BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS
BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS
Aug. 26, 2014
CANBERRA, Australia — Australian mining magnate turned lawmaker Clive Palmer apologizes to China over an extraordinary tirade on national television in which he accused the Chinese of shooting their own people and having no system of justice. Following the volatile multimillionaire's Aug. 18 outburst on Australian Broadcasting Corp.'s "Q & A" program, government ministers accused him of threatening Australia's relationship with its biggest trading partner and distanced themselves from his views. Palmer, meanwhile, largely avoided commenting on the issue. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 470 words, photos.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — The first suspect in a sexual abuse cases at the prestigious Jakarta International School will be going on trial. The defendant, Agus Iskandar, is one of six Indonesian janitors at the school arrested in connection with the alleged abuse of some students including a 6-year-old. One of the suspects died in police custody. The trials of four others are scheduled to be opened Wednesday. They all face a maximum of 15 years in prison if found guilty of violating the country's 2002 law on child abuse. UPCOMING, timing uncertain, 450 words.
CHINA-FILMS AND CENSORSHIP
BEIJING — This weekend's raid by authorities to shut down an independent film festival in Beijing was the latest sign that China's leadership under Xi Jinping is tightening the screws on the kind of expression it opposes. Filmmakers say such harassment and censorship is stifling the creativity of the country's documentary film industry, but that they're determined to keep trying to bring an independent voice to the medium. At the same time, Chinese state media companies are spending more than ever on documentaries to flood the airwaves with the kind of content they support — such as a series on regional cuisines— partly in hopes of stealing eyeballs from dating, game and reality programs seen as frivolous Western imports that need to be curbed. By Louise Watt. UPCOMING by 0600GMT, 800 words, photos.
NEW ZEALAND-SWISS MURDER CASE
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A man accused of murdering his girlfriend 14 years ago in Switzerland has been arrested in New Zealand. SENT: 130 words.
MYANMAR-SHWEDAGON SWEEPERS-PHOTO ESSAY
ANGON, Myanmar — Every evening, more than a dozen men and women walk in a tight row in front of Myanmar's most revered Buddhist pagoda, sweeping the vast marble terrace in unison in hopes of keeping it clean for barefoot pilgrims. It's a chore they carry out eagerly, an effort to gain merit. UPCOMING: 250 words by 0600GMT, photos.
US & INTERNATIONAL
KABUL, Afghanistan — The Pentagon has developed plans that would allow American forces to remain in Afghanistan beyond the end of the year if the contested presidential election drags on and a security agreement isn't signed soon, the top U.S. military officer says. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says on a visit to Afghanistan that under optimal circumstances the U.S. would need about 120 days to pull all troops and equipment out of the country if there is no agreement allowing them to stay into 2015. By Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 630 words.
— UNITED STATES-IRAQ. Joint Chiefs chairman: US will go after Islamic State militants if they threaten US, Europe. SENT: 1,000 words.
KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine's president dissolves parliament and calls for early elections in October as his country continues to battle a pro-Russian insurgency in its eastern regions. In a statement on his website, President Petro Poroshenko said snap elections would be held Oct. 26. Poroshenko said the dissolution, which was prefigured by the breakup of the majority coalition last month, was in line with "the expectations of the vast majority of the citizens of Ukraine" and called it a move toward "cleansing" the parliament. SENT: 740 words, photos.
— UKRAINE-WEAPONS CROSSROADS. KRASNODON, Ukraine — Weapons convoys seen rolling in eastern Ukraine from the direction of Russia. SENT: 1,350 words, photos.
ST. LOUIS — The mourners filled an enormous church to remember Michael Brown — a "gentle giant," aspiring rapper and recent high school graduate on his way to a technical college. But the funeral was about much more than the black 18-year-old who lay in the closed casket after being shot to death by a white police officer. The emotional service sought to consecrate Brown's death as another in the long history of the civil rights movement and implored black Americans to change their protest chants into legislation and law. By Jim Suhr. SENT: 960 words, photos, video.
AP EXCLUSIVE: NUCLEAR REACTOR-EARTHQUAKES
LOS ANGELES — A senior federal nuclear expert urges regulators to shut down California's last operating nuclear plant until they can determine whether the facility's twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from any one of several nearby earthquake faults. Michael Peck, who for five years was Diablo Canyon's lead on-site inspector, says in a 42-page, confidential report that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not applying the safety rules it set out for the plant's operation. The document, obtained and verified by The Associated Press, says no one knows whether the facility's key equipment can withstand stronger shaking from those faults. The NRC and the plant's owner say it is safe. By Michael Blood. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, graphic.
