TOP STORIES:

PAKISTAN

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A bomb explodes in the back of a bus carrying government employees in northern Pakistan, killing 17 people and wounding dozens, officials say. There is no immediate claim of responsibility but militants battling the government in northwestern Pakistan often target troops, officials and symbols of the state. By Riaz Khan. SENT: 280 words, video.

INDIA-BUILDING COLLAPSE

MUMBAI, India — A residential building collapses in India's financial capital of Mumbai, killing at least three people and sending rescuers racing to reach dozens of people feared trapped in the rubble. It was the third deadly building collapse in six months in Mumbai, in a country where shoddy construction and lax inspections make such disasters all too common. By Kay Johnson. SENT: 300 words, photos, video.

JAPAN-NUCLEAR

TOKYO — Tokyo Electric Power Co. requests that safety inspections be carried out to allow it to restart two nuclear reactors, despite concerns over how it has handled the catastrophe at the Fukushima plant. All of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors are offline while regulators consider restarts under safety rules revised after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 540 words, photos.

AUSTRALIA-INDONESIA

CANBERRA, Australia — A furor over Australia's contentious policy of turning asylum seeker boats back to Indonesia erupts ahead of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's first visit as Australian leader to its important neighbor. SENT: 510 words, photos.

JAPAN-SHIP COLLISION

TOKYO — Two cargo ships collide south of Tokyo, killing five people in one of the vessels, Japan's coast guard says. Officials are searching for a sixth missing crew member. SENT: 170 words, photos.

CHINA-AFGHANISTAN

BEIJING — Afghan President Hamid Karzai is meeting with Chinese leaders amid security threats in the war-torn nation that have stymied a massive copper mine development by a Chinese consortium. SENT: 135 words.

OBAMA-INDIA

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is hosting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for talks on trade and security in a fragile region, offering a chance to inject new life into the partnership amid concerns that relations have stagnated. The leaders of the world's two largest democracies were meeting Friday at the White House, where they were expected to firm up plans for moving forward on defense and civil nuclear agreements. SENT: 400 words. Will be updated after meeting.

INDIA-CONTROVERSIAL LAW

NEW DELHI — Rahul Gandhi, the second most powerful member of India's ruling party, lashes out at the government for proposing a law to protect convicted lawmakers from disqualification. The government is seeking to overturn a ruling by India's top court striking down a legal provision that protects lawmakers from immediate disqualification following a criminal conviction while the case is being appealed. SENT: 160 words.

INDIA-FLOODS

AHMADABAD, India — Officials say monsoon flooding has left 13 people dead in the west Indian state of Gujarat where thousands of people took shelter in state-run camps this week. SENT: 130 words.

SRI LANKA-COMMONWEALTH

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Two international human rights groups urge a Commonwealth advisory group to prioritize human rights in Sri Lanka, where the group is holding a heads of state meeting in November, saying the island nation has failed to properly probe alleged war-time abuses. By Bharatha Mallawarachi. SENT: 480 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

HONG KONG-ALIBABA IPO

HONG KONG —Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's biggest shareholders, Yahoo and Japan's Softbank Corp., back the company's unusual management structure that Hong Kong's stock exchange was unwilling to accommodate, forcing it to look to the U.S. for a potentially mammoth IPO. SENT: 650 words, photos.

US-AUTO PARTS-PRICE FIXING

WASHINGTON — Nine Japanese auto parts manufacturers and two of their executives will plead guilty and pay $740 million in criminal fines for conspiring to fix the prices of more than 30 products sold to many of the world's largest automakers operating in the U.S. SENT: 320 words.

JAPAN-ECONOMY

TOKYO — Japan's consumer price index rose 0.8 percent in August from a year earlier in its fastest increase in five years, though prices excluding food and energy were slightly lower. SENT: 150 words.

FEATURES:

INDONESIA-MISS WORLD DRAMA

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Beauty queens and backstage drama may seem inevitable, but at this year's Miss World competition, something more serious than hair-pulling and name-calling has come from host country Indonesia: Muslim hardliners have threatened to hijack the competition despite major concessions from the government and organizers. The bikinis that have been a pageant hallmark were replaced with more conservative sarongs three months ago, after a small but vocal group complained that showing too much skin would be offensive to the world's more populous Muslim country. But that only temporarily quieted protests over the event, which holds its internationally televised finale on Saturday. By Margie Mason. SENT: 1,100 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 1700 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.