org.

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