Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, July 19

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SINGAPORE -- The allegations by a U.S. foundation's report accusing China of exerting influence on Chinese Singaporeans, which was carried by a Singaporean newspaper, are groundless and distorted from truth, the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Singapore said here Friday.

In a statement posted on the Chinese embassy's website and Facebook account, the spokesperson refuted the allegations in the article titled "Report flags how China conducts influence operations in Singapore," which was published by the Straits Times on Thursday. (Singapore-China-Report)

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MUMBAI -- India's western state of Maharashtra is considering bringing in a law to redevelop some 14,000 dilapidated buildings in the state capital of Mumbai through a cluster policy, local media reported Friday.

These buildings are over 50 years old and are at risk of collapse due to lack of maintenance, and one such building collapsed earlier this week, leaving 14 dead. (India-Building collapse-Law)

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TOKYO -- Industry insiders from Japan's animation scene along with countless numbers of fans expressed utter shock and bemusement Friday after the tragic events that transpired a day earlier at a studio of Kyoto Animation Co. in western Japan.

KyoAni, as its known affectionately not just in Japan but worldwide, saw its studio go up in flames as the result of a suspected arson attack, which claimed the lives of 33 talented individuals and left a deep scar on the animation industry that will take years to heal. (Japan-KyoAni-Mourning)

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NEW DELHI -- The combined death toll in devastating floods in India's northeastern state of Assam and eastern state of Bihar has gone up to 119, official sources told Xinhua on Friday.

In Assam alone around 39 people have died, confirmed an official in Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).

According to the official source, while 37 people have so far died due to floods, two died in landslides triggered by floods. Lives of around 5.3 million people have been affected across 28 districts of the state, added the official source. (India-Flood-Death)

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JAKARTA -- The Indonesian government will temporarily shut down Komodo Island, the habitat for critically endangered Komodo dragons, next year, officials said.

The plan for the closure came after a smuggling case of 41 Komodo dragons to three nations in Southeast Asia was uncovered in March by East Java provincial police. (Indonesia-Komodo island-Shutdown) Enditem

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