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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

May 23, 2014



BANGKOK — Thailand’s ruling military has summoned the entire ousted government and members of the politically influential family at the heart of the country’s long-running conflict, a day after it seized control of this volatile Southeast Asian nation in a bloodless coup. There is hardly any visible military presence on Bangkok’s streets. By Jocelyn Gecker and Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video.


BANGKOK — The general who leads the military takeover of Thailand is best known as an ardent protector of the monarchy, with particular loyalty to Queen Sirikit, the consort of 86-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha exercised what is almost a traditional prerogative of an army commander: The country has endured 12 successful coups since becoming a constitutional monarchy in 1932. By Grant Peck. UPCOMING: 800 words by 0800 GMT, photos.

— THAILAND-POLITICS-NEWS GUIDE — A summary of events in Thailand’s coup and a guide to understanding what is happening. SENT: 500 words, photos.

— UNITED STATES-THAILAND — The United States says there is no justification for Thailand’s military coup and it is reviewing its military relationship and other assistance and engagement with its Asian treaty ally. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 500 words.

— THAILAND-WORLD VIEW — Government reactions to Thailand’s military coup. SENT: 215 words.


URUMQI, China — Mrs. Zhang had just bought her morning fruit and vegetables when an explosive tossed from one of two speeding SUVs slammed her to the ground. Scrambling to her feet, and minus her shoes and hat, she fled while the two vehicles plowed through a crowd of shoppers before setting off more fiery blasts in the latest — and bloodiest — incident of violence in China’s far northwestern Xinjiang region in recent months. The attack killed 31 mostly elderly people and wounded more than 90. By Didi Tang. SENT: 900 words, photos.

— CHINA-GANG CRACKDOWN — A former Chinese mining tycoon is sentenced to death for leading a crime gang that killed rivals, a state news agency reports, in a case that revealed ties between organized crime and politicians. SENT: 380 words.


KABUL, Afghanistan — Gunmen armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades attack the Indian Consulate in western Afghanistan’s Herat province, an assault that injured no diplomatic staff, police say. Indian officials say there was a threat against its diplomats in Afghanistan, but give no other details. By Amir Shah. SENT: 560 words.


SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s artillery shelling near a South Korean warship patrolling disputed waters was likely a warning, not an attack attempt, Seoul officials and analysts say. By Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 450 words, photos.


KATMANDU, Nepal — Nepalese officials say an avalanche has swept three climbers and they are now presumed dead on the slopes of Mount Kanchenjunga, the world’s third tallest peak. SENT: 125 words.


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and Indonesia have signed an agreement resolving a sea border dispute after 20 years of negotiations, with the neighbors’ leaders vowing to forge closer ties. SENT: 125 words.



BANGKOK — Thailand’s stock market sinks, a day after the country’s military seized power in a bloodless coup. Other Asian stock markets are mostly higher, with Japan boosted by weakness in the yen. SENT: 450 words, photos.



WASHINGTON — White House officials have been holding private meetings this week aimed at soothing lawmakers’ concerns over the U.S. posture in Syria, the future of the American military presence in Afghanistan, and defense spending. The meetings come as a frustrated White House seeks to push back at criticism of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. But the White House outreach appeared to be having little effect on some lawmakers’ concerns. By Julie Pace and Donna Cassata. SENT: 670 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is playing down an increasingly warm relationship between its main global rivals, China and Russia, that it may have inadvertently encouraged. Yet, many believe Russia and China may now or may soon represent a powerful new alliance challenging not only the United States, but also the Western democratic tradition that the U.S. has championed globally. An AP News Analysis. By Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee. SENT: 1,020 words, photo.


SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California woman who says she was kidnapped a decade ago by her mother’s boyfriend lived a seemingly ordinary life with her alleged captor year after year, but she was too scared to go to authorities until she recently reunited with her mother, police say. The woman, who disappeared when she was 15, eventually married the man and started a family with him. Neighbors said she took Zumba classes and went on trips to the beach and Disneyland. By Gillian Flaccus and Tami Abdollah. SENT: 1,290 words, photos, video.


EL-ARISH, Egypt — The top leader of an al-Qaida-inspired group in Egypt’s restive Sinai and three of his associates are killed in a drive-by shooting in the peninsula, senior Egyptian security officials say. The development deals a heavy blow to the militant group, which has claimed scores of deadly attacks across Egypt since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last July. It is also a boost for Egypt’s military-backed authorities ahead of the country’s presidential elections next week. By Ashraf Sweilam. SENT: 670 words.


ABUJA, Nigeria — Scores of protesters chanting “Bring Back Our Girls” march in the Nigerian capital as many schools across the country close to protest the abductions of more than 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram, the government’s failure to rescue them and the killings of scores of teachers by Islamic extremists in recent years. “All we are saying is bring back our girls,” the marchers sang to the tune of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.” By Andrew Drake. SENT: 1,060 words, photos, audio.

— UNITED NATIONS-BOKO HARAM-SANCTIONS — The U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions against the al-Qaida-linked terrorist group Boko Haram, which has carried out a wave of deadly attacks and the recent abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria. SENT: 430 words.


CAIRO — A renegade general leading a week-long military campaign in Libya against Islamists dominating the country’s political scene urges a “war against terrorism,” vowing to keep up his offensive until he purges his nation of militants. Gen. Khalifa Hifter told The Associated Press that he doesn’t seek power for himself but a new, democratically elected leadership for Libya, and a strong military that will act as a “safety valve” against corrupt leaders. By Maggie Michael. SENT: 860 words, photos.


BOGOTA, Colombia — Accusations of bribes from drug traffickers, spying and email hacking have turned Colombia’s presidential election into an ugly slugfest that has further polarized a country trying to emerge from its violent past. The mudslinging has distracted attention from talks with the country’s main rebel group to end the country’s half-century internal conflict, which had been expected to be a key issue going into Sunday’s election. By Joshua Goodman. SENT: 710 words, photos.


EL ALTO, Bolivia — Loud, baroque and redolent in native symbols, the newfangled mini-mansions rising up in Bolivia’s sprawling El Alto mix rural style with abundant brick and mortar. They attest to a new class of indigenous nouveau riche. They also get mixed reviews for taste. By Paola Flores. 700 words. With AP Photos by Juan Karita



LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors charge actor Michael Jace with murder after his wife was shot and killed in their Los Angeles home. The 51-year-old actor, who played a police officer in the hit TV series “The Shield,” could face 50 years to life in state prison if convicted. By Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney. SENT: 340 words, photo.



A look at highlights from the weekly AP photo report, featuring a mix of front-page photography, the odd image you might have missed and lasting moments our editors think you should see. This week’s collection includes a coal miner smiling at the end of his shift in Donetsk, Ukraine; a wildfire engulfing a building in Escondido, California; a couple embracing in a fountain in Mexico City; a child getting a polio vaccine in Lahore, Pakistan; and actress Sophia Loren using a photographer’s camera during an event at the Cannes Film Festival in France. SENT: 220 words, photos NC101-110.





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