ASIA:

CHINA-TOPPLING CROSSES

WUXI VILLAGE, China — The battle started when government-hired crews tore down the metal cross atop the one-room church in this village last month. The next day, a church member used his own welding torch to put it back. A week later, the crew came back to remove the cross. Once again, church members put it back up. Across Zhejiang province, which hugs China's rocky southeastern coast, authorities have toppled — or threatened to topple — crosses at more than 130 churches. In a few cases, the government has even razed sanctuaries. By Didi Tang. UPCOMING: 1,400 words by 0700 GMT, photos, video.

SKOREA-TOWER TROUBLES

SEOUL, South Korea — For the developers of the world's sixth tallest building near Seoul, a mysteriously shrinking lake and the appearance of small sinkholes in residential neighborhoods couldn't have come at a more inopportune time. By Youkyung Lee. UPCOMING: 900 words by 0800 GMT, photos.

AVIATION'S BAD WEEK

WASHINGTON — Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel. Even after a week of multiple tragedies in worldwide aviation, "there isn't much that we can do to manipulate how we fly as passengers. But we also shouldn't worry too much," an aviation enthusiast says. With one passenger plane being shot out of the sky and two others crashing during storms, experts says there is no pattern suggesting a huge gap in airline safety measures. SENT: 790 words, photos.

UKRAINE-PLANE

KHARKIV, Ukraine — Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrive in the Netherlands, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

— TAIWAN-PLANE CRASH — Investigators are examining wreckage and flight data recorders for clues into a plane crash on a Taiwanese island that killed 48 people. SENT: 130 words, photos.

SKOREA-SHIP SINKS-MISSING OWNER

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's state-run forensic lab says it has failed to determine the cause of death for a fugitive billionaire blamed for April's ferry disaster, amid mounting public criticism that authorities didn't identify his body for a long time and still continued a massive manhunt for him. By Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 400 words, photos.

HONG KONG-SUSPECT MEAT

HONG KONG — McDonald's restaurants in Hong Kong have taken chicken nuggets and chicken filet burgers off the menu after a mainland Chinese supplier was accused of selling expired meat. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 280 words.

EGYPT-AL-JAZEERA-APPEAL

CANBERRA, Australia — An Australian Al-Jazeera journalist will appeal his conviction on charges that he aided Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, his brother says. By Rod Mcguirk. SENT: 235 words.

NEW ZEALAND-MALAYSIA-DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY CASE

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Malaysian officials say they still plan to send a military officer back to New Zealand to face sexual assault charges despite not returning him in early July as they had promised. By Nick Perry. SENT: 445 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

JAPAN-ECONOMY

TOKYO — Japan's inflation rate eased slightly in June as a sales tax high stunted demand, the government says. SENT: 200 words.

CHINA-QUALCOMM

BEIJING — Chinese regulators have concluded Qualcomm Inc., one of the biggest makers of chips used in mobile devices, has a monopoly, a government newspaper reports. By Joe Mcdonald. SENT: 375 words.

CHINA-EARNS-BAIDU

BEIJING — Baidu Inc., which operates China's most popular search engine, says quarterly profit rose 34 percent over a year earlier as its mobile business grew. SENT: 215 words.

CHINA-GM-RECALL

BEIJING — General Motors Co. and its main Chinese partner are recalling nearly 20,000 imported Cadillac SRX sport utility vehicles and Chevrolet Camaros to replace defective seat bolts. SENT: 115 words.

WORLD MARKETS

MUMBAI, India — Most major Asian stock markets rise after U.S. unemployment claims fell to an eight-year low and tensions over the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet eased. By Kay Johnson. SENT: 465 words, photos.

ENTERTAINMENT:

JAPAN-GODZILLA OVER THE AGES

TOKYO — Japanese fans want it known: The radiation-breathing, skyscraper-stomping monster they call "Gojira" was born here. No matter its evolution in Hollywood, Godzilla began as an icon for the suffering brought by the atomic bombings ending World War II. Fans in Japan, where the remake finally opens Friday, share their views on how their favorite mutated reptile has changed since the 1954 original. By Yuri Kageyama. UPCOMING: 700 words by 1000 GMT, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting comes under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and children's clothing scattered in the courtyard. By Ibrahim Barzak and Ian Dietch. SENT: 1,410 words, photos, video, audio.