JERUSALEM — Hundreds of Israelis flee their homes along the border with the Gaza Strip, reflecting a growing sense of exasperation as fighting against Islamic militants shows no signs of ending. With the school year approaching, the government offers assistance to residents in what is the country's first large-scale voluntary evacuation effort in nearly eight weeks of fighting. By Ian Deitch. SENT: 900 words, photos.
MONROVIA, Liberia — A Liberian doctor who was among three Africans to receive an experimental Ebola drug has died, the country's information minister says, as a top U.N. delegation promised more help for countries battling the virulent disease during a visit to Sierra Leone. By Jonathan Paye-Layleh. SENT: 580 words, photos.
BEIRUT — Syria says it is ready to help confront the rising threat from the Islamic State group, but warns the United States against carrying out airstrikes without Damascus' consent, saying any such attack would be considered an aggression. In seeking to portray itself as a partner for the international community, Syria seems intent on capitalizing on the growing clamor to expand the current American air campaign against the militant extremists in Iraq and to hit them in Syria as well. By Ryan Lucas. SENT: 750 words, photos. SENT: 900 words, photos.
WASHINGTON — As the U.S. mourns an American journalist beheaded by Islamic militants, the nation finds something of a reprieve with the release of another freelance reporter held hostage for nearly two years by an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria. Peter Theo Curtis, who wrote under the byline Theo Padnos, was freed Sunday, offering consolation to U.S. officials, a journalism community and family members deeply unnerved by the grisly video of James Foley's beheading in a desolate desert landscape. By Jim Kuhnhenn and Ryan Lucas. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.
— FRANCE-AMERICAN FREED-DAD — Dad of freed reporter praised his son for wanting to 'bear witness' despite Syrian danger. SENT: 130 words.
NAPA, California — California's best-known winemaking region is mopping up thousands of dollars in high-end vintages from smashed bottles and overturned barrels after an earthquake added to an already difficult year. The powerful temblor hit amid the worst drought in decades, and right before the 2014 harvest. By Ellen Knickmeyer and Lisa Leff. SENT: 800 words, photos, video.
FORT LEE SHOOTING
FORT LEE, Virginia — An enraged soldier with a gun barricades herself in an office inside a major command's headquarters, throwing objects and then shooting herself in the head as law enforcement officials tried to negotiate with her, the Army says. By Michael Felberbaum. SENT: 500 words, photos.
Amazon is hoping to become the ESPN of video games. The e-commerce giant is buying streaming platform Twitch Interactive for $970 million in cash as it seeks to take part in video gaming's growth as an online spectator sport. Twitch had 55 million unique visitors in July, most of whom went to the Twitch.tv website to watch other people play games —competitions interspersed with advertising. The deal is an acknowledgment that gameplay video feeds are becoming increasingly lucrative. By Mae Anderson. SENT: 570 words.
LOS ANGELES — "Modern Family" wins a record-tying fifth best comedy series Emmy Award and a dominant "Breaking Bad" captured the top drama award and a trio of acting honors in the ceremony. Bryan Cranston was honored Monday night ceremony as best actor in a drama for "Breaking Bad," proving that "True Detective" nominee Matthew McConaughey's movie-star appeal couldn't conquer all. SENT: 700 words; will be updated, photos.
— EMMYS-LIST — List of major winners.
NEW YORK — Spinning in 70 mph second serves, grabbing at his hamstring during points, Andy Murray gritted his way through head-to-toe cramps to win at the U.S. Open. Murray outlasted Robin Haase 6-3, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 7-5 in the first round Monday during an afternoon that was hot but not particularly humid. He was mystified that the cramps came on so early — at the start of the third set after only about an hour and a half on court. SENT: 900 words, photos.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION
— BLACKWATER TRIAL — Four Blackwater guards rest their case in shootings of over 30 Iraqis. SENT: 400 words.
— IRAN-ISRAEL-DRONE — Iran state TV shows off purported Israeli drone it says it downed, but questions linger. SENT: 840 words, video, photos.
— MISSING AMISH GIRLS — Showing gratitude, Amish to build new garage for couple who returned abducted girls to family. SENT: 380 words, photo.
— GUN INITIATIVE-DONATION — Bill Gates and his wife donate $1 million to support universal background checks on gun sales. SENT: 250 words.
— AIRPLANE-SEAT RECLINE FIGHT — A United jet was diverted after a passenger used gadget to prohibit another from reclining. SENT: 400 words.
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