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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

March 14, 2014

ASIA:

MALAYSIA-PLANE

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Vietnam says it is downgrading its search for the missing Malaysian jetliner in the South China Sea and has been asked to consider sending planes to the Strait of Malacca, in a sign the focus of the search was shifting west of Malaysia toward the Indian Ocean. SENT: 130 words. By Chris Brummitt and Joan Lowy. UPCOMING: 850 words by 0600 GMT, photos, video, interactive.

— MALAYSIA-PLANE-INDIA — India says its navy, air force and coast guard are now looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane as the search has expanded to cover an area stretching from the South China Sea to the Andaman Sea. SENT: 130 words.

— MALAYSIA-PLANE-OTHER DISAPPEARANCES — Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is the latest example of a very rare event in aviation: a plane that vanishes. SENT: 390 words, photo.

MALAYSIA-PLANE-SATELLITE-MESSAGES

WASHINGTON — A Malaysia Airlines plane was sending signals to a satellite for four hours after the aircraft went missing, an indication that it was still flying, says a U.S. official briefed on the search for the plane. By Joan Lowy. SENT: 440 words.

MALAYSIA-PLANE-ARMCHAIR SLEUTHS

NEW YORK — There aren’t supposed to be any mysteries in the Digital Age. The answers to most questions, it seems, can be found using Google or Twitter. So, maybe that’s why the world is captivated by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and why it has created a legion of armchair sleuths, spouting theories in some cases so strange they belong in science-fiction films. By Scott Mayerowitz. SENT: 940 words, photo.

CHINA-KNIFE ATTACK

BEIJING — Four people were hacked to death in a knife fight at a market Friday in southern China, and one person was fatally shot by police, state media say. SENT: 200 words.

JAPAN-SEX SLAVES

TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his government is not considering a revision of the country’s 1993 apology for forcing South Korean and other women to have sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II. SENT: 300 words, photo.

VANUATU-CYCLONE

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Three people are dead and six more missing in Vanuatu after a cyclone hits the Pacific Island nation. By Nick Perry. SENT: 265 words.

JAPAN-EARTHQUAKE

TOKYO — An overnight earthquake has caused minor injuries and scattered damage in southwestern Japan and delayed trains Friday morning. SENT: 120 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

WORLD MARKETS

HONG KONG — Asian stocks followed Wall Street lower Friday on lingering concerns about weakness in the Chinese economy and tensions in Ukraine. Regional benchmarks took their lead from the Dow Jones industrial average, which had its worst day in six weeks. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 470 words.

FEATURES:

JAPAN-FISHERIES RECOVERY

TONI, Japan — When the tsunami smashed the seafood processing factory where Shoichi Sato was working, he lost his job but eventually found a new life. Three years later, he’s among the businessmen helping to bring back the fishing industry, long a mainstay livelihood for coastal towns along Japan’s northeastern coast. By Elaine Kurtenbach and Emily Wang. UPCOMING: 820 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

US & INTERNATIONAL:

UKRAINE-RADICAL RIGHT

KIEV, Ukraine — Shoppers in the center of Kiev were out of luck one recent afternoon: An athletic clothing store and a cellphone shop were occupied by black-clad men in masks, some armed. Not far away, toughs frightened hotel visitors with baseball bats, bulletproof vests and balaclavas. Weeks after mass protests ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, members of the ultranationalist group the Right Sector are still occupying buildings in Kiev. The group isn’t content with controlling the streets: They want real power in government. By Maria Danilova. UPCOMING: 1,100 words by 1100 GMT, photos.

NYC EXPLOSION

NEW YORK — Using sound devices to probe for voices and telescopic cameras to peer into small spaces, workers searching a pile of rubble from a gas explosion continue to treat it as a rescue operation, holding onto the possibility of finding survivors from a blast that brought down two apartment buildings and killed at least eight people. By Jake Pearson and Ken Sweet. UPCOMING: 1,100 words by 0900 GMT, photos.

OBAMA-IMMIGRATION

WASHINGTON — Yielding to pressure from some of his staunchest allies, President Barack Obama is searching for ways to act without Congress to ease the suffering caused by deportation in America, as his prospects for signing a true immigration fix fade. By Josh Lederman. By Josh Lederman. SENT: 800 words, photo.

SELLING-HALAL

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The global halal food and lifestyle industry is estimated to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars and is multiplying in size as Muslim populations grow. Producers outside the Muslim world — from Brazil to the U.S. and Australia — are eager to tap into the market, and the United Arab Emirates is positioning itself to be their gateway. By Aya Batrawy. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

PHOTOS — MEXICO-POPOCATEPETI-CEREMONY-PHOTO GALLERY — Every year, pilgrims from nearby villages trek up Popocatepetl volcano southeast of Mexico City to appeal for calm.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— CLINTON DOCUMENTS — National Archives to release 4,000 more pages of documents from Clinton White House. SENT: 490 words.

— UNITED STATES-IRELAND — St Patrick’s Day comes early to the White House as Biden, Obama meet with Irish leader Kenny. SENT: 130 words.

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

The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.

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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