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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Jessica Korda took a two-stroke lead Saturday in the LPGA Malaysia, shooting a bogey-free 6-under 65 in sweltering conditions.

Two of Asia's leading filmmakers believe moviegoers are set to benefit from the "globalisation" of cinema, which they say will boost the variety and quality of films the world is watching. Acclaimed Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul said he welcomed the fact there were now fewer "borders" in cinema. "The more filmmakers from around the world work together, the more ideas we will share and the better the content we produce will be," said Apichatpong.

Two productions which paint vastly different portraits of modern existence have taken home the major award at Asia's most prestigious film festival, with judges praising both for their ability to celebrate life. Iranian director Hadi Mohaghegh's "Immortal" and "Walnut Tree" from Kazakhstan's Yerlan Nurmukhambetov were Saturday morning named the winners of the New Currents award for first- and second-time filmmakers at the 20th Busan International Film Festival, each receiving US$30,000. Meanwhile "Walnut Tree", which looks at the interaction within a small, close-knit community, was a simple film that "proves how humour, kindness, and forgiveness connect us all", said veteran Taiwanese filmmaker Chang.

International help to assist Indonesia in combatting forest and agricultural fires cloaking Southeast Asia in haze has begun to arrive on Sumatra island, an official said on Saturday. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency, said a Bombardier amphibious aircraft and Malaysian crew arrived on Friday to begin water bombing South Sumatra. "They are currently being briefed by the disaster mitigation chief and the water bombing will start immediately after that," Sutopo told AFP.

By Adam Rose and David Brunnstrom BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China said on Friday it would not stand for violations of its territorial waters in the name of freedom of navigation, as the United States considers sailing warships close to China's artificial islands in the South China Sea. A U.S. defense official told Reuters on Thursday the United States was considering sending ships to waters inside the 12-nautical-mile zones that China claims as territory around islands it has built in the Spratly chain. Western media reports quoted U.S. officials as saying the action could take place within a matter of days, but awaited a decision by U.S. President Barack Obama.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific said on Friday the United States must carry out freedom of navigation patrols throughout the Asia Pacific, but declined to say whether it planned go within 12 nautical miles of China's artificial islands in the South China Sea. Admiral Harry Harris told a Washington seminar one of his responsibilities was to offer options to President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and added, "I'm comfortable knowing those options are being considered. ...
By Jack Stubbs MOSCOW (Reuters) - The sailors of Russia's Caspian fleet have seen little action over the last 300 years but now the war raging in Syria has thrust them into the forefront of Russia's largest military operation abroad since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Better known for oil drilling and sturgeon smuggling than strategic naval importance, the Caspian Sea bordering Central Asia and the Middle East was an unexpected place for Russia to launch a battery of cruise missile attacks against Islamic State targets in Syria on Wednesday. Obtaining permission to fly missiles through the airspace of NATO-member Turkey was an unlikely prospect and a land-based attack was ruled out by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty which prohibits the use of ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 km. "It was simply the only option," said Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are little changed in midday trading Friday, but the market is still on track to close out its best week this year. Airlines and industrial stocks rose. Markets continue to be driven by confidence that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low for several more months.

ROME (AP) — If baseball rejoins the Olympics for the 2020 Tokyo Games, just qualifying for the tournament could be a challenge.

By Steve Scherer ROME (Reuters) - Italy sent a first group of Eritrean asylum seekers to Sweden on Friday as part of a European Union relocation plan aimed at easing the burden on border states amid the continent's biggest migration crisis since World War Two. The 19 men and women who made a perilous journey across the desert and the sea to seek shelter in Europe lined up on the runway of Rome's Ciampino airport wearing lightweight jackets, smiling and taking selfies before boarding a state plane. European migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano escorted them to the aircraft taking them to an airport near the Arctic Circle where temperatures dipped below freezing overnight.

In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a roped cow tries to break free in front of a Philippine marine who tries to avoid it while taking up his position during a live-fire exercise near the coast northwest of Manila. Hundreds of cattle live on the sprawling naval facility at San Antonio township in Zambales province, and the marines and amphibious-assault vehicles had to maneuver through the herd during the exercise. More than 600 U.S. and Philippine marines took part in the annual exercise that concluded Friday and was aimed at increasing the armed forces' capabilities in bilateral maritime operations. The facility faces Scarborough Shoal, one of the contested areas in the South China Sea that is also claimed by China.

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