Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, Feb. 19

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CANBERRA -- China has overtaken New Zealand as the leading source of visitors to Australia, data has revealed.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), people from China made 1.43 million short-term visits to Australia in 2018, up 6 percent on 2017, beating the 1.38 million from New Zealand. (Australia-China-Visitors)

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BANGKOK -- Over 10,000 Thais have been verified as candidates running for MP in the March 24 election, local media reported Tuesday.

The Election Commission (EC) verified a total of 10,792 candidates contesting 350 individual constituencies in the nationwide race to parliament, Thai media Matichon reported. (Thailand-Election)

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SEOUL -- Two men were found dead and about 50 others injured on Tuesday morning as a fire broke out at a public bathhouse in the southeast of South Korea, according to local media reports.

The fire started at about 7:11 a.m. local time (2211 GMT Monday) from the men's bathhouse on the fourth floor of a building in Daegu city, some 240 km southeast of the capital Seoul. (South Korea-Fire)

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SYDNEY -- The official number of homes destroyed by bushfires in the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW) last week has risen to 32, the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said on Tuesday.

A further 21 homes were damaged and 119 outbuildings were scorched by three main blazes which tore across 74,000 hectares of bushland surrounding the towns of Tingha and Tabulam in the state's north. (Australia-Bushfires) Enditem

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