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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

December 24, 2014



NEW DELHI — Hundreds of survivors of a brutal rebel attack that killed at least 63 people in northeastern India seek shelter in a church and school while security forces impose a curfew in a bid to contain the latest bout of ethnic violence. By Anupam Nath. SENT: 440 words, photo.


LONDON — North Korea’s microscopic corner of the Internet has had a rough couple of days, suffering seven outages in the last 48 hours, according to one Web traffic monitor. The mysterious problems have some talking of a retaliatory cyberattack by the United States, which holds Pyongyang responsible for last month’s spectacular hack of Sony Pictures. By Raphael Satter. SENT: 620 words, photos.


NEW YORK — “The Interview” was put back into U.S. theaters when Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a limited Christmas Day theatrical release for the comedy that provoked an international incident with North Korea and outrage over its cancelled release. Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said that Seth Rogen’s North Korea farce “will be in a number of theaters” beginning Thursday. He said Sony also is continuing its efforts to release the film on more platforms and in more theaters. By Jake Coyle. SENT: 970 words, photos.


— SONY HACK-RESPONSE. Seth Rogen, James Franco and others react to restored release of ‘The Interview.’ SENT.


TOKYO — Shinzo Abe takes office for a third term as Japan’s prime minister, appointing a former military officer as his defense minister but keeping the other members of his previous Cabinet. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 470 words, photos.


SYDNEY — Two men are arrested as part of an ongoing counterterrorism investigation into a group that officials have accused of plotting to kill a random member of the public in Sydney, police said a day after the nation’s prime minister warned of heightened terrorist chatter in the aftermath of a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe. By Kristen Gelineau. SENT: 580 words, photos.


MEULABOH, Indonesia — Jamaliah and Septi Rangkuti have something many other parents who survived the Indian Ocean tsunami can only dream of: their family reunited. They lost their young son and daughter in the disaster, but in the past six months both have come home. Some question whether the children truly belong to the couple, and no DNA test has been conducted, but that has not quenched the family’s belief that they were brought back together by God. By Margie Mason. SENT: 2,400 words, photos. An abridged version also was sent.


HONG KONG — On land deep in Hong Kong’s lush green northern suburbs near the border with mainland China, farmer Koon-wing Chan is working to keep a legendary scent alive in the city known as the Fragrant Harbor. Chan runs Hong Kong’s last commercial plantation of agarwood trees, prized throughout the centuries for aromatic resin used to make incense, perfume and medicine. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 880 words, photos.


NEW DELHI — Two men riding a motorcycle throw acid on a woman in a crowded neighborhood in New Delhi, causing serious injuries, police say. SENT: 140 words, photo.


SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean prosecutors are seeking to arrest the former executive at Korean Air Lines Co. who forced a flight to return over a bag of macadamia nuts and a current executive for attempts to cover up the “nut rage” case. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 400 words, photos.


About 230,000 people were killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami set off by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004. A dozen countries were hit, from Indonesia to India to Africa’s east coast. Scores of Associated Press journalists covered the disaster, and as the 10th anniversary approached, the AP asked 10 of them to describe the images that have stuck with them the most. This is the eighth of their stories, which are being published daily through Dec. 26. By The Associated Press.



AMMAN, Jordan — Islamic State group fighters shoot down a warplane believed to be from the U.S.-led coalition over Syria, capturing its pilot, activists say. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the aircraft was shot down near the northern city of Raqqa, the Islamic State group’s de facto capital. The Observatory says the warplane was part of the U.S.-led coalition, adding that the captured pilot is an Arab. By Omar Akour and Bassem Mroue. SENT: 400 words, photos.


TUNIS, Tunisia — The newly elected president of Tunisia faces deep-seated economic problems as he takes power in the country that blazed the trail in the Arab Spring. By Sam Kimball. 500 words by 9 a.m.


HAVANA — The U.S. embargo turned Cubans into the world’s most inventive shade-tree mechanics, keeping 50s-era cars running on homemade and repurposed parts. President Barack Obama’s announcement that he is loosening the embargo has Cubans dreaming of an end to the era of cannibalizing train springs for suspensions and cutting tire patches by hand. By E. Eduardo Castillo. 900 words, photos.


YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Hrvoje Hranjski. 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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