CANBERRA, Australia — Australia's beleaguered Prime Minister Tony Abbott emerges politically wounded after withstanding a leadership challenge from within his own party, with many analysts doubting he can survive to lead his conservative government to next year's elections. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 600 words, photos.


— AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-TURNBULL. Moderate challenger to Australia's leader will have to wait. SENT, 500 words, photos.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he hopes for a just decision when Malaysia's top court delivers its verdict on his final appeal against a sodomy conviction but is also ready to be sent back to jail for the second time in over a decade. His case has reinforced accusations at home and abroad that the government is using it as a weapon to vanquish a threat to its stability. By Eileen Ng. UPCOMING by 0700GMT: 500 words, photos.


MAR WONG VILLAGE, Myanmar — It's the smallest of Myanmar's ethnic armies representing the Pa'ang Buddhist minority scattered in along the vast mountainous corners of northern Shan state. But as President Thein Sein's struggles to broker a nationwide peace deal before his term comes to an end, the fighters have turned into an unlikely, intractable thorn. By Gemunu Amarsinghe. UPCOMING by 0800GMT: 500 words, photos.


BEIJING — A top Chinese diplomat has said President Xi Jinping plans to make his first state visit to the U.S. later this year, Chinese state media reported. The official China Daily newspaper quoted China's ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai as saying Chinese and U.S. officials are discussing the visit. SENT:


SYDNEY — A Japanese man was killed after a shark tore off his legs while he was surfing off Australia's east coast, not far from the area where another surfer was mauled by a shark a day earlier. SENT: 370 words.


BEIJING — A court in central China says a former mining tycoon who led a crime gang that killed rivals has been executed along with four of the gang's members. SENT: 250 words.



CAIRO — A riot erupts outside of a major soccer game in Egypt, with fighting between police and fans killing at least 25 people, security officials say. The riot, only three years after similar violence killed 74 people, began ahead of a match between Egyptian Premier League clubs Zamalek and ENPPI at Air Defense Stadium east of Cairo. By Merrit Kennedy. SENT: 600 words, photos. AP Photos pursuing.

— EGYPT-MASS TRIALS — Egyptians who are branded enemies of the state may never get the chance to defend themselves as the courts hand out mass convictions after lopsided trials, according to legal experts and human rights groups. SENT: 900 words, photos.


BERLIN — Four-way peace talks are announced by Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, even as pro-Russian separatists gain ground in Ukraine. US threats to arm Kiev could be helping to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin to the table, but diplomats fear actually delivering the weapons could open a proxy war between Washington and Moscow. By Frank Jordans and Matthew Lee. SENT: 760 words, photos, video.


JERUSALEM — A national leader's appearance before the U.S. Congress is usually a source of pride and unity — but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned trip to Washington, opposed by the White House and many Democrats, has Israel in uproar. The Israeli leader is facing growing calls to cancel the visit by rivals who claim he is risking Israel's relations with the United States in hopes of winning some extra votes in next month's parliamentary election. By Josef Federman. SENT: 930 words, photos.


AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan has launched 56 airstrikes against Islamic State group weapons depots, training centers and military barracks since militants released a video of them burning a Jordanian pilot to death. SENT: 350 words.


MWESO, Congo — Congolese residents displaced by rebels years ago have hope their situation might improve, as the Congolese military has vowed to oust the rebels, with support from the U.N., after they failed to meet a Jan. 2 deadline to disarm. By Melanie Gouby. SENT: 675 words, photos.



PHILADELPHIA — The potential $1 billion settlement of NFL concussion claims appears very close to winning final approval from a federal judge, to the chagrin of critics who believe the revised plan remains murky or pays too little to struggling former players. By Maryclaire Dale. SENT: 500 words.



LOS ANGELES — Sam Smith was the king of the Grammys, taking home three of the top four awards, including song and record of the year for "Stay With Me," and best new artist, while Beck won album of the year. "I want to thank the man who this record is about ... Thank you so much for breaking my heart because I have four Grammys," said Smith, who also won best pop vocal album for "In the Lonely Hour." By Mesfin Fekadu. SENT: 810 words, photos.


— BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL — Nathalie Portman embraced 'mystery' of working with Terence Malick on 'Knight of Cups'. SENT: 130 words, photos.


— DEEP SPACE OBSERVATORY — SpaceX calls off Sunday's planned launch of deep-space observatory for US government. SENT.

— COSBY-BOSTON — New accuser emerges as Cosby cancels Boston shows; he cites winter weather for cancelations. SENT: 320 words, photo.

— LIBYA — Heavy fighting renews in Libya's second-largest city Benghazi amid new operation. SENT: 350 words.

— BOX OFFICE — With $56 million debut, 'SpongeBob' unseats 'American Sniper' at weekend box office. SENT: 130 words, photos.

— BRUCE JENNER-CRASH. Publicist: Bruce Jenner wasn't texting when he got into fatal, chain-reaction crash in Malibu. SENT, photos.


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

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.