Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1000 GMT, July 1

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TOKYO -- Business sentiment among large Japanese manufacturers deteriorated for the second straight quarter in June, owing to rising costs for energy and raw materials, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) said in its Tankan report Friday.

The sentiment index gauging confidence among large manufacturers such as automakers and electronics manufacturers fell from 14 booked three months ago to nine, the report showed. (Japan-Business Sentiment-Drop)

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KABUL -- Supreme leader of the Taliban-run administration Haibatullah Akhundzada attended Afghanistan's Jirga, or grand assembly of religious scholars and elders, on Friday.

According to local media reports, the Taliban supreme leader would deliver a speech to the participants.

About 3,500 ulema or religious scholars, according to the state-run Bakhtar news agency, have been invited from across the war-torn country to attend the three-day gathering, which opened on Thursday. (Afghanistan-Supreme Leader-Jirga)

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SYDNEY -- A new study led by the University of Queensland (UQ) has uncovered that humpback whales have the ability to learn complex songs from whales from other regions.

The findings, published in the Scientific Reports journal and released to the public on Friday, showed that New Caledonian humpback whales were singing the exact same songs as whale populations off the coast of eastern Australia. (Australia-New Study-Humpback Whales)

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TOKYO -- Japan's jobless rate rose to 2.6 percent in May, with the figure rising for the first time in four months, the government said in a report on Friday.

From the previous month, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the unemployment rate increased from 2.5 percent to 2.6 percent in the recording period, as more people left jobs to search for better ones amid the easing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labor market, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said. (Japan-Jobless Rate-May) Enditem

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