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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

November 25, 2013

ASIA:

THAILAND-POLITICS

BANGKOK — Protesters in Thailand’s capital swarm the Finance Ministry compound, overrunning several buildings and cutting electricity in an escalating campaign to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government. The intrusion is the boldest act yet in opposition-led protests that started last month. It highlights the movement’s new strategy of paralyzing the government by forcing civil servants to stop working. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 620 words, photos.

CHINA-EAST CHINA SEA

TOKYO — China’s new maritime air defense zone is unenforceable and dangerous, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says, in a continuing war of words over airspace that includes the area above islands claimed by both countries. Abe tells a parliamentary session that China’s declaration of an air defense identification zone alters the state of affairs in the East China Sea and escalates a tense situation. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 650 words, photos.

NEPAL-ELECTION

KATMANDU, Nepal — Nepal’s oldest political party won the most seats in the first set of results from last week’s election ahead of two prominent communist parties, the country’s election commission says. The results show that the Nepali Congress Party won 105 of the 240 directly elected seats. The Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) trails with 91 seats and the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has 26. By Binaj Gurubacharya. SENT: 320 words.

CHINA-ACTIVIST SURRENDER

HONG KONG — The second most wanted student leader from the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests is turned back from Hong Kong in his latest attempt to surrender to Chinese authorities and return home. Wu’er Kaixi, who has lived in exile for more than two decades, is stuck in a situation in which he’s both wanted for arrest and, like many other dissidents who have fled, prevented from returning to China. SENT: 430 words.

CHINA-TERRORIST THREAT

BEIJING — A radical Islamic group seeking independence for a northwestern Chinese region praises last month’s deadly attack in Beijing and warns of possible new terrorist strikes in the capital. It isn’t clear if the Turkistan Islamic Party is claiming it planned the Oct. 28 vehicle attack at Tiananmen Gate that killed two tourists and the three attackers. China has longed blamed TIP and its predecessor for extremist violence in the Xinjiang region, though many observers question whether the group is capable of organizing attacks and even whether it exists in an organized manner. SENT: 350 words.

PAKISTAN

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani police prevent activists who were protesting U.S. drone strikes from blocking trucks carrying NATO troop supplies to and from neighboring Afghanistan. On Saturday, thousands of protesters led by Pakistani politician and cricket star Imran Khan began blocking a road in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which is used to ship goods to and from Afghanistan. By Riaz Khan. SENT: 520 words, photos.

JAPAN-KENNEDY

MINAMISANRIKU, Japan — Just 10 days after arriving in Japan as the new U.S. ambassador, Caroline Kennedy is making a two-day visit to areas devastated by the 2011 tsunami to meet survivors and highlight America’s commitment to supporting its ally. The appointment of the daughter of President John F. Kennedy has been popular among Japanese. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 740 words, photos.

INDONESIA VOLCANO

KARO, Indonesia — Powerful bursts of hot ash and gravel erupted from a rumbling volcano in western Indonesia, sending panicked villagers streaming down the sides of the mountain. Six new eruptions in the morning sent lava and searing gas tumbling up to 1.5 kilometers (.9 miles) down the slopes of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province. Volcanic material spewed as high as 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) into the air a day after authorities had raised the volcano’s alert status to the highest level. By Binsar Bakkara. SENT: 320 words.

CHINA-SHIPS SINK

BEIJING — Rescuers search for 25 sailors missing after two cargo ships sank off China’s east coast in separate incidents, killing at least one crew member. SENT: 130 words.

INDIA-GIRL SLAIN

NEW DELHI — An Indian couple are convicted of killing their 14-year-old daughter and their housekeeper in 2008 in a case that has transfixed India since the young girl was found in her bedroom in suburban New Delhi with her throat slit. SENT: 120 words. UPCOMING by 1230 GMT: 360 words, photos.

PACQUIAO-RIOS

MACAU — Manny Pacquiao is preparing for a visit to the typhoon-devastated city of Tacloban in the coming days, returning to the Philippines with his boxing career back on the upswing after an impressive victory over Brandon Rios. SENT: 700 words, photos.

AUSTRALIA-CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

CANBERRA — An Australian family has reclaimed their Guinness World Record by stringing up more than half a million Christmas lights around their suburban home. SENT: 260 words, photo.

PHILIPPINES-TYPHOON-ALICIA KEYS

MANILA, Philippines — Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys visits a Philippine air force base to bring cheer to hundreds of evacuees from eastern provinces wracked by Typhoon Haiyan. SENT: 150 words, photos.

