ASIA:

FIJI-SYRIA- PEACEKEEPERS

SUVA, Fiji — First came the emotional calls home and then the celebrations Friday as 45 Fijian peacekeepers held captive for two weeks by Syrian militants made it to safety. By Nick Perry and Pita Ligaiula. SENT: 430 word, photos.

AUSTRALIA-TERRORISM

CANBERRA, Australia — The Australian government on Friday elevated its terrorism threat level to the second-highest warning in response to the domestic threat posed by Islamic State movement supporters. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 500 words, photos.

CHINA-HUMAN- RIGHTS ACTIVIST

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese court on Friday postponed the trial against human rights activist Yang Maodong after his lawyers did not to show up to protest a denial of their right to copy court files. SENT: 380 words.

CHINA-DEADLY ATTACK

BEIJING - Trials started Friday for four people accused of killing 31 people in a knife attack outside a railway station in the southern Chinese city of Kunming. SENT: 320 words, photos.

MALYSIA-FLIGHT-FAMILY

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The brother of Malaysian oil worker Karamjit Singh, who died when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, is urging authorities to speed up their probe into the accident. He wants the answer to one question: "Who actually pulled the trigger?" SENT: 330 words.

PHILIPPINES-KIDNAPPING

MANILA, Philippines —A Chinese teenager who managed a family-run store has been kidnapped by four gunmen in a southern Philippine province where militants kidnapped an Australian three years ago, the police said. SENT: 200 words.

INDIA-PAKISTAN-FLOODING

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani troops use helicopters and boats to evacuate thousands of marooned people from the country's plains where raging monsoon floods inundate more villages. In neighboring India, the military dropped food for hundreds of thousands of people marooned in flood-hit areas of Indian-held Kashmir. Pakistani and Indian officials said the death toll had reached 461 in the two countries. By Munir Ahmed and Ashok Sharma. SENT: 710 words, photos.

ASIA-ARMS BUILDUP

BEIJING — Vietnam has nearly doubled its military spending, Japan is requesting its biggest-ever defense budget and the Philippines is rushing to piece together a viable navy. Several Asian nations are arming up, their wary eyes fixed squarely on one country: a resurgent China that's boldly asserting its territorial claims all along the East Asian coast. By Jack Chang. SENT: 1,130 words, photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

JAPAN-WOMEN

TOKYO — Empowerment of women and equal opportunities are crucial for driving a stronger global economic recovery, and for revitalizing Japan, the head of the International Monetary Fund said Friday. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 450 words, photos.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

HONG KONG (AP) — Japanese stocks pushed higher on Thursday as the yen sank further against the dollar while other Asian benchmarks struggled for direction after a mixed close on Wall Street. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 350 words.

TOP STORIES

MIDEAST-ISLAMIC STATE

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Key Arab allies promise to "do their share" to fight Islamic State militants, but NATO member Turkey refuses to join in, signaling the struggle the U.S. faces in trying to get front-line nations to put aside their regional animosities and work together to defeat a common enemy. The Arab states' endorsement of a broad strategy to stop the flow of fighters and funding to the insurgents, and possibly to join military action, comes as the CIA doubles its assessment of how many fighters the extremist group can muster. By Lara Jakes and Adam Schreck. UPCOMING: 1,200 words by 7 p.m., photos, video.

ISLAMIC STATE-SYRIA

BEIRUT — In carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State extremists in Syria, the U.S. could find itself entangled in a morass of jihadis, rebel rivalries and sectarian hatred. Unlike in Iraq, Washington has no firm allies inside Syria to take over areas, if and when Islamic State fighters are pushed back. And unless the West decisively arms and backs the outgunned moderate rebels, it risks prolonging the widely discredited rule of Bashar Assad. By Zeina Karan and Diaa Hadid. SENT: 1,190 words, photos.

SEPT 11-ANNIVERSARY

NEW YORK — The nation's gathering war against a new upsurge in Islamic extremism hangs heavy over the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, stirring fresh anxieties at ground zero for relatives still grieving over loved ones. The familiar silence to mark the attacks and the roll call of the dead came just hours after President Barack Obama told the nation he was authorizing expanded airstrikes against Islamic State extremists. "Old ones die out and new ones pop up. It's necessary in order to protect ourselves from terrorists," the brother of a 9/11 victim says. By Jonathan Lemire and Rachelle Blidner. SENT: 730 words, photos, video.

