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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

October 27, 2014



SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean prosecutors demand the death penalty for the captain of a ferry that sank earlier this year, killing more than 300 people, blaming his negligence and failure to rescue passengers in need for the massive loss of life. They also request life sentences for three other key crew members. By Hyung-jin Kim. SENT: 590 words, photos.


KABUL, Afghanistan — The new Afghan president travels to China this week, signaling the pivotal role he hopes Beijing will play in Afghanistan’s future, not only in the economic reconstruction of the war-ravaged country after U.S. and allied combat troops leave by the end of the year but also in a strategic foreign policy aimed at building peace across a region long riven by mistrust and violence. By Lynne O’Donnell. SENT: 900 words, photos.


TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s honeymoon with Japan’s voters is fading as scandals and a slowing economic recovery take a toll on his popularity and hinder progress on his policy agenda. The resignations of two ministers in Abe’s newly reshuffled Cabinet and reports that political funds of the replacement trade minister were used in a visit to a sex show bar were just the start. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 940 words, photos.


PYONGYANG, North Korea — A high-ranking Japanese delegation arrives in Pyongyang to assess the progress of a North Korean investigation into the fates of Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and ’80s. The abduction issue has long been a major obstacle in the frosty ties between North Korea and Japan, which have no formal diplomatic relations. By Eric Talmadge. SENT: 360 words, photos.


HANOI, Vietnam — China’s top diplomat is greeted warmly as he arrives in Vietnam to repair ties ruptured by disputes over the South China Sea. Relations between the two Communist neighbors plunged to the lowest point in years after China in May deployed a giant oil rig near the Paracels, also claimed by Vietnam. SENT: 580 words, photos.


CANBERRA, Australia — Three men who attempted to enter Australia’s Parliament House wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood, a niqab and a motorcycle helmet say they were unfairly treated under new regulations targeting Muslim face veils. The men want Muslim veils that cover the face banned from the nation’s seat of government and said their stunt exposed inequality in the security system that allows visitors to be so dressed. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 460 words, photos.


MELBOURNE, Australia — A court refuses bail for an Australian charged with providing money to a U.S. citizen fighting alongside extremists in Syria. Police arrested Hassan El Sabsabi on Sept. 30 in a series of counterterror raids across Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, following an eight-month investigation prompted by information from the FBI. SENT: 260 words.


BEIJING — Chinese state media say lawmakers are considering scrapping the death penalty for nine crimes, including illegal fund raising. The official Xinhua News Agency said the proposal was submitted to the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, which is meeting this week in its bi-monthly session. SENT: 370 words.



TOKYO — Toyota kept its lead over rivals Volkswagen and General Motors as the world’s top-selling automaker in the first nine months of the year, reporting record sales of 7.615 million vehicles, up nearly 3 percent from the previous year. Volkswagen said earlier this month it sold 7.40 million vehicles in January-September, barely edging out General Motors Co. in the closely watched auto sales race. GM reported sales of 7.372 million cars and trucks worldwide earlier this month. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 420 words, photos.


DETROIT — Once a hulking symbol of American excess, sport utility vehicles are quickly becoming the world’s favorite way to get around. It’s a surprising rebirth for a vehicle that was the subject of obituaries when gas prices spiked in 2008. Automakers won back customers by making smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs that also appealed to newly wealthy buyers in Asia and South America and former skeptics in Europe. By Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.



NEW YORK — State leaders in New York and New Jersey are at odds with scientists over Ebola as the states’ governors back 21-day quarantines for medical workers returning from West Africa. The nation’s top infectious-disease expert, meanwhile, warns that such restrictions are unnecessary and could discourage volunteers from aiding disease-ravaged countries. By Frank Eltman. SENT: 870 words, photos, videos, interactive.


DALLAS — When Thomas Eric Duncan became the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the U.S., his relatives with roots in virus-ravaged Liberia knew what questions to ask. Would his treatment include experimental drugs? Was survivors’ serum an option? What about a transfer from the hospital in Dallas, where he was being treated, to one of four medical centers nationwide that specialize in highly infectious diseases like Ebola? Duncan, poor and uninsured, did not get all the help his family members wanted, and they now question why his care was different than Americans infected with the deadly virus who survived. Of the nine people who have been treated for Ebola in the U.S., only Duncan has died. By Emily Schmall, Ray Henry and Will Weissert. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.


KIEV, Ukraine — With more than one-third of the votes counted, two allied pro-European parties in Ukraine that ran on a platform to enact tough reforms took a joint lead Monday in a parliamentary election. By Peter Leonard. SENT: 520 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — The Army’s troubled $5 billion intelligence fusion network has been a source of lucrative contracts to companies whose employees once worked for the Army, while failing to deliver on its promise of making data seamlessly accessible to soldiers in the field, according to records and interviews. The Distributed Common Ground System has so far been a bust, with one Army testing report calling it “not operationally effective, not operationally suitable and not survivable.” The performance failures have been well-documented, but less scrutiny has been devoted to the revolving door between defense firms profiting from the troubled intelligence system and the military commands that continue to fund it, records show. By Intelligence Writer Ken Dilanian. SENT: 820 words, photo.


The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal this month to review rulings that overturned bans on same-sex marriage marked a milestone in gay rights in the United States. Around the world, many countries have come to accept such unions as part of the tapestry of everyday life. But there are still pockets of intolerance. A look at some countries that have made same-sex marriage common practice. By Gregory Katz. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The walled compound where former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide lives in seclusion under police guard has become a rallying point for hundreds of people who still idolize a champion of the impoverished masses who was twice ousted from power and now faces the threat of arrest. Rumors of an impending arrest have fueled several violent clashes with police and heightened tension in the country where the constitutionally required legislative elections have been postponed for more than a year. By David McFadden. SENT: 960 words, photos.


TORONTO — A straight-laced moderate conservative is favored to win Toronto’s mayoral election Monday, with many residents eager to close out the Rob Ford era characterized by crack-smoking, public drunkenness outrageous behavior. By Rob Gillies. SENT: 490 words, photos.


TIXTLA, Mexico — Night is the most difficult time at the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, where families have stayed on thin, bare mattresses in classrooms since 43 students went missing a month ago. The day’s distractions of meals, meetings, marches end and the parents are left with their thoughts, questions and a simmering rage. By Christopher Sherman. SENT: 900 words, photos.


MARYSVILLE, Wash. — A 14-year-old girl who was wounded when a student opened fire inside his high school has died, raising the death toll in the shooting in Washington state to three. Officials at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett confirmed the death of 14-year-old Gia Soriano. Another girl was killed during the shooting Friday by a popular freshman at Marysville-Pilchuck High School north of Seattle. The shooter, Jaylen Fryberg, died of a self-inflicted wound. By Manuel Valdes and Martha Bellisle. SENT: 600 words, photos, video.


SAN FRANCISCO — Hall of Famer Juan Marichal mingled through the San Francisco clubhouse and patiently waited for his chance to share a kind, congratulatory word with Madison Bumgarner. One of the greatest pitchers ever thinks the world of one baseball’s brightest young arms in the current era, so standing in line to speak to the lefty was no big deal. What Bumgarner did to pitch the Giants within one victory of another World Series championship sure was. By Baseball Writer Janie McCauley. SENT: 860 words, photos, video.


— OBIT-CARDINALS-TAVERAS — St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras killed in car accident in native Dominican Republic. SENT: 660 words, photos.

— SOUTH AFRICA-MEYIWA KILLED — Police: South Africa soccer team captain Senzo Meyiwa fatally shot in house robbery. SENT: 630 words, photos.


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