FEATURES:

PHILIPPINES-TYPHOON REFUGEES

MANILA, Philippines — Romnick Abadines’ heart pounded as a Philippine air force C-130 carried him above typhoon-wrecked Tacloban city. He had never been on a plane before, never watched silvery-white clouds pass from a small round window. It was not the first time, or the last, that he felt helpless and out of his element. The frail, 31-year-old farmer lost his shanty to Typhoon Haiyan, which flattened much of Tacloban in Leyte province as it killed more than 5,200 people. Now he lays idle in a tent shelter in suburban Manila, where he has no known relatives and little chance of finding more than menial and temporary work. By Jim Gomez. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

SKOREA-LEPROSY ISLAND

SOROK ISLAND, South Korea — Kang Sun Bong once considered this tiny island a “hell on earth,” a place where hospital workers beat the leprosy patients exiled here and forced them into harsh labor, sterilizations and abortions. But three years ago, old, sick and broke, Kang returned to the place he’d been banished with his mother decades ago. His savings wiped out by cancer treatment, the 74-year-old now hopes to live the rest of his life with hundreds of other former patients on Sorok Island, which sits off South Korea’s southwestern tip and has become a mini-welfare state. SENT: 1,190 words, photos.

U.S. & INTERNATIONAL:

IRAN-NUCLEAR TALKS

PARIS — Sanctions against Iran could be eased as soon as December, France’s foreign minister says, after a potentially history-shaping deal that gives Tehran six months to increase access to its nuclear sites in exchange for keeping the central elements of its uranium program. By Lori Hinnant and Brian Murphy. SENT: 640 words, photos.

IRAN-SECRET TALKS

WASHINGTON — On a warm day in Washington this fall, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu huddled in the White House. There, Obama would reveal to Netanyahu that his administration had been engaged for months in secret, high-level diplomatic talks with Iran, a country Israel sees as a threat to its very existence. By AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee. SENT: 2,400 words, photos, video.

DUBAI-WORLD’S FAIR FEARS

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, and you might spot an unusual banner: A flag placed by six climbers emblazoned with the logo of Dubai’s bid to host a World’s fair in 2020. The logo is plastered everywhere in Dubai as well as its rulers say their futuristic city of skyscrapers is perfect to host the event. But their push belies a worry among many in the United Arab Emirates city-state that increased building and real-estate speculation driven by the event could put it on the cusp of another financial crisis. By Aya Batrawy. SENT: 900, photos.

CONNECTICUT SCHOOL SHOOTING

HARTFORD, Conn. — Investigators were planning to release a long-awaited report on the Newtown school shooting, nearly a year after the massacre of 20 children and six women inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. The summary report by the lead investigator, State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, could provide some of the first official answers to questions about the history of the gunman and the police response to one of the worst school shootings in American history. By Michael Melia. SENT: 450 words, photo.

BRAZIL-BEACH ROBBERIES

RIO DE JANEIRO — With the sun blazing from a near cloudless sky and waves lapping at golden sands, it seemed like a perfect day at the beach. Then dozens of marauding youths descended en masse, snatching beach bags and cellphones, ripping gold chains from necks and setting off stampedes by panicked beachgoers. Mass beach robberies are making a comeback in this notoriously dangerous city. By Jenny Barchfield. SENT: 680 words, photo.

HONDURAS-ELECTIONS

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — The ruling party candidate held the lead in vote counting from Honduras’ presidential election, and two of his four main opponents began crying foul over the results in this violent, poor Central American nation. With just over half the ballots tallied, Juan Orlando Hernandez of the governing National Party had a comfortable edge over Xiomara Castro, whose husband Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a 2009 coup that has left Honduras political unstable. By Alberto Arce. SENT: 680 words, photos.

AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS

No question Justin Timberlake is the man of the year, but oh how the women of pop music proved its their world again at the American Music Awards. Debonair at every turn, Timberlake put on a great performance and said something funny each time he appeared. But it was Taylor Swift who won the night, taking home four awards, including top honor artist of the year for the third time. It was Rihanna who won the Icon Award — at age 25. And it was Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry who will again drive the morning’s water-cooler conversation with their continuing awards show brinksmanship. By Music Writer Chris Talbott. SENT: 600 words, photos.

— AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS-BACKSTAGE BANTER — Justin Timberlake stayed classy in a sharp blue suit. A shocked Rihanna accepted an icon award at the ripe old age of 25. And Lady Gaga danced atop a desk. These were just a few of the televised moments not to be missed. UPCOMING: 300 words, photos.

— AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS-PHOTO GALLERY — Promenade of stars (and a horse) hits red carpet at the American Music Awards. SENT: 75 words.

— AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS-LIST — Winners from the American Music Awards. SENT: 170 words.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— OAKLAND COLISEUM-FANS INJURED — Woman plunges from O.co Coliseum deck, injures herself and man who tried to catch her. SENT: 220 words.

— MAYOR KOCH AUCTION — About 200 letters, books and other ephemera from former NYC Mayor Ed Koch are going on the auction block. SENT: 360 words.

— MALTESE FALCON-AUCTION — NYC auction features bird statuette from classic 1941 film ‘The Maltese Falcon.’ SENT: 180 words, photo.

— PERU-EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS-PHOTO GALLERY — Peruvian evangelicals mass in capital for national congress amid boom in numbers.

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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.

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

Between 1700 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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