— SEPT 11-ANNIVERSARY-PHOTO GALLERY — AP PHOTOS: US marks anniversary of 9/11 attacks. SENT: 120 words, photos.

PISTORIUS-TRIAL

PRETORIA, South Africa — During his trial, Oscar Pistorius sometimes retched and sobbed. The Olympic runner is sobbing again, this time in apparent relief as the judge said the evidence did not support a murder conviction for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The judge could still convict Pistorius of a negligent killing — a crime that can carry a jail term — when she resumes reading her verdict. By Gerald Imray and Christopher Torchia. SENT: 820 words, photos, video.

SWIMMING DINOSAUR

WASHINGTON —Picture the fearsome creatures of "Jurassic Park" crossed with the shark from "Jaws." Then super-size to the biggest predator ever to roam Earth. Now add a crocodile snout as big as a person and feet like a duck's. The result gives you some idea of a bizarre dinosaur scientists are unveiling. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein. SENT: 700 words, photos, video.

WASHINGTON

IMMIGRATION-DEPORTATIONS DOWN

WASHINGTON— President Barack Obama is already on pace this year to deport the fewest number of immigrants since at least 2007, according to a new analysis of Homeland Security Department figures by The Associated Press. Obama has postponed until after Election Day his plan for executive actions that could shield millions of immigrants from deportation. By Alicia A. Caldwell. SENT: 810 words, photos.

BRITAIN SCOTLAND

EDINBURGH, Scotland — Scotland's leading banks and financial groups say they will relocate their headquarters to England if Scots vote to break away from the United Kingdom, warnings that add to doubts about Scotland's economic future just days ahead of a historic referendum. Although the banks say the moves would be legal procedures with a minimum impact on jobs in Scotland, their statements intensified concerns about an independent Scotland's ability to retain businesses and deal a blow to the independence campaign. By Sylvia Hui and Martin Benedyk. SENT: 830 words, photos.

— SPAIN-CATALONIA INDEPENDENCE —Swarms of Catalans energized by Scotland's upcoming independence referendum protest to demand their own right for a vote to leave Spain and carve out a new nation. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.

UKRAINE

BRUSSELS —The European Union slaps more sanctions on Russia for helping separatists destabilize Ukraine, hitting the country's oil industry, limiting high-tech exports and targeting more officials with travel bans and asset freezes. Many members had been loath to hit Russia because of close trading relationships, but a compromise struck in a video conference call with top European leaders allows the sanctions to be reversed within weeks if the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine holds. By Juergen Baetz. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

VENEZUELA-UN SECURITY COUNCIL

BOGOTA, Colombia — Venezuela's socialist government has quietly secured the backing of Latin America and the Caribbean to obtain a diplomatic trophy that long eluded the late Hugo Chavez: a seat on the United Nations Security Council. That means U.S. officials could find themselves sitting alongside the diplomat daughter of Chavez, who once used the U.N. to call George Bush the devil. By Joshua Goodman. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.

BUSINESS

SILICON VALLEY-HEALTH REGULATION

WASHINGTON — From Apple's new smartwatch that tracks heartbeats to contact lenses that measure blood sugar — Silicon Valley is pouring billions into gadgets and apps designed to transform health care. But the tech giants that have famously disrupted so many industries are now facing their own unexpected disruption: regulation. By Matthew Perrone. SENT: 900 words, photos.

ENTERTAINMENT

THEATER-THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG

NEW YORK — Turning Mark Haddon's best-selling novel "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" into a play has been one of the more audacious acts in the theater, a transformation that not even the author thought possible. By Drama Writer Mark Kennedy. SENT: 750 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— SENATORS-REALITY SHOW — Two U.S. senators from opposite sides of the political aisle spend a week alone together on a remote island for a new reality show, "Rival Survival," scheduled to air later this month on Discovery. SENT: 350 words, photos.

— DAYCARE CENTER-BLEACH — New Jersey day care accidentally serves bleach-water mix to children; 2 dozen kids evaluated. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 200 words by 6:30 p.m., photos.

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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.