SEOUL, South Korea — When a jet from a Seoul-based airline crashed this weekend in San Francisco, South Koreans took it personally. Along with sadness over one of the highest-profile crashes by a Korean air carrier in recent years, average South Koreans expressed shame and embarrassment about how it would reflect on their country. The successes and failures of big South Korean firms are intimately linked to this small, proud, recently developed country's psyche. By Youkyung Lee. AP Photos.


CHONGQING, China — Dave Schoch has one of the toughest jobs at Ford Motor Co.: catching the competition in the world's biggest car market. When Schoch first arrived in China 13 years ago, bicycles and pedestrians filled the streets. Now, its eight-lane freeways are crowded with cars — but few of them are Fords. After years of delay, Ford is finally trying to catch up to its rivals in China, investing billions in new factories and vehicles. By Auto Writer Dee-Ann Durbin. AP photos.



TOKYO — A Japan Airlines Boeing 777 bound for San Francisco returns to Tokyo after a warning flashed in the cockpit saying the jet's hydraulic fluid level was low. The plane carrying 236 passengers and 13 crew had departed around midnight and returned about four hours later to Tokyo's Haneda airport.


HYDERABAD, India — Police say that the death toll in the collapse of a two-story hotel in southern India has climbed to 17 as rescue workers dig through debris. Police officer Anurag Sharma said Tuesday that another 20 people were hurt after the City Light hotel collapsed in a Hyderabad city suburb. The accident took place early Monday morning.


TOKYO — Japan criticized China for trying to resolve territorial conflicts with shows of force that increase the risk of dangerous clashes and said North Korea appeared to have entered a "new phase" toward producing better long-range missiles while improving its nuclear weapons program. Tokyo is particularly concerned by China's activities in waters around islands that both countries claim, according to the Ministry of Defense's yearly snapshot of what Japan perceives to be its major security issues. By Eric Talmadge. AP Photos.


TOKYO — Masao Yoshida, the man who led the life-risking battle at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant when it was spiraling into meltdowns, has died of cancer of the esophagus. He was 58. Officials at Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Yoshida's illness was not related to radioactive exposure. By Mari Yamaguchi.


BEIJING — Rescuers in mountainous western China pulled three people from a raging river following a bridge collapse Tuesday amid heavy flooding that has forced thousands to evacuate their homes. Three cars and a delivery van fell into the torrent when the nearly 50-year-old Qinglian bridge broke apart just before noon in the city of Jiangyou in the western province of Sichuan.


BEIJING — China's top official for ethnic affairs says there will be no softening in the Communist Party's struggle against the Dalai Lama. Fourth-ranking party official Yu Zhengsheng said Tuesday that Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader was intent on splitting the Himalayan region from China. He said Tibetan Buddhists must draw a clear political line between themselves and the Dalai Lama.


BEIJING — A Chinese journalist says he's been conditionally released from detention after five weeks in which he was asked about his book on the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and a film he made about labor camp abuses. Beijing-based video and photojournalist Du Bin said by phone that he was released Monday evening. AP Photos.


MANILA, Philippines — Philippine police will file charges against a 22-year-old waiter accused of raping a 15-year-old Norwegian tourist at the beach resort where he works.


BEIJING — A study links heavy air pollution from coal burning to shorter lives in northern China. Researchers estimate the half-billion people alive there in the 1990s will live an average of 5½ years less than their southern counterparts because they breathed dirtier air. China itself made the comparison possible by providing free coal for heating in the colder north. Researchers said the results could be used to extrapolate the effects of such pollution on lifespans elsewhere in the world. By Louise Watt. AP Photos.



BEIJING — China's inflation rose in June but was well below the government's target in a sign of weak demand amid an economic slowdown. Consumer prices rose 2.7 percent over a year earlier, up from May's 2.1 percent gain but below the 3.5 percent official target for the year, the government reported Tuesday. The June figure was driven by a 4.9 percent rise in food costs. By Joe McDonald. AP Photos.


NEW YORK — A group of primarily European retailers and clothing makers said it plans to inspect clothing factories in Bangladesh that make garments for the companies within the next nine months and will concentrate renovations on those that pose the biggest safety threat. By Anne D'Innocenzio.


CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela's president says five officials with a development fund financed by China have been arrested in connection with the alleged embezzlement of $84 million.


YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Leon Drouin-Keith. Questions and story requests are welcome. The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at

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