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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

June 2, 2014



BEIJING — Born in 1989, Steve Wang sometimes wonders what happened in his hometown of Beijing that year. But his curiosity about pro-democracy protests and the crackdown on them passes quickly. “I was not part of it,” he said. “I know it could be important, but I cannot feel it.” A quarter century after the Communist Party’s attack on demonstrations centered on Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, it is little more than a distant tale to most young Chinese. The ruling party prohibits public discussion and 1989 is banned from textbooks and Chinese websites. By Didi Tang. SENT: 870 words, photos.

— CHINA-TIANANMEN-DETENTIONS — A Chinese-born Australian artist and former protester in China’s 1989 pro-democracy movement is taken away by Chinese authorities shortly after a profile of him appeared in the Financial Times newspaper in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the military clampdown. By Didi Tang. SENT: 580 words.


LUCKNOW, India — Police use water cannons to disperse hundreds of women who were protesting against a rise in violence against women in the northern Indian state where two teenagers were gang-raped last week and later found hanging from a tree. The protesters in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, were demonstrating outside the office of the top elected official to demand that he crack down on an increasing number of attacks on women and girls. SENT: 320 words, photos.


BANGKOK — Thailand’s main press association says it is gravely concerned that undercover police appear to be posing as journalists after a video circulated showing a man with official press ID arresting an anti-coup protester in the capital. It was one of two videos showing apparent arrests by undercover officers in Bangkok that sparked outrage on social media. SENT: 300 words, photos.


TOKYO — Five former victims of Japan’s wartime sex slavery and their supporters submit hundreds of official documents to the government, demanding that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledge Japan’s past atrocity and formally apologize. The group says the documents collected from around the world include clear evidence of coercion. SENT: 130 words, photos.


NEW DELHI — Celebrations greet the creation of India’s newest state of Telangana out of the division of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Thousands of people cheer as regional political leader K. Chandrasekhar Rao joins a parade soon after being sworn in as Telangana’s chief minister. SENT: 170 words, photos.


KABUL, Afghanistan — A motorcycle bomb targets a minibus with workers from a Turkish construction company in eastern Afghanistan, killing three Turkish engineers, officials say. Also on Monday, a group of Taliban suicide bombers attacks a government compound in southern Helmand province, killing two Afghan policemen and a civilian. By Amir Shah. SENT: 490 words.

— CAPTURED SOLDIER-AFGHANISTAN — Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry criticizes the U.S. for swapping Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to secure the release of a captured soldier. SENT: 140 words.


SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea rescue three North Koreans who were drifting at sea and two of them want to stay in the South, officials say, which would likely produce an angry response from the North. The men were rescued off the South’s eastern coast on Saturday and while two want to stay, one said he wishes to return to the North. By Jung-yoon Choi. SENT: 230 words.


CANBERRA, Australia — China’s contribution of ships and planes to the Indian Ocean search for the missing Malaysian airliner showed the trust and familiarity that has developed between the Chinese and Australian militaries, Australia’s Defense Chief Gen. David Hurley says. Hurley and Defense Secretary Dennis Richardson told a Senate committee that relations between the two militaries were strong and remained unaffected by strategic rivalry between China — Australia’s most important trade partner — and Australia’s most important security ally, the United States. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 450 words.



SEOUL, South Korea — Samsung Electronics Co. says it will begin selling a smartphone that runs on its Tizen operating system in the third quarter of this year, advancing the company’s plans to reduce dependence on Google’s Android software. Samsung, the world’s top smartphone maker by sales volume, said the Samsung Z will go on sale in Russia first. It said there are plans to sell the phone in other countries but didn’t name them. SENT: 280 words.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Cadbury chocolates sold in Malaysia have been cleared of containing pork, the country’s top Islamic body says in a statement that should lessen calls for a boycott of the British confectionary company after earlier tests suggested two types of chocolate bars contained pig DNA. The now apparently discredited findings by the Ministry of Health sparked outrage among some Islamist groups in Malaysia, who called for a boycott of all Cadbury’s products. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, is also testing Cadbury chocolates, although the two products at issue in Malaysia are not sold there. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 470 words, photos.



RAMALLAH, West Bank — President Mahmoud Abbas swears in a Palestinian unity government, taking a major step toward ending a crippling territorial and political split among the Palestinians but also setting the stage for new friction with Israel. By Mohammed Daraghmeh. SENT: 780 words, photos.

— ISRAEL-SYRIA — Israel fires back at Syria after mortar shell lands in Golan Heights. SENT: 130 words.


WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency is introducing a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. It is a centerpiece of Obama’s plans to reduce the pollution linked to global warming, and it carries significant political and legal risks. By Dina Cappiello. SENT: 810 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration faces mounting questions over the prisoner swap that won freedom for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after five years in Taliban hands. The release of five terrorist suspects from Guantanamo Bay is stirring a debate over whether the exchange will heighten the risk of other Americans being snatched as bargaining chips and whether the released detainees will find their way back to the fight. By Lolita C. Baldor and Calvin Woodward. SENT: 650 words, photos, video.


