TOP STORIES:

MYANMAR-SECTARIAN VIOLENCE

THANDWE, Myanmar — President Thein Sein travels to Myanmar's conflict-torn west as a new spate of sectarian violence grips the state of Rakhine, with police saying Buddhist rioters killed a 94-year-old Muslim woman and torched more than 70 homes. SENT: 470 words.

BANGLADESH-WAR CRIMES

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A special war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh rules that a senior member of the main opposition party should be put to death for his involvement in the killing of hundreds of people during the county's independence fight against Pakistan in 1971. Hours after the verdict against Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, supporters attack ruling party activists and smash and burn vehicles. By Julhas Alam. SENT: 480 words, photos.

US-KOREA

SEOUL, South Korea — The commander of U.S. forces in Korea says South Korea's military needs to improve its missile defense and cyber capabilities to better defend against persistent threats from Pyongyang. Gen. James Thurman, who will leave his command Wednesday and retire, offers a sobering assessment of North Korea's continued drive to become a nuclear power and expresses disappointment in its young leader Kim Jong Un. By Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 130 words, photos.

KOREAS-TENSION

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea displays its longest-range missile capable of striking all of North Korea and other sophisticated weapons at a massive military parade, a display of force meant to show Pyongyang that any provocation would be met with strong retaliation. It is South Korea's biggest Armed Forces Day ceremony in a decade. By Hyung-jin Kim. SENT: 650 words, photos.

THAILAND-LESE MAJESTE

BANGKOK — The founder of Thailand's royalist Yellow Shirt movement is sentenced to two years' imprisonment for defaming the monarchy by repeating offensive comments made by a political opponent. SENT: 140 words.

ASIA-TYPHOON

HANOI, Vietnam — Chinese airplanes and boats scour parts of the South China Sea looking for nearly 60 people missing after a tropical storm sank three fishing boats. In central Vietnam, people repair homes and drag away trees that were uprooted when Wutip slammed into the coastline late Monday. SENT: 190 words.

THAILAND-FLOODS

BANGKOK — Thai authorities say floods have killed more than 20 people and affected areas across the country over the past two weeks, though experts say there is little risk of a repeat of the devastation that occurred during record floods two years ago. SENT: 280 words, photos.

AFGHANISTAN

KABUL, Afghanistan — A prominent Afghan opposition leader says he will run for president in next year's presidential election. The vote will be critical in determining Afghanistan's future following the withdrawal of all foreign combat troops at the end of 2014. SENT: 130 words.

INDIA-SANJAY DUTT

MUMBAI, India — Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt is temporarily released from an Indian prison where he is serving time for illegal possession of weapons linked to the 1993 terror attack in the financial capital of Mumbai. The 54-year-old actor says he will spend his two weeks of leave, granted by prison authorities for good behavior, at home with his family. SENT: 220 words, photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

JAPAN-ECONOMY

TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went ahead Tuesday with a much debated sales tax hike needed to offset Japan's soaring public debt, gambling that the country's economic recovery is strong enough to absorb the shock. The sales tax will rise to 8 percent in April from the current 5 percent, Abe announced at a policy meeting of ruling party and top government officials. The Cabinet also cleared the increase. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 800 words, photos.

CHINA-MANUFACTURING

HONG KONG — Chinese manufacturing barely expanded in September, indicating an uneven recovery from a painful slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy. SENT: 340 words.

FEATURES:

NEW ZEALAND-CLIMATE REFUGEE

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A man from one of the lowest-lying nations on Earth is trying to convince New Zealand judges that he's a refugee — suffering not from persecution, but from climate change. The 37-year-old and his wife left his remote atoll in the Pacific nation of Kiribati six years ago for higher ground and better prospects in New Zealand, where their three children were born. Immigration authorities have twice rejected his argument that rising sea levels make it too dangerous for him and his family to return to Kiribati. By Nick Perry. SENT: 930 words, photos.

CHINA-COURT TRANSPARENCY

BEIJING — China's notoriously opaque courts have suddenly embraced social media to provide a window into their proceedings, to boost a skeptical public's confidence in the country's Communist Party-controlled legal system. Nearly 1,000 Chinese courts have set up microblog accounts. One in central China released a blow-by-blow of a murder appeal last week, complete with a photo of the convict signing his verdict in handcuffs. By Didi Tang. SENT: 1,150 words, photos.

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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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