ASIA:

HONG KONG-DEMOCRACY PROTEST

HONG KONG — Hong Kong student protest leaders vow to stay until the last minute and peacefully resist a police operation to clear them off a highway where they've been camped out for more than two months. Dozens of activists and hundreds of tents remained on the normally busy thoroughfare outside of the specially administered Chinese city's government headquarters less than a day before court workers assisted by police are scheduled to sweep them out. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 620 words, photos.

CHINA-CORRUPTION

BEIJING — A former deputy head of the agency that steers China's state-dominated economy is sentenced to life in prison for taking bribes, adding to a growing toll of prominent figures ensnared in an anti-corruption crackdown. Liu Tienan was accused of receiving 36 million yuan ($5.9 million) in bribes from companies including petrochemical and auto manufacturers from 2002 to 2012. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 400 words, photos.

— CHINA-RIGHTS LAWYER — Lawyer: detained Chinese legal activist Pu Zhiqiang denies all charges against him. SENT: 260 words.

SKOREA-KOREAN AIR FAMILY

SEOUL, South Korea — When South Koreans heard that a Korean Air Lines executive delayed a flight because she was angry at being served macadamia nuts in a bag there was outrage but no surprise. For many it was only the latest example of the high and mighty behavior they've come to expect from the families who make up Korea's dynastic business elite and dominate the economy. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 630 words, photos.

PHILIPPINES-BUS EXPLOSION

MANILA, Philippines — The death toll from a suspected bomb explosion on a bus in the southern Philippines rises to at least 10 with another 34 people wounded. The Rural Transit bus had picked up passengers, mostly students, and was passing near the main gate of Central Mindanao University when the powerful blast sent shrapnel and debris flying through the vehicle. By Jim Gomez. SENT: 300 words, photos.

THAILAND-HITLER

BANGKOK — The short propaganda film commissioned by Thailand's military rulers was supposed to promote the "12 core values" every Thai student must now learn. But there was one scene the junta has had trouble explaining: a grinning schoolboy painting an image of Adolf Hitler while his smiling classmate applauds. By Todd Pitman. SENT: 490 words.

MALDIVES-WATER

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Water supply in Maldives' capital, cut by a fire last week in its only treatment plant, won't be fully restored until next week, a government official says. By Bharatha Mallawarachi. SENT: 230 words.

INDIA-SUICIDE ATTEMPTS

NEW DELHI — India's government decides to decriminalize suicide attempts, which have been punishable by up to a year in prison. SENT: 140 words.

CHINA-SMOKING

BEIJING — China's government is likely to raise cigarette taxes in order to boost prices and deter smoking, an official says, amid a push by the nation of 300 million smokers to crack down on the habit. SENT: 300 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

JAPAN-MAZDA-AIR BAG RECALL

TOKYO — Mazda is expanding its U.S. recall for Takata air bags that may explode to the entire country, following Japanese rival Honda in the decision. Mazda Motor Corp. said it will officially notify the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration soon, but was still compiling details including the exact vehicle numbers requiring recall. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 300 words.

CHINA-INFLATION

BEIJING — China's inflation rate fell further in November as the rise in food prices moderated, giving Chinese leaders room if needed to pump more stimulus into the slowing economy. SENT: 140 words.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

CIA-TORTURE-REACTION

GENEVA — Senior U.S. officials who authorized and carried out torture as part of former President George W. Bush's national security policy must be prosecuted, a top U.N. special investigator says. By John Heilprin. SENT: 300 words, photos.

CIA TORTURE REPORT-BIN LADEN

WASHINGTON — Despite what the CIA said and the movie "Zero Dark Thirty" showed, key clues that helped find and kill Osama bin Laden didn't come from harsh interrogations of terror suspects, Senate investigators say. By Intelligence Writer Ken Dilanian. SENT: 830 words, photos.

OBAMA-BUSH LEGACY

WASHINGTON — With release of Senate report of CIA interrogations of terror suspects, President Barack Obama again confronts the long legacy of Bush-era policies. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. SENT: 820 words, photo.

EBOLA-LIFE AT GROUND ZERO

MELIANDOU, Guinea — This tiny village is now notorious as the birthplace of Ebola, and the devastation it brought is clear. Death was just the start - survivors are now in debt, hungry, occasionally cut off and highly suspicious about where the disease came from. By Michelle Faul. SENT: 1,220 words, photos, video.

PISTORIUS-TRIAL

JOHANNESBURG — Oscar Pistorius again faces the possibility of a murder conviction after a South African judge ruled that prosecutors can appeal against the double-amputee Olympian's conviction on the lesser charge of culpable homicide. By Christopher Torchia. SENT: 560 words, photos.

FRANCE-CREATING JOBS

PARIS — Creating jobs in France is proving harder than expected. The embattled Socialist-led government is making its second push this year to energize the labor market in Europe's second-largest economy, after a top economic official called the previous plan "a failure." By Greg Keller. SENT: 560 words, photos.

BRITAIN-HONEYMOON KILLING

LONDON — Shrien Dewani arrives home to Britain, cleared by a South African judge of ordering the killing of his young bride on their honeymoon. But the British businessman has paid a heavy price for his four-year ordeal, which included a lengthy extradition procedure and a trial in South Africa that ended abruptly this week when a judge dismissed the charges because she found the prosecution's case unconvincing. By Gregory Katz. SENT: 785 words, photos.

IRAN-DOG SHELTER

TEHRAN, Iran — Man's best friend is seen as anything but in Iran, where city workers gun down strays and conservatives view pet dogs as a corrupting Western influence. But in a rare animal shelter in the countryside west of Tehran, hundreds of lucky pups have found mercy, and a growing number of Iranians are learning to love them. By Nasser Karimi. SENT: 650 words, photos.

MISSOURI EXECUTION

BONNE TERRE, Mo. — A Missouri inmate was put to death for fatally beating a 63-year-old woman with a hammer in 1998, the state's record 10th lethal injection of 2014 to match Texas for the most executions in the country this year. By Jim Salter. SENT: 510 words, photo.

NYC HUMPBACKS

NEW YORK — Reported sightings of humpback whales, the gigantic, endangered singers of the deep, are multiplying in waters within sight of New York City's skyscrapers. By Jim Fitzgerald. SENT: 600 words, photo.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— ODD--SHEEP IN A SWEATER — Owner reclaims sheep wearing red-and-green holiday sweater found wandering in Omaha. SENT: 150 words, photos, video.

— NYC SYNAGOGUE ATTACK — Authorities are stepping up security at the headquarters of an international Jewish organization in Brooklyn after a mentally ill man wandered inside the library and stabbed a student in the head before he was shot and killed by police. By Karen Matthews and Ula Ilnytzky. SENT: 350 words, photos.

— ROYALS-US VISIT — Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate, wrapped up their first visit to New York in a three-day whirlwind that included a black-tie reception, a meeting with the other king, LeBron James, and a solemn, rain-drenched visit to the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum. SENT: 500 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.

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.