MADRID — Spain’s King Juan Carlos plans to abdicate and pave the way for his son, Crown Prince Felipe, to take over, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy tells the country in an announcement broadcast nationwide. The 76-year-old Juan Carlos oversaw his country’s transition from dictatorship to democracy but has had repeated health problems in recent years, and his popularity also dipped following royal scandals, including an elephant-shooting trip he took in the middle of Spain’s financial crisis. By Alan Clendenning. SENT: 790 words, photos.


TRENTON, N.J. — For decades, seasonal allergy sufferers had two therapy options to ease the misery of hay fever. They could swallow pills or squirt nasal sprays every day for a brief reprieve from the sneezing and itchy eyes. Or they could get allergy shots for years to gradually reduce their immune systems’ over-reaction. Now patients can try another type of therapy to train their immune system, new once-a-day tablets that dissolve quickly under the tongue and steadily raise tolerance to grass or ragweed pollen, much like the shots without the needle. And drugmakers are looking to ease more allergies using the same technique. By Business Writer Linda A. Johnson. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.


WARSAW — One is an electrician proud of his working class roots. The other an intellectual who writes treatises on the nature of freedom. A study in contrast, Lech Walesa and Adam Michnik were nonetheless the two heroes of Poland’s democracy movement. And a quarter century after a historic election that brought freedom to their nation, they share a sense of wonder at the “miracle” of sovereignty and democracy — and some disappointment at today’s Poland. An AP Interview. By Monika Scislowska. SENT: 750 words, photos.


BEDFORD, Massachusetts — Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz was killed along with six other people in a fiery plane crash in Massachusetts, just days after reaching a deal that many hoped would end months of infighting at the newspaper and help restore it to its former glory. The 72-year-old businessman’s Gulfstream corporate jet ran off the end of a runway, plunged down an embankment and erupted in a fireball during a takeoff attempt at Hanscom Field outside Boston, authorities said. There were no survivors. SENT: 500 words, photos.


GARDNER, Mass. — They are tiny animals with cute faces. They’re covered in quills. They roll into prickly balls when they are scared. The ideal pet? Hedgehogs are steadily growing in popularity across the United States, despite laws in at least six states banning or restricting them as pets. Says one breeder: “A hedgehog can hang out all day while you are at work, you can come home, hang out with it for a couple of hours or, you know, put it away.” SENT: 550 words, photos, video.


WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama’s fashionable clothing has become something of a given in her five-plus years as first lady. Yet her wardrobe still is the subject of endless public fascination and one long-simmering question: Who pays for those incredible outfits? First ladies are expected to dress well, but the job doesn’t come with a clothing allowance or a salary. By Nancy Benac. SENT: 1,370 words, photos.


Emmy-winning actress Ann B. Davis, who became the country’s favorite and most famous housekeeper as the devoted Alice Nelson of “The Brady Bunch,” died at a San Antonio hospital. She was 88. By Television Writer Lynn Elber. SENT: 700 words, photos.


TREASURE BEACH, Jamaica — Best-selling authors take to a seaside stage, bottles of Red Stripe beer in hand. Budding writers line up to read their works to a big, appreciative audience. Book-loving islanders and tourists mingle with literary luminaries as the sun sets over the Caribbean. It’s the Calabash International Literary Festival — Jamaica’s spirited take on the world of literary gatherings, and it’s getting bigger at each staging. By David McFadden. SENT: 650 words, photos.


MANAUS, Brazil — Death by giant snakes, malarial mosquitoes or drug-addled thieves: If the blood-soaked headlines in the British tabloids are to be believed, that’s what awaits soccer fans travelling to the most exotic of Brazil’s World Cup host cities, the Amazonian metropolis of Manaus. Yet, despite Manaus’ location in the heart of the rainforest, the ills most likely to affect the 52,000 or so foreigners expected for the tournament are disappointingly mundane. They’re far more likely to spend hours in bumper-to-bumper gridlock than ever cross paths with a python. By Jenny Barchfield. SENT: 900 words, photos, interactive.


— UKRAINE — Ukraine: Several Ukrainians injured in attack on border guard camp in restive east. SENT: 670 words, photo.

— RUSSIA-WAR GAMES — Russian military exercise set to involve missile launches. SENT: 140 words.

— IRAN-HYDROTHERAPY-PHOTO GALLERY — A gallery of images from AP photographer Ebrahim Noroozi of the hot springs at Sarein in Iran. SENT: 150 words, photos.

— MEMORIAL-MICKELSON — Phil Mickelson’s week: FBI agents, birdies and bogeys, and onward toward U.S. Open. SENT: 480 words, photos.

— COLOMBIA-SHEEP SOCCER — Not so “baaad” footballers as soccer-playing sheep pay homage to World Cup in Colombia. SENT: 360 words, photos.


YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is David Thurber. Questions and story requests are welcome. The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at asia@ap.org.

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Between 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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