Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 0600 GMT, July 31

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FARAH, Afghanistan -- At least 34 people were killed and 17 others wounded in a long-distance bus crash in Afghanistan's western Farah province on Wednesday, a local official confirmed.

"The accident occurred following an explosion when a pressure-plate landmine struck the ill-fated bus, causing it to veer off road and overturn along a main road in Aab Khorma locality of Farah Wednesday morning," the provincial official told Xinhua anonymously. (Afghanistan-Bus Crash)

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SYDNEY -- Staff from Papua New Guinea's (PNG) Department of Health along with experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), will travel to the country's Highlands region on Wednesday to investigate the deaths of 35 people who are believed to have died from infections.

With 11 deaths reportedly last weekend, Eastern Highlands Governor Peter Numu told local media on Monday that he believes a state of emergency should immediately be called at the Goroka Hospital where the deaths took place. (Australia-PNG-Infections)

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CANBERRA -- The former leader of the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) has said he still has "the fire for politics" following May's election defeat.

Bill Shorten was chosen to lead the ALP in 2013 but stood down in May after losing the general election to the incumbent Liberal-National party (LNP) coalition and Prime Minister (PM) Scott Morrison.

It was considered one of the biggest election upsets in Australian history, with every opinion poll predicting a Labor victory. (Australia-Oppositon)

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SEOUL -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Wednesday.

The two missiles were launched at 5:06 a.m. and 5:27 a.m. local time each near the DPRK's eastern city of Wonsan, traveling about 250 km at an altitude of some 30 km.

The South Korean military was maintaining defense posture, while monitoring relevant situations in preparation for a possibly additional missile launch, the JCS said. (South Korea-DPRK-Missiles) Enditem

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