PALESTINIANS-DRESSING THE DEAD

BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip — In the morgue at a small Gaza hospital, the anguished cries of those who lost loved ones in Israeli airstrikes fell silent when Ahmed Jadallah began attending to the corpses, one by one, on his wooden work table. By Karin Laub. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-TUNNEL THREAT

JERUSALEM — The threat from the Palestinian militant tunnel network is taking center stage in the latest war between Hamas and Israel. Israel says the destruction of the sophisticated underground network is a key objective of its ground invasion. Experts say Israel may be able to inflict short-term damage but more is needed to eliminate the threat. By Tia Goldenberg. UPCOMING: 850 words by 0830 GMT, photos.

— OBAMA-FLIGHTS CANCELED-ISRAEL — President Barack Obama says the Federal Aviation Administration took "prudent action" in temporarily banning U.S. flights in and out of Israel. SENT: 130 words.

ALGERIA-PLANE

OUAGADOUGO, Burkina Faso — An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people has crashed in a rainstorm over restive Mali, the third major international aviation disaster in a week. The plane, owned by Spanish company Swiftair and leased by Algeria's flagship carrier, disappeared from radar less than an hour after it took off from Burkina Faso's capital of Ouagadougou for Algiers. By Brahima Ouedraogo abd Sylvie Corbet. SENT: 1,150 words, photos, video, audio.

IRAQ-SUNNI MILITIA TROUBLES

BAGHDAD — Wisam al-Hardan's cell phone rang late into the night. He couldn't bear to answer. Al-Hardan, a Sunni tribal militia leader, knew what the Sunni fighters on the other end of the line wanted: weapons to help them fight the Islamic extremists rampaging across their lands. Al-Hardan also knew he had nothing to offer them. Burned by past experiences with Iraq's Shiite-led government, Sunni militias that once were crucial to battling radicals in their community in the past have been unable to rally against the new wave overrunning the country. By Ryan Lucas and Qassim Abdul-Zahra. UPCOMING: 1,200 words by 1000 GMT, photos.

BRAZIL-SOCCER BUMS

RIO DE JANEIRO — Lucas Bazan Pontoni was among 160,000 Argentines who flooded into Brazil for the World Cup. The tournament ended nearly two weeks ago, but Pontini is still here, eating at a soup kitchen, hanging out at a park and sleeping under the stars. With "not a cent" to his name, the 23-year-old is among a legion of Argentines who seem to have neither the money nor will to go home, worrying Brazilian officials. By Jenny Barchfield. SENT: 630 words, photo.

KENYA-PEACE CORPS

NAIROBI, Kenya — The Peace Corps is suspending its programs in Kenya because of security concerns and is pulling more than 50 volunteers out of the country until threat levels decrease, the Peace Corps and State Department say. By Jason Straziuso. SENT: 760 words.

— KENYA-VIOLENCE — A female tourist is shot dead in the coastal town of Mombasa, the second foreigner slain in same area this month, police say. SENT: 450 words.

HOSPITAL SHOOTING

DARBY, Pa. — Police hope to learn if a psychiatrist had concerns about a patient who allegedly killed a case worker at a suburban Philadelphia hospital before the doctor pulled out his own gun to protect himself. The doctor exchanged gunfire with the patient, who remained in surgery late Thursday after the shooting in an office adjacent to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. SENT: 600 words, photos, video.

EXECUTION DRUGS

ST. LOUIS — The third problematic execution in the U.S. in six months offers more evidence for the courts that lethal injection carries too many risks and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, death-row lawyers and other opponents say. SENT: 665 words, photos.

— ARIZONA EXECUTION-DRUGS — U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake received an urgent request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't seem to be working. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video.

IMMIGRATION OVERLOAD

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama summons Central American leaders to the White House to discuss the influx of young immigrants from their countries to the U.S., hoping to show presidential action even as Congress remains deeply split over proposals to stem the crisis on the border. The administration is considering creating a pilot program giving refugee status to young people from Honduras as part of a plan to slow the wave of unaccompanied minors. SENT: 700 words, photos. UPCOMING: 750 words following 1900 GMT Obama meeting.

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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.