ASIA

MALAYSIA-PLANE

PERTH, Australia — Three separate but fleeting sounds from deep in the Indian Ocean offer new hope in the hunt for the missing Malaysian airliner, and officials rush to confirm or rule out they are signals from the plane's black boxes before their beacons fall silent. By Nick Perry. SENT: 700 words, photos, video, audio.

Video: Malaysia_plane_wrap.

US-JAPAN

TOKYO — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivers a two-pronged warning to Asia Pacific nations, announcing that the U.S. will send two additional ballistic missile destroyers to Japan to counter the North Korean threat, and saying China must better respect its neighbors. By Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 890 words, photos.

U.S. & INTERNATIONAL

AFGHAN-ELECTIONS

KABUL, Afghanistan — Large crowds of voters defying rainy weather and Taliban threats underscore the enormity of Afghans' expectations from a pivotal election that comes as the country's wobbly government prepares to face down a ferocious insurgency largely on its own. With U.S.-led combat forces ending a 13-year presence and the mercurial Hamid Karzai stepping aside, the country's new leader will find an altered landscape as he replaces the only president Afghans have known since the Taliban were ousted. After the carnage and disappointments of recent times, Afghans crowd mosque courtyards and line up at schools to vote, telling an increasingly skeptical world they want their voices heard. By Kim Gamel. SENT: 1,400 words, photos, video.

— AFGHAN-ELECTIONS-PHOTO GALLERY — A look at some of the Associated Press' top photographs from the voting. SENT: 200 words, photos.

— UNITED STATES-AFGHANISTAN — Obama congratulates Afghans on election turnout, calls it important milestone for country. SENT: 100 words.

Video: afghan_elections.

HEROIN ACROSS AMERICA

On a beautiful Sunday last October, Detective Dan Douglas stood in a suburban Minnesota home and looked down at a lifeless 20-year-old — a needle mark in the man's arm, a syringe in his pocket. Fresh out of treatment, this man was Douglas' second heroin overdose that day. "You just drive away and go, 'Well, here we go again,'" says the veteran cop. In Butler County, Ohio, responding to heroin overdose calls is so common that the EMS coordinator likens it to "coming in and eating breakfast — you just kind of expect it to occur." A local rehab facility has a six-month wait. One school recently referred an 11-year-old boy. "There are so many residual effects," the sheriff there says. "And we're all paying for it." Heroin is spreading its misery across America, and communities everywhere are indeed paying. By Amy Forliti, Dan Sewell and Nigel Duara. SENT: 2,300 words, photos, interactive. An abridged version is available.

— HEROIN-STATES — A look at some struggling states. SENT: 1,410 words.

AP POLL-ELECTIONS

WASHINGTON — The latest Associated Press-GfK poll holds bad news for President Barack Obama, but as the November elections approach, there are ominous signs for congressional Democrats as well. People most attuned to politics are more likely to say they'd prefer to see the GOP in charge of Congress. By Jennifer Agiesta. SENT: 910 words, photos, graphic.

— AP POLL-ELECTIONS-METHOD. SENT: 200 words.

SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT

EXECUTION DRUGS-SECRECY

ST. LOUIS — Dating to the days when the guillotine operator or the hangman wore a mask, a certain amount of anonymity has always surrounded executions. But that secrecy is increasingly coming under fire, with judges, death penalty opponents and lawyers questioning why so little can be known about a state's most solemn responsibility. An Associated Press survey of the 32 death penalty states found that the vast majority refuse to disclose the source of their execution drugs. The states cloaked in secrecy include some with the most active death chambers — among them Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and Missouri. By Jim Salter and Andrew Welsh-Huggins. SENT: 1,190 words, photos.

— EXECUTION DRUGS-SECRECY-GLANCE — How 5 states approach execution drug secrecy, and legal challenges being made. SENT: 520 words.

INTERNATIONAL

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC-UN

BANGUI, Central African Republic — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon vows that the world will not forget Central African Republic, as he visits the country wracked by sectarian violence that has left thousands dead and forced most of the nation's Muslims to flee. By Steve Niko and Krista Larson. SENT: 560 words, photos.

SYRIA

CAIRO — Al-Qaida's leader calls on fighters to determine who killed his chief representative in Syria, a man many militant groups believe died at the hands of a rival militia, in a move that highlighted a conflict between rebels that has killed hundreds. In a thinly veiled criticism of the breakaway Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant organization, Ayman al-Zawahri called the killing of Abu Khaled al-Suri an act of "sedition" that should be handled in accordance with Islamic law. By Maamoun Youssef and Diaa Hadid. SENT: 570 words, photos.

WEST AFRICA-EBOLA

CONAKRY, Guinea — A crowd angry about an Ebola outbreak that has killed 86 people across Guinea attacks a center where victims were being held in isolation, prompting an international aid group to temporarily evacuate its team. The mob accused Doctors Without Borders health workers of bringing Ebola to Guinea, where there had never previously been any cases. By Boubacar Diallo. SENT: 560 words.

WASHINGTON

SECRET CUBAN TWITTER-DISSIDENTS

MIAMI — The revelation that a U.S. government-funded program set up a cellphone-based social network in Cuba is likely to pose new challenges for independent bloggers and exile groups that work to increase access to technology. By Christine Armario. SENT: 960 words, photos.

GETTING ATTENTION

— EGYPT — A bloody feud in southern Egypt between an Arab clan and a Nubian family kills at least 23 people, leaving bodies strewn on hospital floors and homes torched in its wake. SENT: 570 words.

— HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR-NAZI SAVIOR — Students at a Connecticut college are working on a 75-year-old investigation: Who was the suspected Nazi who saved a Jewish family by helping it escape Austria as World War II broke out? SENT: 800 words, photos.

— ARCHBISHOP'S-MANSION — Atlanta archbishop will sell $2.2 million home after criticism from parishioners. SENT: 530 words, photo.

— MORMON CONFERENCE — Mormon leader reiterates church opposition to gay marriage during biannual general conference. SENT: 1,060 words, photos.

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YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Hrvoje Hranjski. 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.