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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

March 1, 2014

ASIA:

KOREAS-TENSION

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s president has proposed the rival Koreas hold reunions of Korean War-divided families on a regular basis, saying time was running out for the elderly separated by hostilities and politics. By Jung-yoon Choi. SENT: 365 words.

THAILAND-POLITICS

BANGKOK — The anti-government protesters who once threatened to shut down Thailand’s capital say they will significantly scale back their presence in the streets, in what could be a prelude to eased tensions. By Thanyarat Doksone and Grant Peck. SENT: 700 words, photos.

MYANMAR-DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS

YANGON, Myanmar — Doctors Without Borders has been kicked out of Myanmar after two decades of caring for sick people in one of the world’s poorest countries, a decision the group says risks tens of thousands of lives. By Margie Mason. SENT: 800 words.

AFGHANISTAN-ZERO OPTION-Q&A

WASHINGTON — If President Barack Obama decides to leave no military advisory force in Afghanistan next year, will Afghan security unravel to the point of enabling a civil war, a Taliban takeover and a return of al-Qaida as a 9/11-type threat? That is the question at the core of Obama’s next move in a standoff with the Afghans over a postwar presence. A look at the debate in Q&A form. By Robert Burns. SENT: 980 words, photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

CHINA-MANUFACTURING

BEIJING — China’s manufacturing activities expanded at the slowest pace since June, amid government efforts to rein in credit and investment growth, according to the industry group China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing. SENT: 135 words.

US & INTERNATIONAL:

UKRAINE

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine — Armed men took control of key airports in Crimea on Friday and Russian transport planes flew into the strategic region, Ukrainian officials said, an ominous sign of the Kremlin’s iron hand in Ukraine. President Barack Obama warned Moscow there will be costs if it intervenes militarily in Ukraine. By Dalton Bennett and Laura Mills. SENT: 1,300 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: Will be updated based on developments.

— UNITED STATES-RUSSIA — Obama warns Russia of ‘costs’ for intervening in Ukraine. SENT: 920 words, photos.

— UKRAINE-DOCUMENT TROVE — Ukrainians are getting an unfiltered look at the opulent lifestyle and machinations of fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych and his top officials from thousands of documents being posted online by journalists who say it’s more important to record their country’s history — and document possible crimes — than hold them back for their own scoops. SENT: 770 words, photos.

CLINTON-DOCUMENTS

WASHINGTON — The National Archives releases 4,000 pages of previously confidential documents involving former President Bill Clinton’s administration. The release includes memos related to the former president’s failed health care reform proposal in 1993 and 1994. The records could also include communications involving former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is considering a 2016 presidential campaign. By Ken Thomas and Philip Elliott . SENT: 1,530 words, photos.

SYRIA-RETURNING RADICALS

BISARIYEH, Lebanon — This Lebanese village is reeling: Two of its young men who fought alongside rebels in Syria returned radicalized and carried out suicide bombings. It’s a phenomenon that worries Saudi Arabia, which is moving decisively to stop its citizens from joining jihadist causes abroad after years of turning a blind eye to the practice. Both reflect how the Syrian civil war is sending dangerous ripples across a highly combustible region. By Aya Batrawy and Bassem Mroue. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos.

— SYRIA — Members of an al-Qaida-breakaway group withdraw from parts of the northern province of Aleppo, ahead of a Saturday deadline issued by another rebel group that could spark more infighting. SENT: 600 words, photo.

OSCARS-BEST PICTURE RACE

LOS ANGELES — This year’s best picture race at the Academy Awards has shaped up to be one of the most unpredictable in years. The favorites are “12 Years a Slave,” ″Gravity” and “American Hustle.” But few speak with any certainty about who will take home the biggest award at Sunday’s Oscars. By Film Writer Jake Coyle. SENT: 730 words, photos.

— ISRAEL-MOVIES-LOST IN TRANSLATION-GLANCE — Guess what movie “It’s Raining Falafel” was? Titles of Hollywood hits often changed abroad. SENT: 200 words, photos.

TOP PHOTOS — PAKISTAN-MARCH-PHOTO ESSAY — Portraits show those protesting in Pakistan’s long walk over missing relatives. SENT: 130 words, photos.

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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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